Ye G, Miao R, Chen J, et al. Effectiveness of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Fibromyalgia Syndrome: A Network Meta-Analysis. J Pain Res. 2024 Jan 20;17:305-319. doi: 10.2147/JPR.S439906. eCollection 2024. (Systematic review)

OBJECTIVE: Fibromyalgia (FM) is a prevalent chronic disorder characterized by widespread skeletal muscle pain. In recent years, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) has increasingly been recognized for its potential in treating FM symptoms. This study aims to assess the efficacy of CAM therapies in mitigating the symptoms of FM.

METHODS: This systematic review was registered with INPLASY. A thorough search of both English and Chinese databases was undertaken from their inception until April 15, 2023. The search criteria focused on prospective controlled trials examining CAM therapies in FM patients. The statistical analysis employed mean values and standard deviations. Additionally, an evaluation of the literature's quality and potential biases was conducted.

RESULTS: The search yielded 41 articles, encompassing 2877 FM patients and involving 20 different interventions. All studies were randomized controlled trials (RCTs). The results of the network meta-analysis (NMA) indicated that a combination of Acupuncture and Massage therapy, as well as Navel Needling therapy, effectively alleviated pain symptoms in FM patients. Furthermore, Abdominal Acupuncture and Electroacupuncture were found to be beneficial in improving patients' mood and sleep quality.

CONCLUSION: Acupuncture + Massage and Umbilical Acupuncture emerged as the most efficacious therapies in relieving pain symptoms in FM patients. Abdominal Acupuncture and Electroacupuncture demonstrated their effectiveness in enhancing mood and sleep quality. Overall, CAM therapies exhibited a high safety profile for patients with fibromyalgia.

Discipline Area Score
Physician 5 / 7
Rehab Clinician (OT/PT) 5 / 7
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Comments from MORE raters

Physician rater

A remarkable meta-analysis, but the wide spectrum of FM criteria, the multiple therapeutic combinations (with some groups with small sample size), and geographical limitation reduce its generalizability.

Physician rater

Therapeutic options for fibromyalgia are very limited, if any. This network analyses provide some new therapeutic possibilities.
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