Most people who suffer from Fibromaygia will agree that the chronic condition comes with a variety of symptoms, such as pain, depression, and trouble sleeping. Because of varying symptoms, a patient may be taking several different medications to treat each one.
Pain. Widespread pain is the most common symptom of Fibromyalgia, and is often described as a deep, nagging muscle ache. The pain is thought to be caused by over-active nerves. Lyrica (Pregabalin), FDA approved in 2007 to treat Fibromalygia, and Neurontin (Gabapentin) are both anticonvulsants used to calm the excited nerves.
Severe Fibromyalgia pain is often treated with Ultram (Tramadol), which is an opiate, and must be prescribed by a doctor. Ultram can become addictive and can also cause certain side effects, such as drowsiness and constipation.
Muscle relaxants, like Flexeril (Cyclobenzaprine) and Skelactin (Metaxalone), block pain sensations to the brain, relieving musculoskeletal pain. However, side effects like drowsiness and upset stomach can occur with these drugs.
Depression. A condition that often goes along with chronic pain and fatigue is depression. Fibromyalgia patients are generally deficient in serotonin, a brain chemical, and norepinephrine, a stress hormone. Cymbalta (Duoxetene) received FDA approval in June 2008 to treat Fibromyalgia. Cymbalta is classified as a SNRI, or serotonin-nor epinephrine reuptake inhibitor. Although Cymbalta is an antidepressant, it has also been shown to relieve pain in women by making more of those neurotransmitters available to the brain.
Zoloft (Sertraline) and Prozac (Fluoxetene) are two more commonly prescribed drugs in a wide selection of available antidepressants.
NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) are an over-the-counter option for pain relief. Advil, Motrin, and Aleve are examples of NSAIDS. A prescription is not required, therefore, saving patients money.
Sleep disturbances. Problems with sleep plague a large percentage of Fibromyalgia sufferers. Whether it’s falling asleep or staying asleep, either can be frustrating, leaving a person with less energy, less ability to concentrate, and a number of other potential health issues. There are many sleep medications available, like Lunesta (Eszppiclone), Ativan (Lorazepam) and Ambien (Zolpidem), but they do carry the risk of addiction, and should only be used on a temporary basis.
Other Available Treatments
For those seeking less traditional treatment, consider alternative medicine. Some patients opt for this type of treatment because no pharmaceuticals or surgeries are involved. This means fewer side effects. Alternative treatments may include reflexology, herbal medications, and massage therapy. As always, discuss these options with your doctor.