For people with fibromyalgia , medication for pain is an important element in controlling the disease. In addition to dealing with debilitating pain, medications can also help patients with fatigue, muscle spasms, and depression.
Before taking any new pain medication, it is important to talk with your health care provider to make sure it is safe for you and does not interfere with any other medication you are taking.
Here are seven of the most common medications used to treat fibromyalgia.
In addition to treating depression, antidepressants can also be used to help block pain signals in the brain. There are two antidepressant medications that have been approved by the FDA for the treatment of fibromyalgia: duloxetine (Cymbalta) and milnacipran (Savella). Patients may also be prescribed selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Prozac or Paxil or tricyclic antidepressants such as Pamelor and Elavil.
Antiepileptic drugs reduce the speed of nerve signals from muscles to the brain and help with muscle spasms and pain. Lyrica is the FDA approved medication for fibromyalgia, but doctors can also prescribe Neurotontin.
Benzodiazepines help improve sleep by slowing down the central nervous system and relaxing muscles. They are usually prescribed to help patients with anxiety and tension, usually caused by stress. Valium is the best known type of benzodiazepine.
These can also be used to help fibromyalgia patients sleep better by relaxing tense muscles. Flexeril and Cycloflex and muscle relaxants commonly prescribed.
Analgesics are analgesics that block the path of pain signals to the brain. Non-narcotic analgesics such as tramadol (Ultram) are not as strong or potentially addictive as narcotic analgesics.
Narcotic analgesics or opioids are used when all other medications have not treated the symptoms of fibromyalgia. They can be potentially addictive and, in general, are only prescribed for a short period. Oyxcodone (OxyContin) is a common opioid analgesic.
Over-the-counter pain relievers
In general, over-the-counter pain relievers are not particularly effective in treating pain related to fibromyalgia, but they can help when used in combination with other medications. You should consult your doctor before taking any over-the-counter medication.