Fibromyalgia May Be Overlooked Comorbidity in Allergic Rhinitis Patients, Study Suggests

Fibromyalgia May Be Overlooked Comorbidity in Allergic Rhinitis Patients, Study Suggests

People with allergic rhinitis developed fibromyalgia more frequently when compared to the general population, a recent study showed.

Findings from the study also indicate that patients with both conditions experience an impaired quality of life compared to patients with either condition alone.

The study, “Fibromyalgia in the Patients With Allergic Rhinitis: Its Prevalence and Impact on the Quality of Life,” was published in the journal American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy.

Allergic rhinitis (AR), one of the most common allergic diseases, develops because of exposure to allergens, such as pollen. Patients with AR develop chronic inflammation that affects the upper airways, the nose, and the eyes.

Many patients with AR have comorbidities — the simultaneous presence of another disease or condition. Common comorbidities in AR patients include asthma, rhinosinusitis, sleep disturbances, depression, and anxiety.

Other comorbidities might be present in these patients, besides these most well-known ones. “One of these conditions could be fibromyalgia (FM). In the literature, there is some evidence regarding the probable relationship between atopic diseases and FM,” the authors wrote.

In order to better understand the relationship between the two diseases, a group of Turkish researchers conducted a study to determine the prevalence of FM in AR patients and how FM affects the quality of life of these patients.

A total of 105 adult patients with AR, ages 18–57, were recruited for the study. All were evaluated for the presence of FM and diagnosed according to the classification criteria of the 2010 American College of Rheumatology.

Next, the patients’ quality of life was evaluated using the Turkish version of the Rhinoconjunctivitis Quality of Life Questionnaire (RQLQ) and the Nottingham Health Profile (NHP).

Among the 105 AR patients, 35 (32.4%) were diagnosed with FM. The percentage of FM was considerably higher among AR patients compared to the general population (2–5%).

The average scores on the categories for the RQLQ were significantly higher in patients with both AR and FM compared to AR patients without FM, with the exception of practical problems and eye symptoms.

The authors wrote, “We found higher scores on the five domains of the RQLQ such as activities, sleep, non-hayfever symptoms, nasal problems, and emotions in AR patients with FM.”

Thus, according to results from the RQLQ, patients with both AR and FM have a worse quality of life compared to patients with AR alone. These results were mirrored in the NHP, a validated measure of quality of life.

The authors wrote, “Our results indicated that AR and FM contributed to an impaired QoL and AR patients with FM experienced a greater unfavorable impact on QoL than those with either condition in isolation.

“We would like to suggest that FM may be considered as one of the overlooked comorbid conditions in AR patients. Physicians should be aware of the occurrence of FM, especially in patients with impaired quality of life.”