The effects of long- and short-term interdisciplinary treatment approaches in women with fibromyalgia: a randomized controlled trial

Saral I., Sindel D., Esmaeilzadeh S., Sertel-Berk H. O., Oral A.

Rheumatology International, vol.36, no.10, pp.1379-1389, 2016 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 36 Issue: 10
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s00296-016-3473-8
  • Journal Name: Rheumatology International
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.1379-1389
  • Keywords: Fibromyalgia, Treatment, Multidisciplinary, Interdisciplinary, Multicomponent, Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: Yes


We investigated the effects of long- and short-term interdisciplinary treatment approaches for reducing symptoms and improving health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and physical functions of patients with fibromyalgia and compared the effects of two different interdisciplinary treatment approaches. We conducted a prospective, randomized, controlled trial involving 66 women with fibromyalgia eligible for the study at a university hospital setting. The patients were randomized into three groups (allocation ratio 1:1:1) using a computer-generated random numbers: a long-term interdisciplinary treatment group (LG, n = 22) that participated in 10 sessions (3-h once-weekly session for 10 weeks) of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) together with exercise training and other fibromyalgia related educational programs (two full days); a short-term interdisciplinary treatment group (SG, n = 22) that received two full days of educational, exercise, and CBT programs; and a control group (CG, n = 22). The patients were evaluated at baseline and 6 months after treatment using the visual analog scale (pain, fatigue, and sleep), Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire, Beck Depression Inventory, Short Form-36, tender point numbers, and pressure algometry as primary outcomes. The statistical analysis was confined to the ‘per-protocol’ set. No blinding was performed. The number of patients analyzed was 21 in the LG, 19 in the SG, and 19 in the CG. The intensity of pain (p < 0.001), severity of fatigue (p = 0.048), number of tender points (p = 0.002), and pressure pain threshold (p = 0.012) decreased significantly in both the LG and SG groups compared with controls. Moreover, physical functions (p = 0.017) and physical components of the HRQoL (p = 0.036) improved significantly in the intervention groups compared with the controls. However, there was no significant difference between intervention groups and the control group at the end of study in terms of quality of sleep (p = 0.055), severity of depressive symptoms (p = 0.696), and mental components of the HRQoL (p = 0.229). Finally, with the exception of the severity of fatigue and physical components of the HRQoL, there was no obvious significant difference between the efficacies of the two treatment approaches when compared with controls; the long-term treatment was found more effective in reducing pain than the short-term. Both, long- and short-term interdisciplinary treatments were effective in reducing the severity of some symptoms and disease activity in patients with fibromyalgia. The short-term program well meets the needs of women with fibromyalgia particularly in relation to pain and health status as measured using FIQ; however, a long-term program may be beneficial in reducing fatigue and improving physical function to a higher extent.