There are several approaches to relieving the symptoms of fibromyalgia. In addition to taking certain medications, getting enough sleep, exercising, making changes at work, and eating right can all help you feel better. Although these things will not cure the disorder, they may still be able to provide at least a fair amount of relief.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition, meaning it lasts a long time -- possibly a lifetime. However, fibromyalgia is not a progressive disorder, meaning it does not get worse over time. It is never fatal, and it won't cause damage to your joints, muscles, or internal organs. In many people, the condition does improve over time.
There are a variety of methods to improve your symptoms and provide at least a fair amount of relief.
At present, there are three medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) specifically for treating fibromyalgia. This includes pregabalin (Lyrica®), duloxetine (Cymbalta®), and Savella™ (milnacipran hydrochloride). In clinical studies, these medicines were shown to reduce pain and improve function in people with fibromyalgia.
Healthcare providers may also treat fibromyalgia with a variety of medications developed and approved for other purposes. Using these medicines for the treatment of fibromyalgia is known as using them for an "off-label" purpose. While these medicines have not been licensed to treat fibromyalgia, a number of studies have shown how they can provide benefits to people with the condition.
The following categories of drugs represent some of the most commonly used medicines for the treatment of fibromyalgia:
- Pain relievers (analgesics)
- Antiseizure medicines, such as Lyrica
- A select group of other medications used to treat specific symptoms.
(Click Fibromyalgia Medications for more information on these specific types of medications.)