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Fibro Medications

Question:

How do antidepressants relieve pain?

Expert:   Betty Keller, MD, FACR, Board Certified Internal Medicine & Rheumatology »

It may come as a bit of a surprise, but yes, certain anti-depressants can help ease your fibromyalgia pain. Find out how!

Transcript: It may come as a bit of a surprise, but yes, certain anti-depressants can help ease your fibromyalgia pain, since they affect brain pathways that regulate both mood and pain perception. Two anti-depressants have been FDA-approved to treat the pain of fibromyalgia. They are Savella -- or milnacipran -- and Cymbalta, or duloxetine.They are both serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors -- or SNRIs-- and can increase levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. This can suppress the transmission of pain signals and leads to overall pain reduction.Elavil (amitryptline) is a tricyclic antidepressant that is used sometimes, although it is not specifically FDA approved for fibromyalgia. It has been found to be effective in restoring sleep and reducing pain when given in low doses at bedtime. It also works by inhibiting both serotonin and norepinephrine re-uptake. Although it is effective for some patients, others cannot tolerate the side effects including dry mouth and early morning fatigue. Antidepressants can be effective treatments for fibromyalgia symptoms, but they do have side effects, including drowsiness, lowered blood pressure, diminished sexual function and in rare cases increased thoughts and feelings of suicide. If your doctor does place you on an antidepressant or another medication to manage your pain, be sure to discuss the treatment plan in detail, as well as all side effects. More »

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