Research has revealed that fibromyalgia drugs are only effective for 22 percent of patients. Twenty-one percent of patients taking medication for the debilitating syndrome have to stop due to unwanted side effects.
Fibromyalgia is a syndrome, most common in women, that is thought to cause long-term symptoms of pain and tenderness in soft tissues. Patients regularly report experiencing chronic muscle pain and fatigue which can lead to depression and insomnia.
As discussed by PubMed Health, the actual cause of Fibromyalgia is unknown, but it is thought to be triggered by trauma, illness, or emotional stress. Symptoms of pain can range from mild tenderness to severe debilitating pain.
Fibromyalgia is typically diagnosed by exploring a series of points including the chest, knees, and lower back for tenderness or pain. Three months or more of tenderness of pain in 11 of the 18 points is considered to indicate fibromyalgia. Blood tests can be performed to rule out other illness that may display similar symptoms.
Treatment for fibromyalgia focuses on symptom management. Stress relief, physical therapy, and a weight loss program can be combined with pain medication and mental health treatment to ease symptoms.
Unfortunately, according to research, fibromyalgia drugs are only effective in 22 percent of patients. Medications commonly used to treat the pain of fibromyalgia have been shown to cause unpleasant side effects. These side effects, as revealed in the review, have caused 21 percent of patients to quit taking the medication.
The study involved over 6,000 adults taking duloxetine and milnacipran, commonly sold as Cymbalta and Savella, or a placebo. The review, as reported by Science News, revealed that the medications commonly used to treat fibromyalgia are not helpful for many patients. Brian Walitt, M.D., M.P.H., who co-authored the review discusses the findings:
“The medical field does poorly with the treatment of fibromyalgia in general, chasing [a cure] with medicine doesn’t seem to work. The people who seem to me to do best sort of figure it out on their own by thinking about things, getting to know themselves, and making changes in their lives to accommodate who they’ve become.”
Patients suffering from fibromyalgia are encouraged to make lifestyle changes instead of, or in addition to, taking medication. As fibromyalgia drugs are only effective in 22 percent of patients, new methods of treatment for symptoms must be explored.