Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The prevalence of fibromyalgia among patients with hepatitis B virus infection

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a syndrome characterized by widespread and chronic musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, morning stiffness, and sleep disturbance. However, the etiopathogenesis of FM remains unclear.

Various etiological factors have been suggested to trigger FM. These include systemic rheumatismal disease, physical trauma, psychological disorders, and chronic infections.

We determined the prevalence of FM in patients with chronic active hepatitis B virus (HBV) and inactive hepatitis B carriers, compared with matched healthy controls.

Seventy-seven HBV patients (39 HBV carriers and 38 with chronic active hepatitis), were evaluated for FM syndrome. Seventy-seven HBsAg-negative healthy subjects were enrolled as a control group. We found that FM was very prevalent in patients with HBV infections (22% of the total). We found no difference in FM prevalence when patients with chronic active hepatitis B infections (21% FM prevalence) and those who were inactive hepatitis B carriers (23% FM prevalence) were compared. FM was not associated with the levels of HBV-DNA, ALT, or AST.

Recognition and management of FM in HBsAg-positive patients will aid in improvement of quality-of-life. We fully accept that our preliminary results require confirmation in studies including larger numbers of patients. More work is needed to allow us to understand the role played by, and the relevance of, infections (including HBV) in FM syndrome pathogenesis.

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