A feasibility Randomised Controlled Trial of a Fibromyalgia Self-management Programme for adults in a community setting with a nested qualitative study (FALCON)

Jennifer Pearson, Jessica Coggins, Sandi Derham, Julie Russell, Nicola Walsh, Erik Lenguerrand, Shea Palmer, Fiona Cramp

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Background: Fibromyalgia is a condition associated with widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue and sleep problems. Fibromyalgia treatment guidelines recommend non-pharmacological interventions and the development of self-management skills. An example of a programme that fits these guidelines is the Fibromyalgia Self-management Programme (FSMP) which consists of one 2.5-hour weekly session over six successive weeks and includes education about fibromyalgia, goal setting, pacing, sleep hygiene and nutritional advice. The FSMP is currently provided in a secondary care hospital setting and co-delivered by a multidisciplinary team. Delivery in a primary care setting has the potential to improve the accessibility of the programme to people with fibromyalgia. Therefore, this feasibility study aimed to determine the practicality and acceptability of conducting a future definitive randomised controlled trial of the FSMP in a community setting. Method: An exploratory, parallel-arm, one-to-one, randomised controlled trial. Participants were recruited from general practices across South West England, and the FSMP was co-delivered by physiotherapists and occupational therapists across two community sites. To determine the outcome measures for a future definitive trial several were tested. The Revised Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire, Arthritis Self-Efficacy Scale-8, Chalder Fatigue Scale, Short form 36, 5-Level EQ-5D version and Jenkins Sleep Scale were collected at baseline, 6 weeks and 6 months. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with patient participants, occupational therapists and physiotherapists to explore the acceptability and feasibility of delivering the FSMP in a community setting. Results: A total of 74 participants were randomised to the FSMP intervention (n = 38) or control arm (n = 36). Attrition from the trial was 42% (31/74) at 6 months. A large proportion of those randomised to the intervention arm (34%, 13/38) failed to attend any sessions with six of the 13 withdrawing before the intervention commenced. The proportion of missing values was small for each of the outcome measures. Three overarching themes were derived from the interview data; (1) barriers and facilitators to attending the FSMP; (2) FSMP content, delivery and supporting documentation; and (3) trial processes. Conclusion: It is feasible to recruit people with fibromyalgia from Primary Care to participate in a randomised controlled trial testing the FSMP in a community setting. However, improvement in trial attrition and engagement with the intervention is needed. Trial registration: The trial is registered with ISRCTN registry and was assigned on 29/04/2019. The registration number is ISRCTN10824225.

Original languageEnglish
Article number656
Number of pages14
JournalBMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
Issue number1
Early online date11 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2022. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativeco
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Funding Information: The study was funded by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy Charitable Trust (reference: PRF/17/A29). The funder was not involved in the design of the study, collection, analysis, and interpretation of data and writing the manuscript.


  • Community
  • Feasibility randomised controlled trial
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Self-management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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