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Fibromyalgia Medications

Clip Number: 4 of 5
Presentation: Fibromyalgia
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Reviewed By: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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Medications are often recommended as a treatment for fibromyalgia. These medicines are often separated into different classes based on how they work. They include:
• Pain relievers
• Antidepressants
• Antiseizure medicines
• Muscle relaxants
• and benzodiazepines
Within these classes, a few drugs have been approved specifically for the treatment of fibromyalgia, including serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (or SNRIs) and pregabalin. These drugs are believed to work by correcting the levels of certain chemicals, called neurotransmitters, from the spaces where communication between brain cells occurs. Neurotransmitters help brain cells relay messages to each other, and the right amount of neurotransmitters is needed for normal brain function. After neurotransmitters relay their message, they return to their "home" brain cell through a process called "reuptake."
In people with fibromyalgia, there may not be enough of certain types of neurotransmitters, primarily serotonin and norepinephrine. SNRIs increase the availability of both serotonin and norepinephrine by blocking their reuptake. This means that more of each neurotransmitter is left in between the nerve cells to relay messages, thereby fixing the imbalance.
Another drug, pregabalin, though not yet fully understood, is thought to work in a different way. By modifying the release of neurotransmitters, pregabalin may work to calm overactive nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.
When the levels of neurotransmitters are corrected, fibromyalgia symptoms often improve.

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