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Fibromyalgia Treatments

 

Generally speaking, treating this disease can be as "fuzzy" as diagnosing it. The symptoms are so varied that trying to treat fibromyalgia using the same method for every individual is extremely difficult. 

Your first line of defense against the pain of this disease lies in analgesics. Specifically, acetaminophen as found in Tylenol may help 

to alleviate some of the pain at least in some individuals. Others find it remarkably ineffective. If that's the case for you, your doctor may prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs commonly referred to as NSAIDs. These may include something as simple as aspirin or ibuprofen or even naproxen sodium which goes under the brand name of Aleve and Anaprox. The sad part is that analgesics alone don't seem to help much. This line of treatment is most effective when combined with other treatment.

Your physician may also prescribe antidepressants. This may include amitriptyline, nortriptyline or doxepin to help you sleep. Fluoxetine sold as Prozac has been used in combination with amitriptyline has been effective in controlling symptoms. Additionally, it has been noted that Sertraline (Zoloft) and paroxetine (Paxil) may also help for depression.

Your physician may also prescribe muscle relaxant medication. The drug cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril) prior to going to bed seems to help reduce the muscle pain and the spasms. These relaxants, though, normally aren't recommended for use for long periods of time.

Another medication that may be prescribed for you is a pregabalin, which goes under the brand name of Lyrical. It's an anti-seizure medication and appears to not only reduce the pain associated with fibromyalgia, but also helps people to deal with the details of their life more effectively. This is the first drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat fibromyalgia specifically. 

Clinical trials have shown that pregabalin is quite effective at reducing the symptoms of this disease. In one study nearly half of the participants who took the medication realized a substantial improvement in their symptoms. (Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fibromyalgia/DS00079/DSECTION=8)


Side effects of pregabalin include dry mouth, swelling of the feet and hands, drowsiness, as well as difficulty concentrating, blurred vision, weight gain and dizziness.

Your doctor, additionally, may prescribe sleeping pills. However, you want to be careful in using these. They really aren't suitable for long-term use. Your body eventually gets adjusted and even immune to these medications and they simply lose their effectiveness. Besides, using sleeping pills for any length of time usually only triggers more problems with sleep in many individuals.

The one class of medications physicians try to avoid prescribing is that of narcotics because of their powerful addicting potential. Corticosteroids aren't usually prescribed either. These drugs just don't seem to provide any long-term benefits.

 

Note: Some statements in this article may not be approved by the FDA. This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as professional medical advice.

 

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Greg Cryns
The Compleat Mother Magazine
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