Medication and the patient–doctor relationship: a qualitative study with patients suffering from fibromyalgia

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Abstract

Background

Fibromyalgia is characterized by a diffuse and predominantly axial and chronic pain, for which there is no explicit rationale for treatment options.

Objective

This qualitative study aims to understand the medication experience of patients with fibromyalgia and their relationship with the doctors derived from treatment negotiation.

Design

A qualitative approach was used, based on interviews with patients.

Setting and participants

Semi-structured interviews were held in a public hospital, with 35 patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Qualitative content analysis was performed.

Results

The first axis is centred on the unsuccessful quest for an effective treatment for pain and the feeling of dismissal of patients, who are in search of validation and recognition. The second part of the accounts explains the medication adjustments and the search for collaboration. Developing a model of partnership with the doctor enables the patients to shape their own illness, through the medication.

Discussion

It is by mediating their relationship with medication that patients gain access to this state of co-expertise and that they put sense into the collaboration they develop with their doctors. Through this collaboration, useful drugs are identified and adjusted to treat the pain.

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