The problem with fibromyalgia is the wild variety of seemingly unrelated symptoms that go along with the syndrome. Drugs treatments like arthritis pain relief medications are just the tip of the iceberg. Pain and fatigue are the two most widely recognized symptoms… but then there’s the insomnia and other sleep disorders, mood disorders (anxiety and depression), gastrointestinal issues, mental fog… and the list goes on and on. In fact, more than one hundred symptoms of fibromyalgia have been recorded between doctors and fibromyalgia sufferers… and the medications for treatment of the symptoms are just as numerous, including arthritis pain relief drugs.
Today, medications are as varied as the symptoms. Common types of drugs used to treat fibromyalgia are pain relievers like arthritis pain relief drugs, sleep aids, tricyclic and SSRI-type antidepressants, anticonvulsants, narcolepsy drugs, gastrointestinal medications, benzodiazepines (muscle relaxers), and the list goes on and on, using this symptom-by-symptom approach.
By far, pain medications are the medications most widely requested by sufferers… in fact, it’s usually the pain that drives sufferers to get diagnosed in the first place. Arthritis pain relief medications come in prescription and non-prescription tablets and capsules, as well as topical creams, gels and patches. But fibromyalgia sufferers will tell you that for most sufferers, the over-the-counter options are not nearly strong enough.
Interestingly enough, there is not one single pain-relieving drug that has been approved by the FDA including arthritis pain relief drugs, for the treatment of fibromyalgia pain. Instead, doctors and patients alike are test subjects… patients participating in the drug-trials, and doctors keeping records and reporting results to medical forums and journals. Fortunately, even without FDA approval of pain-killers for fibromyalgia, insurance companies are accepting the word of the doctor that the prescribed pain-killer is medically necessary… and most of the standard prescription pain-relieving drugs are covered for those who have prescription drug insurance.
Common Arthritis Pain Relief Medications…
Acetaminophen – Widely used pain relief for people who can’t take other medications due to gastrointestinal issues or allergies; not usually effective for treatment of fibromyalgia except in prescription form including an opioid like codeine – side-effects with codeine may include constipation, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, light-headedness, and slowed breathing; maximum daily dosage should not go over 4 grams per day – over that limit risk of liver and kidney damage increases; acetaminophen is found in other products like cold remedies – must be aware so as not to accidentally over-dose; there is presently no solid evidence confirming that opiods actually work to relieve fibromyalgia pain, and there is a risk of the patient becoming physically or psychologically dependent.
NSAIDS (Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) – classification of medications that includes aspirin, ibuprofen (examples Advil, Motrin), naproxen (example Aleve), and COX-2 inhibitors (Celebrex) – side-effects of traditional NSAIDS include upset stomach, ulcers, blood-thinning effect (aspirin), gastrointestinal bleeding as well as heart and skin side-effects – side-effects of COX-2 inhibitors include stomach upset, gastrointestinal bleeding, and may aggravate heart problems in some individuals – some risk of liver and kidney damage with prolonged use.
Other Common Arthritis Pain Relief Analgesics – Darvon, Ultram and Vicodin are general use pain-relievers which may work for some individuals although can cause side-effects like headaches, dizziness, allergic symptoms and flu-like reactions.
Creams, Gels, Pain Patches – most available over-the-counter at local pharmacies and grocery stores, generally symptom relief is temporary but can be helpful in relieving fibromyalgia pain if no allergies develop.
In the treatment of fibromyalgia arthritis pain relief medications are just one type of drug treatment. The symptoms of fibromyalgia vary from person to person, so treatments include combinations of drugs working together. The challenge for doctors and patients alike is finding the right balance of medications that relax stiff muscles, dull pain, reduce stress reactions and support healthy, restful sleep… without undesirable side-effects.
A team approach with your general practitioner, rheumatologist and pharmacist to develop a treatment plan that will control your pain and reduce risks of serious complications, is advocated by many medical specialists including Chief, Public Health Officer for the Arthritis Foundation, Patience White, M.D. “It is imperative that people understand the impact of any medications as they’re prescribed (including arthritis pain relief drugs)… as well as exercise and diet, on their total health,” she has stated. It’s true for the treatment of fibromyalgia, just as with arthritis. And the AMA supports the addition of a nutritional program to your diet, to support your medical treatment regimen. It can go a long way toward healing the symptoms of fibromyalgia. For more information on relieving the pain of fibromyalgia and improving your overall health naturally, contact me by clicking one of the links below.