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Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

Amitriptyline for fibromyalgia in adults

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, July 2015
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (96th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (87th percentile)

Mentioned by

1 news outlet
1 policy source
57 tweeters
1 Facebook page
1 Wikipedia page


32 Dimensions

Readers on

197 Mendeley
Amitriptyline for fibromyalgia in adults
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, July 2015
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd011824
Pubmed ID

R Andrew Moore, Sheena Derry, Dominic Aldington, Peter Cole, Philip J Wiffen


This is an updated version of the original Cochrane review published in Issue 12, 2012. That review considered both fibromyalgia and neuropathic pain, but the efficacy of amitriptyline for neuropathic pain is now dealt with in a separate review.Amitriptyline is a tricyclic antidepressant that is widely used to treat fibromyalgia, and is recommended in many guidelines. It is usually used at doses below those at which the drugs act as antidepressants. To assess the analgesic efficacy of amitriptyline for relief of fibromyalgia, and the adverse events associated with its use in clinical trials. We searched CENTRAL, MEDLINE, and EMBASE to March 2015, together with reference lists of retrieved papers, previous systematic reviews and other reviews, and two clinical trial registries. We also used our own hand searched database for older studies. We included randomised, double-blind studies of at least four weeks' duration comparing amitriptyline with placebo or another active treatment in fibromyalgia. We extracted efficacy and adverse event data, and two study authors examined issues of study quality independently. We performed analysis using three tiers of evidence. First tier evidence derived from data meeting current best standards and subject to minimal risk of bias (outcome equivalent to substantial pain intensity reduction, intention-to-treat analysis without imputation for dropouts; at least 200 participants in the comparison, 8 to 12 weeks duration, parallel design), second tier from data that failed to meet one or more of these criteria and were considered at some risk of bias but with adequate numbers in the comparison, and third tier from data involving small numbers of participants that were considered very likely to be biased or used outcomes of limited clinical utility, or both.For efficacy, we calculated the number needed to treat to benefit (NNT), and for harm we calculated the number needed to treat to harm (NNH) for adverse events and withdrawals. We used a fixed-effect model for meta-analysis. We included seven studies from the earlier review and two new studies (nine studies, 649 participants) of 6 to 24 weeks' duration, enrolling between 22 and 208 participants; none had 50 or more participants in each treatment arm. Two studies used a cross-over design. The daily dose of amitriptyline was 25 mg to 50 mg, and some studies had an initial titration period.There was no first or second tier evidence for amitriptyline in the treatment of fibromyalgia. Using third tier evidence the risk ratio (RR) for at least 50% pain relief, or equivalent, with amitriptyline compared with placebo was 3.0 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.7 to 4.9), with an NNT) of 4.1 (2.9 to 6.7) (very low quality evidence). There were no consistent differences between amitriptyline and placebo or other active comparators for relief of symptoms such as fatigue, poor sleep, quality of life, or tender points.More participants experienced at least one adverse event with amitriptyline (78%) than with placebo (47%). The RR was 1.5 (1.3 to 1.8) and the NNH was 3.3 (2.5 to 4.9). Adverse event and all-cause withdrawals were not different, but lack of efficacy withdrawals were more common with placebo (12% versus 5%; RR 0.42 (0.19 to 0.95)) (very low quality evidence). Amitriptyline has been a first-line treatment for fibromyalgia for many years. The fact that there is no supportive unbiased evidence for a beneficial effect is disappointing, but has to be balanced against years of successful treatment in many patients with fibromyalgia. There is no good evidence of a lack of effect; rather our concern should be of overestimation of treatment effect. Amitriptyline will be one option in the treatment of fibromyalgia, while recognising that only a minority of patients will achieve satisfactory pain relief.It is unlikely that any large randomised trials of amitriptyline will be conducted in fibromyalgia to establish efficacy statistically, or measure the size of the effect.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 57 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 197 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United Kingdom 1 <1%
Unknown 196 99%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 48 24%
Student > Bachelor 23 12%
Researcher 18 9%
Student > Ph. D. Student 17 9%
Student > Postgraduate 13 7%
Other 34 17%
Unknown 44 22%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 85 43%
Nursing and Health Professions 23 12%
Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science 12 6%
Psychology 6 3%
Social Sciences 5 3%
Other 19 10%
Unknown 47 24%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 48. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 19 July 2021.
All research outputs
of 18,687,462 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 11,844 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 242,483 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 255 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 18,687,462 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 96th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 11,844 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 26.3. This one has done well, scoring higher than 88% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 242,483 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 96% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 255 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done well, scoring higher than 87% of its contemporaries.