Objective: To ascertain the prevalence of fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and to evaluate its clinical impact and relationship to SLE disease activity.
Methods: A cross-sectional analysis of 102 patients from a public hospital SLE clinic. Information was obtained on symptoms of FMS, disability, tender points, pain thresholds, and SLE disease activity.
Results: Twenty-two SLE patients (22%) met the American College of Rheumatology criteria for FMS, and another 24 (23%) had clinical FMS but did not meet the classification criteria. The patients who met the criteria for FMS had a significantly increased frequency and severity of symptoms commonly associated with FMS, and were much more likely to be unable to perform daily activities. The FMS patients also were less likely to be employed, and more likely to be divorced and to be receiving welfare or medical disability benefits. However, patients with and those without FMS did not differ in measures of SLE activity.
Conclusion: FMS is very common in SLE patients, and accounts for many of the symptoms and much of the disability in these patients.