[corrected to Kong, Kok Ooi].
Rheumatic Diseases Unit, Putra Specialist Center, Alor Star, Kedah, Malaysia. firstname.lastname@example.org
BACKGROUND: Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a common but controversial condition. There appears to be different level of belief of its existence and awareness. We set out to explore the variations of perceptions and awareness of this condition among rheumatologists from the Southeast Asia (SEA) region.
METHODS: One hundred eight rheumatologists from the participating countries; 28 from Malaysia, 20 from Singapore, 26 from Thailand, 2 from Brunei, and 42 from Indonesia were approached to participate in this survey by answering specific questions regarding their beliefs in relation to FMS; 82% respondents from Malaysia, 100% from Singapore, 92% from Thailand, 100% from Brunei, and 90% from Indonesia completed the questionnaires.
RESULTS: Most rheumatologists (92.5%) from SEA believe that FMS is a distinct clinical entity, and also this condition is considered an illness rather than a disease. Eighty-seven percent rheumatologists from SEA believe that FMS is a mixture of medical and psychological illness, 9% believe that FMS is primarily a psychological illness, and 3% believe that it is a medical illness. Only 60% of those in a university setting include FMS in their undergraduate teaching. Eighty-five percent of the respondents ordered blood tests to exclude other serious pathologic conditions, and 100% of the respondents from SEA countries also prescribed some form of drugs to FMS patients.
CONCLUSION: FMS is apparently seen worldwide. This study confirmed that there was a variation of perceptions and knowledge of FMS among rheumatologists from SEA countries. However, most rheumatologists agreed that FMS is a distinct clinical entity with a mixture of medical and psychological factors.