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Fibromyalgia Medications

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Which fibromyalgia medications help relieve the pain?

Different types of pain relievers are sometimes recommended to ease the deep muscle pain and trigger-point pain that comes with fibromyalgia. The problem is these pain relievers don't work the same for everyone with fibromyalgia.

The over-the-counter pain reliever acetaminophen elevates the pain threshold so you perceive less pain.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), when taken alone, don't typically work that well for fibromyalgia. However, when combined with other fibromyalgia medicines, NSAIDs often do help. NSAIDs are available over the counter and include drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen.

What are the side effects of pain relievers for fibromyalgia?

Be careful taking aspirin or other NSAIDs if you have stomach problems. These medications can lead to heartburn, nausea or vomiting, stomach ulcers, and stomach bleeding. This risk of serious bleeding is even higher in people over the age of 60. Don't take over-the-counter NSAIDs for more than 10 days without checking with your doctor. Taking them for a prolonged period increases the chance of serious side effects.  Aspirin and other NSAIDs can cause or worsen stomach ulcers. If you've had ulcers or any kind of stomach or intestinal bleeding, talk to your doctor before taking NSAIDs. 

Acetaminophen is relatively free of side effects. But avoid this medication if you have liver disease. Taking more than the recommended dose can also lead to liver damage.

 

Are muscle relaxants helpful for fibromyalgia pain?

The muscle relaxant cyclobenzaprine has proved useful for the treatment of fibromyalgia. It's often prescribed to help ease muscle tension and improve sleep. Muscle relaxants work in the brain to relax muscles.

With muscle relaxants, you may experience dry mouth, dizziness, drowsiness, blurred vision, clumsiness, unsteadiness, and change in the color of your urine. These medications may increase the likelihood of seizures. Older adults sometimes experience confusion and hallucinations when taking them.

 

When are anticonvulsants used for fibromyalgia?

Lyrica, originally used to treat seizures, is a newer drug for treating fibromyalgia. With fibromyalgia, Lyrica affects chemicals in the brain that send pain signals across the nervous system. It may reduce pain and fatigue and improve sleep.

Neurontin (gabapentin) is another antiseizure medication that has been shown to improve fibromyalgia symptoms.

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