Treatment - What Is Fibromyalgia?


Which Fibromyalgia Treatment is the Most Common?

I shall try to keep this brief.  But really, there is rather a large number of  methods of fibromyalgia treatment.  In fact, every man and his dog appears to think they have the answer to the problem of fibromyalgia.  Particularly where money is involved, you will notice.

But, believe it or not, these treatments all work. 

For somebody, that is.

The difficulty is that somebody will probably not be you.

There are so many assumptions made about the causes and effects of fibromyalgia that the range of potential cures just grows and grows.  With such a wide spectrum of explanations for the condition every branch of medicine has got scope for staking a claim.

Fibromyalgia treatments - Picture of medical equipment

Fibromyalgia Treatment
Image courtesy of Baitong333 /

And inevitably they do.  Here are some of the main approaches:

  • conventional pain killing medications ranging from Aspirin and Paracetamol to Codeine, Tramadol, Oxycodone and in some cases, Morphine. These are sometimes prescribed in slow release format to give a continuous dose.
  • pain control patches can be stuck on the skin;  examples are Butrans patches or Fentanyl – both of which I have tried with mixed results but they can be hard to tolerate long-term
  • anti-epilepsy medications like Neurontin, Gabapentin and Lyrica
  • Substance P Antagonists   – substance P is a neurotransmitter that increases pain and it has been shown that fibromyalgia patients have more of it.  Ways of reducing it is an area of  considerable interest but is too early to comment on the success (or lack of it)  due to theses drugs
  • anti- depressant medications
    • tricyclic antidepressants – the most popular is  Amitryptyline, which raises levels of serotonin and noradrenaline and is one of the most popular fibromyagia treatments
    • serotonin-noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors – such as Duloxetine, which raise levels of serotonin and noradrenaline
    • selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)– such as Fluoxetine and Paroxetine, which increase levels of serotonin
  • anti-inflammatory treatments (NSAIDS) may be topical or oral such as Voltarol,  Indocid,  Arcoxia and  Celebrex
  • dopamine receptor agonists such as Pramipexole and Tropisetron sometimes used for sufferers of Parkinson’s disease although bad side-effects mean they are tried less often than many of the other options.  Low Dopamine levels are linked with attention deficit disorder and restless leg syndrome as well as many symptoms common to fibromyalgia like aching muscles, trouble concentrating, etc.
  • muscle relaxants for example Robaxin, Valium (diazepam) or Temazepam
  • Antipsychotics in some cases
  • Opioid Antagonists in paticular LDN (or Low Dose Naltrexone) has build up quite a lot of enthusiasm amomg some groups of sufferers although it is not available everywhere and is stilll generally unproven

This is an excellent  (and pretty exhaustive) resource for fibromyalgia treatments.  

Many of the trade names of the drugs will vary depending on where you are in the world but the above is a fair reflection of what is available. I have tried most of these at some time, so it is hardly surprising I suffer from that other fibromyalgia symptom – reduced tolerance to medications.

Anyway, those are some of the conventional approaches but there is also the rest…

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