Course and predictors of medically unexplained pain symptoms in the general population

  • Leiknes K
  • Finset A
  • Moum T
 et al. 
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Objective: The objective of this study was to explore the course and the predictors of clinically significant medically unexplained pain symptoms (MUS-pain) within the 6 months preceding the interviews at baseline and on follow-up in the general population. Methods: A Norwegian general population study of 605 persons interviewed with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview Somatoform Section was conducted in 1989/1990 (baseline), and 421 persons (69.6% response rate; 242 women and 179 men) were reinterviewed in 2000/2001 (follow-up). Cases of recent MUS-pain compared with those at baseline were assessed on follow-up. Four blockwise logistic regression analyses were undertaken to find predictors (such as stressful life events, living alone, depression and anxiety, and physical morbidity) for recent MUS-pain in 2001. Results: A small "stable" group of recent MUS-pain sufferers (8% of all reinterviewed and 33.6% of those with recent MUS-pain at baseline) was evident. In this group almost all were women. In addition to female gender being a significant (P < .05) marker of recent MUS-pain (which gives a twofold-higher risk compared with men), only depression-not the occurrence of prior recent MUS-pain-remained a significant (P < .05) predictor in the final model, increasing the likelihood of having recent MUS-pain by threefold. Conclusion: The prognosis of MUS-pain is relatively good, except for a small group ( mainly women) that is prone to chronicity. Clinicians should examine for depression when confronted with MUS-pain patients and should be aware of the twofold-higher risk in women for persistent MUS-pain over a long time. © 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Author-supplied keywords

  • CIDI
  • General population follow-up
  • Medically unexplained pain symptoms
  • Predictors
  • Prevalence

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  • K.A. Leiknes

  • A. Finset

  • T. Moum

  • I. Sandanger

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