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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Familial Mediterranean fever


Other Names for this Disease
  • Benign paroxysmal peritonitis
  • Familial paroxysmal polyserositis
  • FMF
  • Periodic disease
  • Periodic fever
More Names
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Your Question

What is familial Mediterranean fever (FMF)? Is there any connection between fibromyalgia and FMF? Has any link been established between a family history of arthritis and FMF?

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

What is familial Mediterranean fever (FMF)?

Familial Mediterranean fever (FMF) is an inherited condition characterized by episodes of painful inflammation of the abdominal lining (peritonitis),  lining surrounding the lungs (pleurisy), and joints (arthralgia and occasionally arthritis). These episodes are often accompanied by fever and sometimes a characteristic ankle rash. The first episode usually occurs in childhood or the teenage years, but in some cases, the initial attack occurs much later in life. Between attacks, people often do not have any symptoms. Without treatment, FMF can lead to kidney failure due to a buildup of certain protein deposits (amyloidosis). FMF is usually inherited in an autosomal recessive fashion and is caused by mutations in the MEFV gene.[1][2]
Last updated: 6/29/2012

Is there a connection between family history of fibromyalgia and/or arthritis and familial Mediterranean fever?

Some of the symptoms of FMF can be similar to symptoms of fibromyalgia and gout, but we are not aware of any direct genetic associations. However, we recommend that you speak with a genetics professional. The genetics professional will carefully review your family medical history, can aid in the diagnosis, and is best able address your family’s specific questions and concerns.
Last updated: 6/29/2012

What is known about the genetic basis of fibromyalgia?

As you may know, fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread pain, abnormal pain processing, sleep disturbance, fatigue, and often psychological distress [3]. Fibromyalgia often co-occurs with forms of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis or systemic lupus erythematous. Fibromyalgia appears to have a significant familial component suggesting that genetic factors may have some role in causing the condition in combination with several environmental factors.

A clinical trial on the ‘Genetics of Fibromyalgia’(Clinical Trials Identifier NCT00071162) is being conducted at the National Institute of Arthritis and Muscoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). You can view more information about this study by clicking here
. After you click on the study, review it’s “eligibility” criteria to determine its appropriateness. Use the study’s contact information to learn more. You can also contact the Patient Recruitment and Public Liaison Office at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). We recommend calling 1-800-411-1222 to speak with a specialist who can help you determine if you are eligible for this clinical trial.
Last updated: 7/20/2011

What is known about the genetic basis of gout?

Gout is an arthritic disease involving uric acid deposits in the joints. It causes pain, especially in the joints of the feet and legs.[3] Like fibromyalgia, gout also appears to have a significant familial component suggesting that genetic factors may have some role in causing the condition in combination with several environmental factors.[3][4]
Last updated: 7/20/2011

What is known about the genetic basis of arthritis?

Arthritis is characterized by joint inflammation and is used to describe more than 100 rheumatic diseases and conditions that affect joints.[5] Specific genes are associated with a higher risk of certain types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematous (SLE), and ankylosing spondylitis. These genes often provide information for particular HLA types that are associated with these conditions.[5]
Last updated: 6/29/2012

How can I find a genetics professional in my area?

Genetics clinics are a source of information for individuals and families regarding genetic conditions, treatment, inheritance, and genetic risks to other family members. More information about genetic consultations is available from Genetics Home Reference. To find a genetics clinic, we recommend that you contact your primary healthcare provider for a referral.

The following online resources can help you find a genetics professional in your community:
Last updated: 10/18/2013

References