Fibromyalgia (FM), a disorder characterized by chronic widespread pain and tenderness, affects greater than five million individuals in the United States alone. Patients experience multiple symptoms in addition to pain, and among them, fatigue is one of the most bothersome and disabling. There is a growing body of literature suggesting that fatigue is a multidimensional concept. Currently, to our knowledge, no multidimensional Patient Reported Outcome (PRO) measure of FM-related fatigue meets Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements to support a product label claim. Therefore, the objective of this research was to evaluate qualitative and quantitative data previously gathered to inform the development of a comprehensive, multidimensional, PRO measure to assess FM-related fatigue in FM clinical trials.
Existing qualitative and quantitative data from three previously conducted studies in patients with FM were reviewed to inform the initial development of a multidimensional PRO measure of FM-related fatigue: 1) a concept elicitation study involving in-depth, open-ended interviews with patients with FM in the United States (US) (N = 20), Germany (N = 10), and France (N = 10); 2) a cognitive debriefing and pilot study of a preliminary pool of 23 items (N = 20 US patients with FM); and 3) a methodology study that explored initial psychometrics of the item pool (N = 145 US patients with FM).
Five domains were identified that intend to capture the broad experience of FM-related fatigue reported in the qualitative research: the Global Fatigue Experience, Cognitive Fatigue, Physical Fatigue, Motivation, and Impact on Function. Seventeen of the original pool of 23 items were selected to best capture these five dimensions. These 17 items formed the basis of a newly developed multidimensional PRO measure to assess FM-related fatigue in clinical trials: the Multidimensional Daily Diary of Fatigue-Fibromyalgia-17 (MDF-Fibro-17).
Qualitative analysis, and preliminary quantitative item level data, confirmed that FM-related fatigue is multidimensional and provided strong support for the content validity of the MDF-Fibro-17. The next stage was to quantitatively evaluate the measure to confirm the factor structure, psychometric properties, sensitivity to change, and meaningful change. This has been conducted and is being reported separately.