Joining a fibromyalgia support group can be excellent psychological and emotional therapy. However, talking and sharing your experiences with others is not likely to take away any of the painful physical symptoms or fatigue you feel. Therefore, many fibromyalgia sufferers need to turn to alternative and medical remedies to find relief from their symptoms.
There are different over-the-counter (OTC) and prescribed medications that a fibromyalgia sufferer may find beneficial to their condition. That being said, not every person with fibromyalgia will have the same response to medical treatment, and may require different treatment to address their specific symptoms.
Although there are a number of medications that can be prescribed for specific symptoms, or those currently being used in clinical trials, the following are the most common medical treatments prescribed:
Analgesics - Analgesics are drugs designed to relieve bodily aches and pains and are also known as painkillers. OTC analgesics include Acetaminophen and the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. Although NSAIDs are primarily used to reduce inflammation and inflammation is not a symptom of fibromyalgia, they offer effective pain relief. The problem with using NSAIDs for pain relief is that prolonged use of this medication can irritate the stomach lining, lead to digestive upset and cause stomach ulcers.
Aside from OTC analgesics, doctors may prescribe opioid analgesics such as Tramadol. Tramadol is a narcotic used to treat moderate to severe pain, and is typically used to treat surgical, arthritic and fibromyalgia pain. However, other stronger narcotics may be prescribed for sufferers with severe muscle pain.
The problem doctors have with prescribing narcotics is that although effective, there is a high risk that those who take them will become addicted and dependent on these drugs. Furthermore, narcotics can have many side effects including altering moods, behaviors and fatigue.
Antidepressants are one of the most common medications prescribed for fibromyalgia sufferers. This is because antidepressants elevate the levels of specific brain chemicals such as norepinephrine and serotonin. Low levels of these and other brain chemicals can result in depression, pain and fatigue. By increasing chemical levels these symptoms can be improved.
Doctors provide different types of antidepressants to fibromyalgia sufferers based on how they feel. For instance, tricyclic antidepressants are provided to fibromyalgia patients who suffer from insomnia, as these meds help restore sleep. In addition, tricyclic antidepressants can help painful muscles relax and stimulate endorphins (body's natural painkillers). Different tricyclic antidepressants that may be prescribed include: amitriptyline, doxepin, cyclobenzaprine and nortriptyline.
Additional antidepressant that may be used to treat depression and other fibromyalgia syptoms are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These include - fluoxetine, sertraline and paroxetine.
Antidepressants can be habit forming and may cause side effects such as dry mouth, weight gain, anxiety, gastrointestinal upset, loss of libido, insomnia, and fatigue. Note: each antidepressant will have different side effects.
Benzodiazepines are psychotropic drugs that have been known to help fibromyalgia sufferers relax tense and painful muscles, and with restless legs syndrome, and insomnia. Benzodiazepines have hypnotic and sedative effects, and like antidepressants, dependence and addiction can occur in some patients. Other side effects may include depression, memory impairment, slow motor skills, etc.
Benzodiazepines are usually prescribed to fibromyalgia sufferers who have not responded well to other treatments. Some Benzodiazepines meds prescribed include: diazepam, temazepman, clonazepam, and triazolam.
Despite what medication you may be interested in or your doctor may recommend, you need to make sure you ask your doctor important questions before taking any medication so you can receive the most effective treatment that is right for you.
6 important questions to ask your doctor
1. What are the medications you recommend for my specific symptoms?
2. What side effects can I expect and will this medication have negative interactions with other medications, foods or activities?
3. Should I continue taking medications even if I feel better?
4. What are the long-term effects this medication will have on my health?
5. Can I take any alternative therapies with this medication, or are there any alternative therapies I can try which might provide me with relief for my symptoms?
6. Are there any clinical trials I may be eligible for?
By Jane Thompson. Sign up for a free newsletter & discover proven natural methods to help you combat the pain and frustration of Fibromyalgia. On the site you'll also find more about the different fibromyalgia symptoms.