Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition with similar overlaping symptoms and challenges as those faced by people with ME/CFS. In fact, in 2022, a study conducted at the National Institute of Cardiology, Mexico City, showed that 47% of people with either ME/CFS or fibromylagia actually fitted the criteria for both conditions.
Given current parliamentary activity over ME/CFS, it is interesting to note what progress is being made in another chronic illness which is also under-researched and largely overlooked.
On 24th February 2023, two questions were asked by Richard Fuller MP
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential implications for his policies of new research published on the treatment of fibromyalgia in the last two years.Richard Fuller MP – Written question
Will Quince MP, Minister of State at the Department of Health & Social Care responded on 2nd March
No specific assessment has been made.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent body responsible for developing authoritative, evidence-based recommendations and guidance for the health and care system. NICE guidelines are developed by experts based on a thorough assessment of the available evidence and through extensive engagement with stakeholders. NICE maintains surveillance of new evidence that may affect its published guidance and would consult on proposed changes with a wide range of stakeholders if significant new evidence was to emerge.Written Response – UIN 152210
The second question illicited a similarly downbeat reponse
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has had discussions with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence on proposals for a review of (a) treatment and (b) guidance on best practice for patients with fibromyalgia.
The Department has had no such discussions with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
NICE published its guideline on primary and secondary chronic pain in over 16 years old in April 2021. The guideline makes recommendations on pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments of chronic primary pain, including fibromyalgia, which is classified as a type of chronic primary pain. The full recommendations are available at the following link:
NICE has no plans to update the guidance at this time, however their surveillance programme ensures that its published guidelines are up to date by exploring if there is any new evidence to contradict, reinforce or clarify the recommendations it makes.