Tremendous progress is being made in the area of fibromyalgia,” says Dan Clauw, MD, professor of medicine in the division of rheumatology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and moderator of the March 14 audioconference on the current management of fibromyalgia. “However,” he continues, “as in many fields of medicine, those who are not directly involved in fibromyalgia research and treatment are not aware of the progress that has been made.”
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Explore This IssueFebruary 2007
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Dr. Clauw’s audioconference will be devoted to both the mechanisms and the treatment of fibromyalgia and will present recent research breakthroughs. The audioconference is intended for both academic and practicing rheumatologists.
“When I began my rheumatology career, there was very little known about fibromyalgia,” says Dr. Clauw. “I found it fascinating that a condition that afflicted so many people could have so little available research, and I saw an opportunity to help determine the cause and find better treatments.”
During his audioconference, Dr. Clauw will describe the underlying mechanisms and clinical presentation of fibromyalgia and closely related conditions, the similar findings that have been noted in a number of different conditions, and how genes identified in irritable bowel syndrome, temporomandibular disorder, and idiopathic low back pain have also been identified in fibromyalgia.
“One of the strengths of this field is that researchers can look at the findings in similar conditions that often have a resemblance to fibromyalgia,” says Dr. Clauw. “This has facilitated a number of significant breakthroughs in the management of fibromyalgia.”
The progress on the research front has also fostered better treatment options. “The fibromyalgia research community has made significant progress on at least three new drugs for the management and treatment of fibromyalgia,” says Dr. Clauw.
Dr. Clauw anticipates that increased awareness of fibromyalgia research and treatment advances will help rheumatologists appropriately diagnose and treat this condition, although he believes the rheumatology community will benefit by collaborating with primary care physicians to provide the best care for fibromyalgia patients.
“Due to the nature of the condition and the fact that it is somewhat of a disease of the nervous system, many rheumatologists believe that the proper role of a rheumatologist in managing fibromyalgia patients is to appropriately diagnose the condition and refer the patient to a primary care physician,” explains Dr. Clauw.
Still, he maintains that the entire rheumatology community needs to know about fibromyalgia treatment advances. “Once knowledge of the available treatments is dispersed into clinical practice, physicians will be better equipped to diagnose and treat patients with fibromyalgia,” he says.