Site Map

Familial Mediterranean fever

Familial paroxysmal polyserositis; Periodic peritonitis; Recurrent polyserositis; Benign paroxysmal peritonitis; Periodic disease; Periodic fever; FMF

Familial Mediterranean fever (FMF) is a rare disorder passed down through families (inherited). It involves repeated fevers and inflammation that often affects the lining of the abdomen, chest, or joints.

Images

Temperature measurement

I Would Like to Learn About:

Causes

FMF is most often caused by a mutation in a gene named MEFV. This gene creates a protein involved in inflammation.

FMF most often affects people of Mediterranean ancestry. These include non-Ashkenazi (Sephardic) Jews, Armenians, and Arabs. People from other ethnic groups can also be affected.

Symptoms

Symptoms usually begin between ages 5 and 15. Inflammation in the lining of the abdominal cavity, chest cavity, skin, or joints occurs along with high fevers that usually peak in 12 to 24 hours. Attacks may vary in severity of symptoms. People are usually symptom-free between attacks.

Symptoms may include repeated episodes of:

Exams and Tests

If genetic testing shows that you have the MEFV gene mutation and your symptoms match the typical pattern, the diagnosis is nearly certain. Laboratory tests or x-rays can rule out other possible diseases to help make the diagnosis.

Levels of certain blood tests may be higher than normal when done during an attack. Tests may include:

Treatment

The goal of treatment for FMF is to control symptoms. Colchicine, a medicine that reduces inflammation, may help during an attack and may prevent further attacks. It can also help prevent a serious complication called systemic amyloidosis, which is common in people with FMF.

NSAIDs may be used to treat fever and pain.

Support Groups

The following resources can provide more information on FMF:

Outlook (Prognosis)

There is no known cure for FMF. Most people continue to have attacks, but the number and severity of attacks is different from person to person.

Possible Complications

Amyloidosis may lead to kidney damage or not being able to absorb nutrients from food (malabsorption). Fertility problems in women and men and arthritis are also complications.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your provider if you or your child develops symptoms of this condition.

Related Information

Primary amyloidosis

References

Ombrello AK, Kastner DL. Hereditary periodic fever syndromes and other systemic autoinflammatory diseases. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St. Geme JW, Schor NF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 163.

Shohat M. Familial Mediterranean fever. GeneReviews. 2016; Dec 15. PMID: 20301405 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20301405.

BACK TO TOP

Review Date: 9/22/2018  

Reviewed By: Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

ADAM Quality Logo

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, for Health Content Provider (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2019 A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.