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Anti-thyroid antibody link to fibromyalgia

In patients with rheumatoid arthritis, those with anti-TPO antibodies were more than 3 times more likely to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

The presence of anti-thyroid antibodies has been linked to fibromyalgia and chronic widespread pain in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, according to a paper1 presented at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting.

The study looked at a cohort of 203 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who had documented presence of anti-thyroid peroxidase (anti-TPO) and anti-thyroglobulin (anti-TG) antibodies.

Thirty-four percent of the patients had positive results for anti-TPO, and 35% tested positive for anti-TG. Of the total of patients with positive results for both antibodies, 37% were diagnosed with fibromyalgia or chronic widespread pain.

Logistic regression analyses adjusted by age, sex, diabetes and BMI showed patients with anti-TPO antibodies were more than 3 times more likely to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia. The risk for fibromyalgia in patients with anti-TG antibodies was not statistically significant, according to the researchers.

According to the study, patients with either antibody were 2.7 times more likely to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia, or 2.5 times more likely when adjusted for degenerative disease.

About anti-thyroid antibodies

Anti-thyroid antibodies (or anti-thyroid autoantibodies) are autoantibodies targeted against one or more components of the thyroid. The most clinically relevant anti-thyroid autoantibodies are anti-thyroid peroxidase antibodies (anti-TPO antibodies), thyrotropin receptor antibodies (TRAbs) and thyroglobulin antibodies.

Graves’ disease and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are commonly associated with the presence of anti-thyroid autoantibodies.

PHOTO: Love Worn by Creativity+ Timothy K Hamilton

Further Reading

  • Shirley Pulawski, Anti-thyroid antibodies strongly linked to fibromyalgia, pain in patients with RA, January 16, 2015, Healio, [Article]


  1. Ahmad J, et al. Paper #401. Presented at: American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting. Nov. 14-19, 2014; Boston. []

Written by Russell Logan


Russell Logan worked as a magazine publisher and editor until forced into early retirement through ill health with ME. He has battled with moderate to severe ME for 25 years. He now lives in Noosaville, Australia.

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