Fibromyalgia and migraine patients are at a higher risk of suicide, study

By: Emily Lunardo | Fibromyalgia | Monday, May 09, 2016 - 12:30 PM

Fibromyalgia and migraine patientsFibromyalgia and migraine patients are at a higher risk of suicide, according to research. The findings were published in Neurology. The researchers focused on migraine sufferers and those who also had fibromyalgia (FM). They found that fibromyalgia patients who experienced greater headaches also had poorer quality of sleep.

Migraines and fibromyalgia are often comorbid conditions, with FM reported in 12.5 percent to 31.4 percent of patients suffering from episodic migraines, and in 35.6 percent to 37.6 percent of patients with chronic migraines.

The researchers surveyed patients who sought relief from headaches in a headache clinic. All patients completed questionnaires assessing demographics, headache profiles, and fibromyalgia surveys based on the modified 2010 American College of Rheumatology diagnostic criteria.

Of the 1,318 migraine patients, 10.1 percent were found to also have comorbid fibromyalgia. Of the migraine patients, 37.3 percent reported suicidal ideation and 6.9 percent reported suicide attempts.

The researchers also found an association between fibromyalgia comorbidity and a higher suicide risk in three different migraine subgroups, namely, migraine without aura, migraine with aura, and chronic migraine.

The researchers believe that comorbid fibromyalgia and migraines greatly increase the risk of suicide, which should be assessed among these patients.

Fibromyalgia and elevated suicide risk

There is much unknown about fibromyalgia, but it is known to cause all-over pain and increase the sensitivity towards pain. Thus, patients living with fibromyalgia have a worse quality of life, as their constant living in pain inhibits them from partaking in many normal activities.

Because of this reduction in quality of life, some patients may be prompted to consider suicide to escape living a life in pain and not being able to enjoy each and every day.

The general rate of suicide and suicide attempts worldwide are 1.8 percent and 2.7 percent, respectively. In a study from Spain looking at fibromyalgia patients, 16.7 percent of patients attempted suicide between one to three times. A Denmark study showed similar results of higher rates of suicide attempts among fibromyalgia patients – 10.5 times greater than the general population.

As more research comes to light regarding suicide and fibromyalgia, doctors in the meantime should work to reduce pain for patients as best as possible as pain is a large contributing factor to suicide. Furthermore, patients should be assessed for depression and suicidal thoughts in order to prevent such attempts from occurring.

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