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Fibromyalgia Medications

Approved Fibromyalgia Medicines

Currently, three medications are approved for treating fibromyalgia. The approval of these medications represents a major step in the medical community's acceptance of fibromyalgia as a real, serious medical condition.
In June 2007, pregabalin (Lyrica) was approved by the FDA for treating fibromyalgia in adults. Lyrica was already approved to treat seizures, as well as pain from damaged nerves that can happen in people with diabetes (diabetic neuropathy) and in those who develop pain (postherpetic neuralgia) following the shingles rash.
In previous clinical studies, Lyrica was shown to reduce pain and improve daily function in some people with fibromyalgia. These studies also demonstrated that fibromyalgia symptoms worsened when Lyrica was withdrawn. Some of the most common Lyrica side effects include:
  • Dizziness and sleepiness
  • Blurry vision
  • Weight gain
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Swelling of the hands and feet
  • Dry mouth.
Allergic reactions can also occur. While rare, these are potentially serious and require immediate medical attention.
Two other medicines, duloxetine (Cymbalta) and Savella (milnacipran hydrochloride), have also been approved for the treatment of fibromyalgia. Cymbalta is a selective serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) antidepressant that is also approved to treat depression, generalized anxiety, and diabetic nerve pain. Studies indicate that Cymbalta can help reduce fibromyalgia pain. This drug was more effective than a placebo (a "sugar pill") for relieving pain, even in people who did not have depression along with fibromyalgia, although it was most effective in people who had depression.

Savella is also an SNRI. Studies have shown that Savella can significantly reduce pain and improve physical functioning in people with fibromyalgia, compared to a placebo (a "sugar pill" with no active ingredients). In clinical studies, some people experienced significant pain relief as early as the first week of taking Savella.
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