Video Q & A:

Fibro Medications


How is fibromyalgia treated?

Expert:   Harry D. Fischer, MD, Chief of Rheumatology, Beth Israel Medical Center New York »

To treat fibromyalgia, a patient needs a variety of therapies, both drug and non-drug in their arsenal. Take a look at this video to learn more.

Transcript: Fibromyalgia patients need a variety of treatments and therapies to manage their condition and their PAIN. Let’s talk about medication first, followed by NON-drug therapies and techniques. Fibromyalgia patients may use painkillers to relieve their aches. Although fibromyalgia isn’t caused by any sort of inflammation, NSAIDs, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, are taken for their pain-relief component. Ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen are all NSAIDs. Acetaminophen, or Tylenol, is also an over-the-counter option. Sometimes, doctors will prescribe a stronger painkiller, although this is rare. There are THREE drugs specifically approved by the Food & Drug Administration for use against fibromyalgia symptoms. The FIRST, pregabalin, was originally developed to treat pain caused by nervous system damage. The SECOND to be approved, duloxetine, is used as both an anti-depressant and to treat nerve pain associated with fibromyalgia. Milnacipran a dual serotonin‐norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, is ONLY approved for fibro treatment. All three of these drugs lessen pain and improve function. Doctors sometimes prescribe other anti-depressants to treat fibromyalgia-- they can relax a patient’s muscles, encourage sleep and may even reduce pain. These aren’t the ONLY med options -- each person with fibromyalgia has a drug therapy plan tailored to their distinctive symptoms and complications. A successful fibromyalgia treatment plan should include NON-drug therapies as well as medications. People with fibromyalgia should make an effort to EXERCISE. A physical therapist can demonstrate the best exercises that will stretch muscles and REDUCE stress. Many patients experience a REDUCTION in symptoms by following a consistent fitness routine. Fibro patients should engage in relaxation exercises, such as massage, yoga, meditation, breathing techniques and even acupuncture. And sometimes, patients find it helpful to meet with a psychotherapist to learn how to deal with stress mentally and emotionally. In general, people with fibromyalgia should adopt a healthy lifestyle. Sufficient sleep, a well-balanced diet, enjoyable activities and emotional support are ALL key in fibromyalgia management. Watch additional videos in this series for more answers to your fibromyalgia questions. More »

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