Fibromyalgia: What Primary Care Providers Need to Know

Saturday, 10/21 – 3:20pm – 4:40pm

Brief Overview

Fibromyalgia (FM) is one of the most common and chronic pain conditions in the United States. The estimated prevalence is 2%-5% of the adult population. Despite this prevalence, fibromyalgia remains underdiagnosed and undertreated. Men, in particular, are underdiagnosed (prevalence in women 3.4% vs .5% in men). The lack of objective diagnostic criteria causes many providers to be skeptical of the diagnosis; as a result, many patients with fibromyalgia feel defensive and frustrated when they seek medical care. There is evidence that fibromyalgia has both physical and psychological changes. New understanding of fibromyalgia in recent years’ points to a neurochemical dysfunction in the central nervous system that leads to “amplification” in pain processing. It is estimated that more than 50% of visits for FM are to primary care providers; only 16% of FM visits are to rheumatologists. The American College of Rheumatology recommends that the role of rheumatologists should be primarily as consultants to primary care providers in the management of FM patients.

The objective of this educational presentation is to review the diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia, review current FDA approved treatment options for FM, and to help the primary care provider understand FM as a chronic illness that needs a comprehensive treatment approach. The approach needs to take into account both psychological and physical characteristics of this condition. Case studies will be included in the presentation to highlight and demonstrate an effective approach on how to manage fibromyalgia in a busy primary care setting. Co-existing comorbidities, often present with FM, will be discussed. Fibromyalgia may never be completely understood; however, it can be effectively managed in a primary care setting.

Learning Objectives

  • Evaluate a patient with fibromyalgia complaints using the ACR Diagnostic Criteria
  • Construct a comprehensive and effective treatment plan for the patient with fibromyalgia taking into account current FDA approved medications and non-pharmacologic intervention strategies


This activity is not supported by any commercial interest or grantor.

Accreditation Information

AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™: This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of Primary Care Network (PCN) and Medical Education Exchange (MEDX). Primary Care Network is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Primary Care Network designates this live activity for a maximum of 1.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

ABIM MOC: Successful completion of this CME activity, which includes participation in the evaluation component, enables the participant to earn up to 1.25 Medical Knowledge MOC points in the American Board of Internal Medicine’s (ABIM) Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program. Participants will earn MOC points equivalent to the amount of CME credits claimed for the activity. It is the CME activity provider’s responsibility to submit participant completion information to ACCME for the purpose of granting ABIM MOC credit.

Please allow 6-8 weeks for your MOC points to appear on your ABIM records.

AAFP: This Live activity, Fibromyalgia: What Primary Care Providers Need to Know, from 09/30/2017 – 10/21/2017, has been reviewed and is acceptable for up to 1.25 Prescribed credits by the American Academy of Family Physicians. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Faculty Information

Susan Hutchinson, MD
Director, Orange County Migraine & Headache Center
Volunteer Clinical Faculty, UC Irvine Department of Family Medicine
Irvine, CA