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Caffeine intake, Fibromyalgia pain severity linked
Wednesday 17 October 2012
New research has found a link between caffeine consumption and the severity of fibromyalgia pain, and although low to moderate intake showed little to no association with pain severity, the news is not as good for those individuals holing up at their local Starbucks on a regular basis.
The new data, presented at the recent annual meeting of the American Pain Society, showed a statistically significant association between very high levels of daily caffeine consumption and fibromyalgia pain severity.
“There is a weak but significant relationship between caffeine consumption and pain severity in fibromyalgia patients,” said lead investigator Steven E. Harte, PhD, a research investigator in the Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center, Department of Anesthesiology, University of Michigan Health System, in Ann Arbor. “According to our data, there is almost no association between pain and low to moderate caffeine consumption.”
Few studies have looked at high levels of caffeine and chronic pain severity.
The study included 252 patients who met the American College of Rheumatology’s criteria for fibromyalgia. These subjects completed the Brief Pain Inventory (BPI), and were further asked to describe their daily caffeine consumption as low (0.25-1.5 cups per day; n=88), moderate (2-3.5 cups per day; n=95) or high (≥4 cups per day; n=69).
According to the investigators, caffeine intake was significantly correlated with pain severity on the BPI (r=0.282; P=0.002), with patients in the high caffeine-intake group reporting significantly greater pain levels than individuals in the low caffeine-intake group. No difference was seen between low and moderate caffeine consumption.
“This association appears to be driven primarily by those patients drinking eight or more cups of caffeinated beverages a day,” said Dr. Harte. “Thus, like most things, moderation is key when it comes to caffeine consumption.”
With regard to interpretation, he added that it is possible that patients with worse fibromyalgia pain and related symptoms (e.g., fatigue and cognitive deficits) “may consume more caffeine ... to reduce these symptoms.”
He added that, “We are currently looking to see if we can replicate the data in a separate cohort of FM [fibromyalgia] patients and whether this relationship also occurs in patients with other types of chronic pain,” he said. “We are also working on several experimental and mechanistic studies (i.e., neuroimaging) to better understand the effects of caffeine on pain.”
–Gabrielle N. Rosen and Donald M. Pizzi
The above originally appeared here.
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