Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.

Symptoms sometimes begin after a physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event.

Women are much more likely to develop fibromyalgia than are men. Many people who have fibromyalgia also have tension headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety and depression.

While there is no cure for fibromyalgia, a variety of medications can help control symptoms. Exercise, relaxation and stress-reduction measures also may help.

In general, treatments for fibromyalgia include both medication and self-care. The emphasis is on minimizing symptoms and improving general health. No one treatment works for all symptoms.

Medications

Medications can help reduce the pain of fibromyalgia and improve sleep. Common choices include:

  • Pain relievers. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or naproxen sodium (Aleve, others) may be helpful. Your doctor might suggest a prescription pain reliever such as tramadol (Ultram, Conzip). Narcotics are not advised, because they can lead to dependence and may even worsen the pain over time.
  • Antidepressants. Duloxetine (Cymbalta) and milnacipran (Savella) may help ease the pain and fatigue associated with fibromyalgia. Your doctor may prescribe amitriptyline at night to help promote sleep.
  • Anti-seizure drugs. Medications designed to treat epilepsy are often useful in reducing certain types of pain. Gabapentin (Neurontin, Gralise) is sometimes helpful in reducing fibromyalgia symptoms, while pregabalin (Lyrica) was the first drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat fibromyalgia.

Therapy

Talking with a counselor can help strengthen your belief in your abilities and teach you strategies for dealing with stressful situations.

Drugs associated with Fibromyalgia

drugs-associated-with-fibromyalgia

What can Gabapentin be Used For ?

Neurontin is the trade name for the generic drug gabapentin. It is useful as an anti-epileptic drug and as an analgesic, particularly for pain of the neuropathic or neurogenic type. (pain from irritation or inflammation of nerves). When used for controlling epilepsy, it is usually used in conjunction with another anti-epileptic drug. It is used much more extensively in the medical field to treat pain than it is to treat epilepsy.

Gabapentin belongs to a class of drugs known as anticonvulsants, used to help control seizures in the treatment of epilepsy. Neurontin will only be able to control seizures for as long as you take it. It can’t cure epilepsy. Gabapentin capsules, tablets, and oral solution are used to help control certain types of seizures in people who have epilepsy.

Gabapentin capsules, tablets, and oral solution are also used to relieve the pain of postherpetic neuralgia (PHN; the burning, stabbing pain or aches that may last for months or years after an attack of shingles). Gabapentin extended-release tablets (Horizant) are used to treat restless legs syndrome (RLS; a condition that causes discomfort in the legs and a strong urge to move the legs, especially at night and when sitting or lying down). Gabapentin is in a class of medications called anticonvulsants. It has also been reported to be helpful in controlling the pain of fibromyalgia.

Gabapentin treats seizures by decreasing abnormal excitement in the brain. Gabapentin relieves the pain of PHN by changing the way the body senses pain. It is not known exactly how gabapentin works to treat restless legs syndrome.

gabapentin800mgtabGabapentin is also sometimes used to relieve the pain of diabetic neuropathy (numbness or tingling due to nerve damage in people who have diabetes), and to treat and prevent hot flashes (sudden strong feelings of heat and sweating) in women who are being treated for breast cancer or who have experienced menopause (”change of life”, the end of monthly menstrual periods). Talk to your doctor about the risks of using this medication for your condition.

Pregabalin (Lyrica), a drug similar to gabapentin, was the first medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat fibromyalgia. While gabapentin hasn’t been approved by the FDA for the treatment of fibromyalgia, some doctors may prescribe it off-label for such use.

Gabapentin and pregabalin were originally approved to treat certain types of epilepsy and nerve pain. Both drugs work by limiting the release of pain-communicating chemicals by nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. The most common side effects of both drugs are dizziness and drowsiness.

It is also used to control pain associated with shingles and has been evaluated for pain conditions, including migraine, as its pain-modulating properties may regulate the perception of pain.

Anticonvulsant drugs, such as gabapentin, are becoming increasingly popular for migraine prevention.

Efficacy of gabapentin in migraine prophylaxis research on a history of migraine episodes for a mean of about 21 years shows that Gabapentin is an effective prophylactic agent for patients with migraine. In addition, gabapentin appears generally well tolerated with mild to moderate somnolence and dizziness.

Gabapentin is generally well tolerated. The main side effects are dizziness and drowsiness. Occasionally there maybe some fluid retention, unsteadiness or G.I upset, mainly diarrhea.

The effective dose of gabapentin varies greatly. Some persons need only 200-300 mg a day whereas others may need 3000 mg or more a day. It may take several weeks to become effective, so it is important to stay on it for an adequate length of time.