What is involved in the treatment of children and adolescents with fibromyalgia?

Updated: Apr 23, 2020
  • Author: Chad S Boomershine, MD, PhD, CPI, CPT; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Fibromyalgia in children responds to a combination of psychotherapy, exercise, relaxation techniques, and education. Pharmacotherapy is generally not indicated or recommended. Stephens et al conducted a 12-week randomized controlled trial of exercise intervention in children with fibromyalgia and found that both aerobics and qigong yielded benefits in terms of fibromyalgia symptoms, pain, and quality of life in this population. Aerobics were found to be advantageous in several measures. [115]

Juvenile-onset fibromyalgia in adolescents is unlikely to resolve spontaneously. A prospective longitudinal study found that more than 80% of adolescents with juvenile-onset fibromyalgia continued to have symptoms into adulthood. At a mean age of 21 years, approximately half met American College of Rheumatology criteria for adult fibromyalgia. [116, 117]

Duloxetine (Cymbalta) was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in April 2020 for fibromyalgia in adolescents aged 13-17 years. In a randomized, placebo-controlled trial, a total of 184 patients with juvenile fibromyalgia received duloxetine (n = 91) or placebo (n = 93), of which 149 patients (81%) completed the 13-week double-blind treatment period. Of those, significantly more patients on duloxetine compared with placebo had at least a 30% or 50% reduction in pain severity. [118]

For more information, see Juvenile Primary Fibromyalgia Syndrome.

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