From Our 2013 Archives
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A Blood Test for Fibromyalgia?

By Kathleen Doheny
WebMD Health News

Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario, MD

Oct. 28, 2013 -- A new blood test may predict fibromyalgia, a condition that can be hard to diagnose.

Research about the new test was presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology in San Diego.

EpicGenetics of Santa Monica, Calif., developed the test, called the FM/a test, says Bruce Gillis, MD, MPH. Gillis is the company's CEO and an assistant professor of medicine and emergency medicine at the University of Illinois College of Medicine.

"It is objective, very accurate, and definitive," he says.

But the test's high price tag -- $744 -- may keep its use limited for now, one expert says.

"Due to the cost and my lack of experience with this new test, I would initially use it in patients in whom I suspect as having fibromyalgia but lack some of the classic features, making the diagnosis more difficult," says Scott Zashin. Zashin is a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas.

Fibromyalgia causes widespread pain, tenderness, and stiffness in the muscles and connective tissues. The cause is not known. Six million people or more in the U.S. may have it, Gillis says. Usually doctors take a medical history and note symptoms. Often, it is a diagnosis made after excluding other diseases.

"The biggest problem is the skepticism that physicians have that don't believe that fibromyalgia is a real medical ailment," Gillis says. Often, he says, they label the patient as being depressed or being a hypochondriac.

"What our test does more than anything else is legitimize the diagnosis," Gillis says.

SOURCES:

American College of Rheumatology annual meeting, San Diego, Oct. 26-30, 2013.

Bruce Gillis, MD, MPH, CEO, EpicGenetics; assistant professor of medicine and emergency medicine, University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago.

Scott Zashin, MD, clinical professor of medicine, division of rheumatology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas.

© 2013 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.



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