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It is likely that your GP or Consultant when you are first diagnosed will want to treat you with various medications, and will normally go through a variety of these before they find one that is suitable for you.
In this section we are not going into detail about pain management using drugs – please see our main section on Pain Management using the left hand navigation. This is a brief overview only.
Medicines for Fibromyalgia
You may need to take several different types of medicines for Fibromyalgia, including painkillers, antidepressants and medicines to help you sleep. Currently in the UK there are no drugs licensed for the treatment of FMS. However, in the US a few drugs have been approved by the FDA for the treatment of Fibromyalgia – namely Lyrica, Cymbalta, and Savella. We believe though that this is just the beginning.
If you have Fibromyalgia, you/your GP may attempt to treat the pain part of the illness with pain killing drugs. These may include:
·         Paracetamol
·         Codeine
·         Tramadol
·         Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) such as ibuprofen
·         Other stronger Opiod based painkillers may be prescribed in rarer cases
Antidepressant medicines for Fibromyalgia are not prescribed specifically to treat depression. They are used to boost the levels of certain hormones, such as serotonin, noradrenaline and dopamine.
Antidepressants used to treat fibromyalgia include:
·         Tricyclic antidepressants (amitriptyline, nortriptyline and dosulepin)
·         Serotonin-norephinephrine reuptake inhibitors (venlafaxine and duloxetine)
·         Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (citalopram, fluoxetine and paroxetine)
Muscle relaxants and medicines to help you sleep
If you have stiffness or spasms as a result of Fibromyalgia, your GP or Consultant may prescribe a muscle relaxant to help ease your symptoms.
Muscle relaxants that are often used for Fibromyalgia include medicines called tizanidine and carisoprodol. Tricyclic antidepressants (see above) can also help to relax your muscles. Medicines to help you sleep are only likely to be administered to those with regular insomnia and for short time periods due to their addictive qualities.
Other Drugs
Drugs called pramipexole, and pregabalin have been recently studied in people with Fibromyalgia. These drugs are usually used for other conditions (pramipexole for Parkinson's disease, and pregabalin for nerve pain). So far, the studies looking into their effect on easing pain in people with Fibromyalgia have been promising. Further research is needed to clarify their role in Fibromyalgia and to study their long-term effects.
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