Results from a recent study published in the journal Neurology showed that patients who suffer from both fibromyalgia and migraines are at a higher risk of suicide. In the study, the team of researchers from Taiwan focused on patients who had migraines and comorbid fibromyalgia, observing that those who had fibromyalgia also suffered from more frequent headaches and had lower sleep quality.
Migraine is a common neurologic disorder and head pain may become chronic and disabling. Fibromyalgia (FM) however, is a complex syndrome characterized by chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, unrefreshing sleep, cognitive dysfunction, and depression. Despite the differences in pain distribution, FM and migraine are often comorbidities, with FM reported in 12.5% to 31.4% of patients suffering from episodic migraines and in 35.6% to 37.6% of patients with chronic migraines (CM). Furthermore, 65% of patients with FM have been reported to have migraine.
To identify the clinical effects, frequency, and risk of suicide in comorbid FM in a cohort of patients with migraine, in the study titled “ Suicide risk in patients with migraine and comorbid fibromyalgia”, the team surveyed patients with migraine who sought help in a headache clinic.
All patients completed questionnaires assessing demographics, headache profiles, and FM surveys based on the modified 2010 American College of Rheumatology diagnostic criteria. The participants also completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, and Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and the Migraine Disability Assessment. Risk of suicide risk was assessed by self-report of lifetime suicidal ideation and attempts.
Of 1,318 patients with migraine included in the analysis 10,1% were found to have comorbid FM. Patients with migraine and comorbid FM had higher headache frequency and headache-related disability, poor sleep quality, and were more depressed/anxious in comparison to those patients who only had migraine.
Of the patients with migraine 27,3% reported suicidal ideation and 6,9% reported suicide attempts. These results were even higher in patients with comorbid FM (ideation: 58.3% attempt: 17.6%, respectively).
The researchers also found an association between FM comorbidity and a higher suicide risk in three different migraine subgroups, i.e., migraine without aura, migraine with aura, and chronic migraine. Importantly, FM comorbidity was found to be a predictor of suicidal ideation and attempts in patients with migraine.
Based on these results the authors believe that comorbid FM is associated with a high risk of suicide in migraine patients and awareness of suicide risk should be increased in this specific group of people.