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When it comes to your fibromyalgia, supplements may have some limited benefits but standard medication is still the way to go. I will present common medications that are used for fibromyalgia and if they are things we should be actually be taking.

Fibromyalgia is a common disease in society and can be seen in up to 16 percent of patients [1]. In most cases, patients will experience a triad of symptoms ranging from chronic pain, unrelenting fatigue and depression [2]. When physicians treat these nonspecific symptoms, they utilize a tandem of medications to treat pain, low energy and the mood disorders linked with fibromyalgia. Various supplements for fibromyalgia are available that can improve these symptoms. In previous articles, I have explained how supplements like 5-HTP and melatonin can bring better sleep and help with fibromyalgia pain relief, herbs like St. John's wort and Chlorella can treat yourdepression and even NADH to improve your energy levels. Supplements do have their place in treatment, but medications that are FDA-approved and tested are a good place to start when it comes to trying to overcome your fibromyalgia. In this article, I will explain the medical management of fibromyalgia and the drugs your doctor might prescribe if you have fibromyalgia. 

Bring on the Painkillers

When it comes to the chronic pain that is linked with fibromyalgia, many patients will rely on some type of pain-killer to offset this disability. You may think this is the gold-standard of therapy because fibromyalgia is a disease of chronic pain, right? A few Tylenol pills or Advils a day may bring you slight relief but this is not medically recommended. 

In numerous studies testing the effectiveness of various non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), the results were shocking. Whether it was Tylenol, Celebrex or naproxen, patients found absolutely no relief in pain reduction when compared to the placebo [3]. 

Not only are NSAIDs not effective at finding fibromyalgia pain relief, but they also have adverse effects that are associated with chronic consumption. There is an increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding, they also are damaging to your kidneys and have been reported to be a cause of peptic ulcers. [4]

Savella  

When considering treatment options for fibromyalgia, there are only a few drugs on the market that are approved by the FDA as a monotherapy to bring fibromyalgia pain relief. 

Savella is a drug that should be incorporated into the medical fibromyalgia management. Savella is a medication that blocks the reuptake of not only norepinephrine but also serotonin, two chemicals that are thought to be at the root of what causes your fibromyalgic pain [5]. 

After a patient takes this medication, the effects are noticed as soon as the first 2 hours after ingestion. Unlike most other medications on the market to treat fibromyalgia, it also has a very low first-pass metabolism of the drug. Over 90 percent of the medication will be activated after passing through the acidic environment of the stomach so the therapeutic effect can be more significant. [6]

When compared to duloxetine, another monotherapy that patients can use when they suffer from fibromyalgia, studies show that patients tended to respond better to pain. In a pilot study of 107 patients, patients first took duloxetine and then switched to Savella to see if the effect was similar. At the conclusion of the study, patients noted a 33 percent reduction in pain levels compared to what they felt with duloxetine. Patients also reported fewer side effects and tolerated the medication better. [7]

Pregabalin 

In previous articles, I have proposed many supplements for fibromyalgia that can be used to help manage your pain. L-carnithine is one of the most promising supplements to bring fibromyalgia pain relief but it is not as potent as other compounds on the market. Pregabalin is one of the drugs your doctor might prescribe if you have fibromyalgia. Pregabalin is a medication that targets the pain and the discomfort that accompanies fibromyalgia. 

In one particular study, 529 patients were giving varying dosages of pregabalin for 8 weeks. Factors like pain level, sleep, fatigue, and quality of life were analyzed as parameters of interest in this study. At the conclusion of the investigation, it was determined that pregabalin administered at 450 milligrams per day resulted in the most significant improvements. At this dose, patients self-reported that their pain had reduced by more than half in 30 percent of cases, had a better sleep, improved energy and a higher quality of life overall. Milder doses at 300 milligrams per day resulted in improved sleep quality as well [8].  

As you can see from these investigations, patients with fibromyalgia can benefit from standard medical therapies like Savella and pregabalin to manage their symptoms. Patients should be mindful of drugs like NSAIDs because of their inability to find pain-relief and because of their toxic effect on the kidneys and the liver.  

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