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"Drugs help relieve fibromyalgia symptoms"

Edmonton Journal

Source: Edmonton Journal

Published: 11 Jan 2022

Category: Pharmaceutical

Rating: (2½ stars)

what they said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

The chronic pain of fibromyalgia is often intense enough to disrupt patients' mental processes, yet the problem can be diminished with the use of controversial opiate drugs, a new University of Alberta study suggests.

"There's lots of work that still needs to be done on this, but the data would suggest that these medications, when used under the supervision of qualified professional, have the potential to be quite beneficial," said Bruce Dick, a U of A clinical psychologist who specializes in pain medicine and anesthesiology...

The original article can be found at:

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 5 of 10
Availability of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Novelty of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Disease Mongering Satisfactory (?)
Treatment Options Not Satisfactory (?)
Costs of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Evidence Satisfactory (?)
Quantification of Benefits of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Harms of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Sources of Information Not Satisfactory (?)
Relies on Press Release Not Applicable
Quantification of Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)

what we said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

This is a report of a small study of 30 fibromyalgia sufferers, about one-third of whom were taking an opiate drug, such as morphine or methadone, for the pain.

The key measure here was mental impairment, and there is some apparent benefit from taking opioids due to the fact they might help diminish mental impairment. The report said that "the people with these prescriptions performed substantially better than the patients with no such treatment," yet we have no sense of the magnitude of the benefit, or the magnitude of the harms.

There was only scant information on the shape of the study, and no information about the treatment costs, or alternatives. Since many people with fibromyalgia may be influenced by this article, and seek further pain relief from this class of drugs, the journalist's reports have to be much more thorough and rigorous. People who may be lulled into a false sense of security from articles such as these could very well be harmed by having an incomplete assessment of what the treatments can or cannot do for them.

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