Treating Fibromyalgia

Today doctors have better insight into fibromyalgia, and are using many types of medications to treat its symptoms. Antidepressants, anticonvulsants, narcolepsy drugs, pain relievers, sleep aids - when used to treat fibromyalgia symptoms, these medications alter brain chemistry to help reduce pain, improve sleep, and ease anxiety or depression.

Medications licensed for Fibromyalgia

Cymbalta ( trade name Duloxetine ) is a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. It has been approved by the FDA for the management of fibromyalgia and has been demonstrated to help reduce pain and improve function. Cymbalta is available only by prescription and taken once a day is thought to lessen pain associated with fibromyalgia.


Pregabalin ( trade name Lyrica ), an anticonvulsant drug, was originally used for neuropathic pain and adjunct therapy for partial seizures. It was designed as a more potent successor to Gabapentin.

Recent studies have shown that Pregabalin is effective at treating chronic pain in disorders such as fibromyalgia.

Lyrica capsules are indicated for management of fibromyalgia and specific symptoms such as problems sleeping and fatigue. It is unknown exactly how LYRICA works in the body. 


In 2009 Milnacipran ( trade name Savella ) a new SNRI 

( serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor ) became the third medication to be approved by the US. In the clinical studies, Savella helped relieve the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Some patients who experienced overall improvement with Savella also experienced pain reductions one week after they reached a stable dose. In clinical studies that compared Savella to placebo, patients who took Savella experienced the following benefits: Pain reduction; Overall fibromyalgia improvement; and improved physical function.

Other Medicines for Fibromyalgia

Patients may need to take several types of medicines for Fibromyalgia, including painkillers, antidepressants and medicines to help sleep. Currently in the UK there are no drugs licensed for the treatment of FMS. However, in the US a few drugs have been approved by the FDA for the treatment of Fibromyalgia- as named above. We  believe though that this is just the beginning.


GP's may use:

. Paracetamol

. Codeine

. Tramadol

. Other stronger Opiod based painkillers may be prescribed


Antidepressants used to treat fibromyalgia include:

. Tricyclic

. Serotonin-norephinephrine reuptake inhibitors 

  ( venlafaxine and duloxetine )

. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors ( citalopram, fluoxetine and paroxetine )

Muscle relaxants and medicines to help sleep

Muscle relaxants that are often used for Fibromyalgia include medicines called Tizanidine and Carisoprodal. Tricyclic antidepressants ( already mentioned ) can also help relax muscles. Medicines to help with sleep are only likely to be administered to those with regular insomnia and for short time periods due to their addictive qualities.