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What makes patients with fibromyalgia feel better? Correlations between Patient Global Impression of Improvement and changes in clinical symptoms and function: a pooled analysis of 4 randomized placebo-controlled trials of duloxetine.

Harvard Medical School/McLean Hospital, Belmont, Massachusetts, USA.
The Journal of Rheumatology (Impact Factor: 3.26). 11/2009; 36(11):2517-22. DOI: 10.3899/jrheum.090139
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To investigate the relationship between changes in clinical rating scale items and endpoint Patient Global Impression of Improvement (PGI-I).
Data were pooled from 4 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies of duloxetine in patients with fibromyalgia (FM). Variables included in the analyses were those that assessed symptoms in FM domains of pain, fatigue, sleep, cognitive difficulties, emotional well-being, physical function, and impact on daily living. The association of endpoint PGI-I with changes from baseline in individual variables was assessed using Pearson product-moment correlations (r). Stepwise linear regression was used to identify those variables for which changes from baseline were statistically significant independent predictors of the endpoint PGI-I ratings.
Changes in pain variables and interference of symptoms with the ability to work were highly correlated (r >or= 0.5 or r <or= -0.5) with endpoint PGI-I. Moderate correlation with endpoint PGI-I (0.30 <or= r < 0.5 or -0.5 < r <or= -0.30) included changes in variables that assessed physical functioning, depression, anxiety, fatigue, and several variables related to impact on daily living. Independent predictor variables of endpoint PGI-I identified by stepwise linear regression included assessments for pain, physical function, vitality, anxiety, social function, and tender point thresholds.
In addition to pain reduction, what makes patients with FM feel better may include improvement in fatigue, physical functioning, mood, and impact on daily living. An assessment of these domains may be important in clinical trials of FM and in the management of patients with FM.

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    ABSTRACT: Duloxetine, milnacipran, and pregabalin are approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for the management of fibromyalgia. A number of meta-analyses, pooled analyses, and systematic reviews have been published in recent years involving the efficacy of these three medications for pain in fibromyalgia. Despite being based on the same clinical data, some analyses found these treatments to have a clinically relevant effect on pain, while others concluded that the advantages were small or of questionable clinical relevance. This commentary discussed possible reasons behind these differing conclusions and explored ways of evaluating the clinical relevance of pharmacological treatments for fibromyalgia. In particular, we considered: (1) the importance of judicious and careful interpretation of average treatment effect size and the recognition that average treatment effect sizes do not always tell the whole story; (2) the utility of individual patient response data to assess clinical relevance; and (3) the importance of considering pain reduction within the context of other benefits due to the presence of associated symptoms in patients with fibromyalgia.
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Treatment effects were reported as standardised mean differences (SMD) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for continuous outcomes using different measurement tools (pain, physical function, fatigue, sleep, total well-being and stiffness) and risk ratio (RR) and 95% CI for dichotomous outcomes (adverse events). We pooled data using the random-effects model. MAIN RESULTS: Nine trials (395 participants) were included. All studies except one were at low risk of selection bias; five were at risk of selective reporting bias (favouring either treatment group); two were subject to attrition bias (favouring acupuncture); three were subject to performance bias (favouring acupuncture) and one to detection bias (favouring acupuncture). Three studies utilised electro-acupuncture (EA) with the remainder using manual acupuncture (MA) without electrical stimulation. All studies used 'formula acupuncture' except for one, which used trigger points.Low quality evidence from one study (13 participants) showed EA improved symptoms with no adverse events at one month following treatment. Mean pain in the non-treatment control group was 70 points on a 100 point scale; EA reduced pain by a mean of 22 points (95% confidence interval (CI) 4 to 41), or 22% absolute improvement. Control group global well-being was 66.5 points on a 100 point scale; EA improved well-being by a mean of 15 points (95% CI 5 to 26 points). Control group stiffness was 4.8 points on a 0 to 10 point; EA reduced stiffness by a mean of 0.9 points (95% CI 0.1 to 2 points; absolute reduction 9%, 95% CI 4% to 16%). Fatigue was 4.5 points (10 point scale) without treatment; EA reduced fatigue by a mean of 1 point (95% CI 0.22 to 2 points), absolute reduction 11% (2% to 20%). There was no difference in sleep quality (MD 0.4 points, 95% CI -1 to 0.21 points, 10 point scale), and physical function was not reported.Moderate quality evidence from six studies (286 participants) indicated that acupuncture (EA or MA) was no better than sham acupuncture, except for less stiffness at one month. Subgroup analysis of two studies (104 participants) indicated benefits of EA. Mean pain was 70 points on 0 to 100 point scale with sham treatment; EA reduced pain by 13% (5% to 22%); (SMD -0.63, 95% CI -1.02 to -0.23). Global well-being was 5.2 points on a 10 point scale with sham treatment; EA improved well-being: SMD 0.65, 95% CI 0.26 to 1.05; absolute improvement 11% (4% to 17%). EA improved sleep, from 3 points on a 0 to 10 point scale in the sham group: SMD 0.40 (95% CI 0.01 to 0.79); absolute improvement 8% (0.2% to 16%). Low-quality evidence from one study suggested that MA group resulted in poorer physical function: mean function in the sham group was 28 points (100 point scale); treatment worsened function by a mean of 6 points (95% CI -10.9 to -0.7). Low-quality evidence from three trials (289 participants) suggested no difference in adverse events between real (9%) and sham acupuncture (35%); RR 0.44 (95% CI 0.12 to 1.63).Moderate quality evidence from one study (58 participants) found that compared with standard therapy alone (antidepressants and exercise), adjunct acupuncture therapy reduced pain at one month after treatment: mean pain was 8 points on a 0 to 10 point scale in the standard therapy group; treatment reduced pain by 3 points (95% CI -3.9 to -2.1), an absolute reduction of 30% (21% to 39%). Two people treated with acupuncture reported adverse events; there were none in the control group (RR 3.57; 95% CI 0.18 to 71.21). Global well-being, sleep, fatigue and stiffness were not reported. Physical function data were not usable.Low quality evidence from one study (38 participants) showed a short-term benefit of acupuncture over antidepressants in pain relief: mean pain was 29 points (0 to 100 point scale) in the antidepressant group; acupuncture reduced pain by 17 points (95% CI -24.1 to -10.5). Other outcomes or adverse events were not reported.Moderate-quality evidence from one study (41 participants) indicated that deep needling with or without deqi did not differ in pain, fatigue, function or adverse events. Other outcomes were not reported.Four studies reported no differences between acupuncture and control or other treatments described at six to seven months follow-up.No serious adverse events were reported, but there were insufficient adverse events to be certain of the risks. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: There is low to moderate-level evidence that compared with no treatment and standard therapy, acupuncture improves pain and stiffness in people with fibromyalgia. There is moderate-level evidence that the effect of acupuncture does not differ from sham acupuncture in reducing pain or fatigue, or improving sleep or global well-being. EA is probably better than MA for pain and stiffness reduction and improvement of global well-being, sleep and fatigue. The effect lasts up to one month, but is not maintained at six months follow-up. MA probably does not improve pain or physical functioning. Acupuncture appears safe. People with fibromyalgia may consider using EA alone or with exercise and medication. The small sample size, scarcity of studies for each comparison, lack of an ideal sham acupuncture weaken the level of evidence and its clinical implications. Larger studies are warranted.
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