What Are the Treatments for Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia causes pain, soreness, and fatigue, often in the joints and muscles. 

Some people who have it have other symptoms, too, like sleep problems, headaches, digestive issues, mood issues, sensitivity to light or sound, and memory loss.

Doctors aren’t sure what causes it, and there’s no cure, but your doctor can help you manage your symptoms with medication, exercise, and lifestyle changes.

Medicine

If you have fibromyalgia, your doctor may give you pain relievers, antidepressants, muscle relaxers, or drugs that help you sleep, depending on your symptoms.

The FDA has approved three prescription medications to help treat fibromyalgia pain:

  • Pregabalin (Lyrica) was first used to treat seizures and nerve pain linked to diabetes. It affects nerve cells that help send pain signals. But it can cause side effects like sleepiness, dizziness, blurred vision, and trouble concentrating. It also may lead to weight gain, swelling in your hands and feet, and dry mouth. A small number of people have an allergic reaction to it.
  • Duloxetine hydrochloride (Cymbalta) is an antidepressant that’s also been used to treat diabetic nerve pain. Its side effects include sleepiness, dry mouth, and sweating, as well as nausea, constipation, and a lack of appetite. In some people, it also can lead to suicidal thoughts and actions.
  • Milnacipran (Savella) is the first drug designed specifically for fibromyalgia treatment. It affects brain chemicals linked to pain. It can cause things like nausea, constipation, dry mouth, dizziness, and sleep trouble for some people. It also may raise your heart rate or blood pressure.

Some other drugs used to treat depression or other conditions may also help with fibromyalgia symptoms. Ask your doctor if any of those might work for you.

Over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen, naproxen, or acetaminophen may help ease some of the pain. But doctors don’t recommend opioid painkillers, like oxycodone or hydrocodone, for fibromyalgia. These powerful medications don’t work as well for that condition as they do for other problems, and there’s a chance you might start to depend on them.

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