Women with fibromyalgia may be more likely to have comorbid depression and arthritis compared with men, according to a study published in Pain Medicine.

The study included medical record data from participants ≥18 years of age with a primary care encounter between July 1, 2008, and June 30, 2016 (n=38,976). The International Classification of Diseases-9 codes were used to evaluate the presence of fibromyalgia, psychiatric diagnoses, and conditions associated with chronic pain. Binary logistic regression was used to evaluate associations between patient demographics, comorbid conditions, and fibromyalgia for the whole cohort, and separately by gender.

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Off all participants, 4.6% had a fibromyalgia diagnosis, 76.1% of whom were women. In this cohort, comorbid conditions were more prevalent in participants with vs without fibromyalgia. Depression and arthritis were found to have stronger associations with fibromyalgia for women (odds ratio [OR], 2.80, 95% CI, 2.50-3.13; and OR, 5.19, 95% CI, 4.62-5.84, respectively) compared with men (OR, 2.16, 95% CI, 1.71-2.71; and OR, 3.91, 95% CI, 3.22-4.75, respectively). The prevalence in men vs women of all other comorbid conditions examined was comparable.

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“The vast majority of primary care physicians report difficulty distinguishing [fibromyalgia] from other conditions. The present study may serve as a resource for a better understanding of [fibromyalgia] as it presents in primary care,” noted the study authors.


Wan B, Gebauer S, Salas J, Jacobs CK, Breeden M, Scherrer JF. Gender-stratified prevalence of psychiatric and pain diagnoses in a primary care patient sample with fibromyalgia. [published online April 22, 2019]. Pain Med. doi:10.1093/pm/pnz084

This article originally appeared on Clinical Pain Advisor