Behavioral Therapy Effective in Juvenile Fibromyalgia

Cognitive-behavioral therapy superior to fibromyalgia education for reducing disability

TUESDAY, Nov. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is superior to fibromyalgia education (FE) for reducing functional disability in adolescents with juvenile fibromyalgia (JFM), according to a study published online Nov. 22 in Arthritis & Rheumatism.

Sushmita Kashikar-Zuck, Ph.D., from the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, and colleagues investigated the safety and efficacy of a CBT intervention compared with a FE program, for reducing functional disability, pain, and depressive symptoms in 114 adolescents (aged 11 to 18 years) with JFM. Following stabilization with usual medical care for eight weeks, patients were randomly allocated to receive eight-weekly CBT or FE sessions, and two booster sessions. Outcome measures were assessed at baseline, immediately after the eight-week treatment phase, and at a six-month follow-up.

The investigators found that 87.7 percent of participants completed the trial per protocol. In the intent-to-treat analyses, at the end of the study, patients from both groups had significantly reduced functional disability, pain, and depressive symptoms. However, CBT was significantly better than FE for reducing functional disability. Both groups had a clinically significant reduction in depressive symptoms, and by the end of the study, the mean scores were in the non-depressed range. Neither group attained a clinically significant reduction in pain (<30 percent reduction). No study-related adverse events occurred.

"In this controlled trial, CBT was found to be a safe and effective treatment for reducing functional disability and depressive symptoms in adolescents with JFM," the authors write.

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