Systematic review and network meta-analysis of interventions for fibromyalgia: a protocol

Jason W Busse, Shanil Ebrahim, Gaelan Connell, Eric A Coomes, Paul Bruno, Keshena Malik, David Torrance, Trung Ngo, Karin Kirmayr, Daniel Avrahami, John Riva, Peter Struijs, David Brunarski, Stephen J Burnie, Frances LeBlanc, Ivan Steenstra, Quenby Mahood, Kristian Thorlund, Victor M Montori, Vishalini SivarajahPaul Alexander, Milosz Jankowski, Wiktoria Lesniak, Markus Faulhaber, Małgorzata M Bała, Stefan Schandelmaier, Gordon H Guyatt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Fibromyalgia is associated with substantial socioeconomic loss and, despite considerable research including numerous randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and systematic reviews, there exists uncertainty regarding what treatments are effective. No review has evaluated all interventional studies for fibromyalgia, which limits attempts to make inferences regarding the relative effectiveness of treatments.

Methods/design: We will conduct a network meta-analysis of all RCTs evaluating therapies for fibromyalgia to determine which therapies show evidence of effectiveness, and the relative effectiveness of these treatments. We will acquire eligible studies through a systematic search of CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE, AMED, HealthSTAR, PsychINFO, PapersFirst, ProceedingsFirst, and the Cochrane Central Registry of Controlled Trials. Eligible studies will randomly allocate patients presenting with fibromyalgia or a related condition to an intervention or a control. Teams of reviewers will, independently and in duplicate, screen titles and abstracts and complete full text reviews to determine eligibility, and subsequently perform data abstraction and assess risk of bias of eligible trials. We will conduct meta-analyses to establish the effect of all reported therapies on patient-important outcomes when possible. To assess relative effects of treatments, we will construct a random effects model within the Bayesian framework using Markov chain Monte Carlo methods.

Discussion: Our review will be the first to evaluate all treatments for fibromyalgia, provide relative effectiveness of treatments, and prioritize patient-important outcomes with a focus on functional gains. Our review will facilitate evidence-based management of patients with fibromyalgia, identify key areas for future research, and provide a framework for conducting large systematic reviews involving indirect comparisons.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalSystematic reviews
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • fibromyalgia
  • systematic review
  • meta-analysis
  • interventions


Dive into the research topics of 'Systematic review and network meta-analysis of interventions for fibromyalgia: a protocol'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this