In a recent study published in the journal Pain, entitled “Positive affect and pain: mediators of the within-day relation linking sleep quality to activity interference in fibromyalgia,” the authors describe how restful sleep deprivation in fibromyalgia patients can impact their activities the following day. Deeper understanding of these mechanisms may help identify potential new targets for therapeutics that address fibromyalgia-associated symptoms.
Fibromyalgia (FM) is a rheumatologic disorder where patients suffer from chronic pain accompanied by symptoms of fatigue and sleep disturbances. Estimates suggest that 3 to 6% of the world’s population are suffering from fibromyalgia, with women as the most affected group – 75 to 90% of FM patients are females, an approximate ratio of 8 women for every 2 men. In the United States, approximately 10 million people suffer from fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia associated sleep disorders are very common and prevent patients from achieving a restful, restorative sleep. Here, the authors report the effects of sleep quality during the previous night and how it affects daily activities of fibromyalgia patients the day after. Specifically, the authors examined reports through the subsequent day at different periods – early-morning, late-morning and end-of-day reports concerning sleep quality, pain and activity performance, respectively. The analysis was performed based on reports collected electronically during a 21-day consecutive period from 220 fibromyalgia patients.
The authors observed that impaired sleep quality in the previous night was associated with increased levels of pain, described in the early-morning, and enhanced negative affective states in late-morning. As a consequence, patients’ activity at the end of the day was registered as significantly disturbed. However, the authors noted that positive effects could overcome pain.
This study suggests two pathways – pain and positive affect – can impact and predict how sleep disturbances influence the next-day activity of fibromyalgia patients. Notably, the authors’ findings suggest that therapeutics for fibromyalgia patients should include measures for increasing positive affects as a way to minimize the effects of sleep disturbances in patients’ daily activities.
In other developments in fibromyalgia, antidepressant medication Venlafaxine, a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI), may be a potential therapy for fibromyalgia. A recent review entitled “A systematic review of the efficacy of venlafaxine for the treatment of fibromyalgia” by Dr. Luke. A. VanderWeide classified several studies according to the strength of evidence and found that studies assessing the efficacy of venlafaxine in the treatment of fibromyalgia have a number of limitations, but venlafaxine seems to be discreetly effective in the treatment of fibromyalgia.