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Fibromyalgia Medications

Antidepressants

Perhaps the most useful medications for fibromyalgia include several in the antidepressant class. Antidepressants elevate the levels of certain chemicals in the brain, including serotonin and norepinephrine (which was formerly called adrenaline). Low levels of these chemicals are associated not only with depression, but also with pain and fatigue. Increasing the levels of these chemicals can reduce pain in people who have fibromyalgia. Healthcare providers prescribe several types of antidepressants to treat fibromyalgia, including:
 
Tricyclic Antidepressants
When taken at bedtime in dosages lower than those used to treat depression, tricyclic antidepressants can help promote restorative sleep in people with fibromyalgia. They also can relax painful muscles and heighten the effects of the body's natural pain-killing substances called endorphins.
 
Tricyclic antidepressants have been around for almost half a century. Some examples of tricyclics used as fibromyalgia medications include:
 
 

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

If a tricyclic antidepressant fails to bring relief, a healthcare provider will sometimes prescribe a newer type of antidepressant called a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). As with tricyclics, healthcare providers usually prescribe these for people with fibromyalgia in lower dosages than are used to treat depression. By promoting the release of serotonin, these drugs may reduce fatigue and other symptoms associated with fibromyalgia.
 
Some examples of SSRIs used to treat fibromyalgia include:
  
 
SSRIs may be prescribed along with a tricyclic antidepressant. Healthcare providers rarely prescribe SSRIs alone. Since SSRIs make people feel more energetic, they also interfere with sleep, which often is already a problem for people with fibromyalgia. In previous studies, a combination therapy of the tricyclic amitriptyline and the SSRI fluoxetine resulted in greater improvements in the study participants' fibromyalgia symptoms than when either drug was used alone.
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