Types of Medications to Treat FMS
Trying to Treat the Symptoms
Treating fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a tricky business at best since FMS presents with so many symptoms. There is no single treatment that helps the condition and none have been created to deal specifically with fibromyalgia. A variety of disciplines and medications are usually the fare for helping sufferers of this painful syndrome. Prescription medicines are important in the treatment of FMS and the many studies that have been published verify the benefits of their use in treatment. Because of the evidence-based studies, doctors can prescribe these medications off-label for their patients.
Categories of Medications Used for FMS
There are several categories of medications that have been shown to be of great benefit to FMS patients, helping to relieve pain, improve sleep, increase energy and enhance mood. You can read about many of them here, in this section. The categories are:
· Anti-inflammatory medicines
· Antidepressant medicines
· Muscle relaxants
· Sleep modifiers
· Anti-anxiety medications
· Medications to treat chronic pain
Analgesics are pain killers and this heading includes over-the-counter medicines such as aspirin and acetaminophen as well as prescription strength drugs like opiates. You can read about OTCs and opiates, such as COAT, in this section. Although pain medications do not change the condition of fibromyalgia, they do blunt the pain by blocking pain pathways. Narcotics do have potentially adverse side effects and they also have the potential for opioid misuse and abuse. Learn more about the controversy about opioid use in the articles in this section.
Although FMS is not an inflammatory condition, sometimes NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories) and corticosteroids such as prednisone are used because they are both anti-inflammatory and analgesic. In our article entitled New Medicines for FMS, you can read about Cox-ll inhibitors, an anti-inflammatory that has fewer side effects to the stomach lining and the kidneys.
Antidepressant medications are used frequently to treat pain, improve sleep and mood disturbances and of course, treat depression. Their value lies in the multifaceted applications in which they can be used. Learn more about the various antidepressants used to treat fibromyalgia by checking the following articles in this section:
· Tricyclic anti-depressants
· Antidepressant Therapy
· Choosing Antidepressants
· Neurotransmitters and Fibro
Tricyclics, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and selective serotonin and norepinephine dual reuptake inhibitors (SSNRIs) can be very effective in the treatment of fibromyalgia. See the articles on Savella to learn more about the effectiveness of these types of drugs. Selective reuptake inhibitors have been found to work well for depression as you can see in Neurotransmitters and Fibro. Since fibromyalgia seems to be a central nervous system disorder, SSRIs tend to work quite well in treating many of the symptoms.
Muscle relaxants are effective in reducing pain in people with fibromyalgia and, although they may not really cause the muscles to relax, the medications seem to reduce pain through a central neurological mechanism. Muscle spasms are a painful constant for FMS sufferers, and finding medications that relax the muscles enough to stop the spasms is very important.
One of the major issues for those with fibromyalgia is sleep problems. Most sufferers would give their right arm for a good night’s sleep. There are various medications that treat insomnia and improve sleep. Most of the medications already mentioned have a positive effect on sleep, either by reducing pain enough to allow for sleep, or by making the taker groggy enough to fall into a sleep, albeit, drug induced. In Benzodiazepines and also in Sleeping Pills you can read about both sides of sleeping pill usage. Benzodiazepines also treat anxiety, which is another common symptom of fibromyalgia.
Anticonvulsants for Neuropathic Pain
Anticonvulsant medications, as unlikely as it may seem, have been shown to be helpful in treating pain, particularly neuropathic pain such as the electric shock pain of fibromyalgia. Learn about gabapentin and pregabalin for treating neuropathic pain here as well.
There are several other medications that are used to treat fibromyalgia, including cough medication. This section is devoted to bringing you the most current information on prescription and over-the-counter medications that can be effective in the treatment of fibromyalgia. By working together with your pain specialist, you will be able to come up with a protocol that works best for your individual needs.
Become educated about the various medications and learn how they can help, what their side effects are, and how you can use them to feel better.