In the addition of the recent good news about anti-depressants being beneficial to fibromyalgia patients, the FDA has approved another medication specifically targeted to treat pain, function, and overall well-being in people suffering from this disorder.

Savella, as the drug is named, is a product of Forest Laboratories, Inc. and Cypress Bioscience, Inc. FDA approved the drug based on two clinical trials that included 2,084 fibromyalgia patients, who took either Savella or a placebo for a period of three months or six months.

Savella belongs to a class of drugs called serotonin or norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). The group does include some antidepressants and is believed it may affect abnormalities in certain brain neurotransmitters. Although the exact mechanism of the drug’s work is not known, the manufacturers believe their product is superior to other drugs treating fibromyalgia due to the fact that is was approved for treating pain, function, and overall well-being.

The study patients who were taking Savella saw at least a 30 % improvement and reduction in pain rating their experience as “very much improved” or “much improved”.

The drug’s manufacturers reported that the drug was safe and generally well tolerated with nausea as the most common side effect in the clinical trials. Other adverse reactions included constipation, hot flush, sweating, vomiting, palpitations, increased heart rate, dry mouth, and high blood pressure.

Savella will have the same “black box” warning as antidepressants about the increased risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in children, adolescents, and young adults. Currently it is only approved for adults.

The drug is expected to be available for prescription in March and if it repeats the results from the trials, Savella may bring relief to at least some of the 6 million in the United States who suffer from fibromyalgia.