Fibromyalgia: An Elusive Illness

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Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder in which the patient suffers from headaches, fatigue, widespread pain, difficulty sleeping and mood swings.

It is believed that fibromyalgia increases painful sensations by affecting the brain. The actual causes of fibromyalgia are unknown.

It’s related to chemical levels in brain and changes in the nervous system. It may develop due to genes inherited from parents. Widespread pain is the major symptom of Fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia is not a degenerative or deforming condition, nor does it result in life-threatening complications. However, treatment of chronic pain and fatigue is challenging, and there are no “quick cures.”

It is a complex syndrome that may not present the same symptoms nor respond to same medication.

It takes time and communication between the healthcare professional and patient to determine the correct mix of medications and proper dosages for each patient.

Fibromyalgia has been affecting the lives of the human for centuries, in fact, our great ancestors who experienced Fibromyalgia indications were perhaps identified with rheumatism.

In the year 1904, Sir William Gowers presented a Lecture on Lumbago: Its Instructions and Referends, to doctors who were serving at the National Hospital for the patients who were Paralyzed and Epileptic in the city of London, England.

And during this address, Dr. Gowers defined “fibrositis” for the very first time and as a result, this term started to be used as an expressive word for the indications of lenient tissue rheumatism.

The term fibrositis, introduced by Dr. Gowers, specified that irritation was present in the patient’s condition which aided to the patient’s experience of pain.

Risk factors

This disease has many risk factors. In some specific cases, fibromyalgia is more likely to occur. One major factor being your sex i.e; gender. Women are more likely to become victims of it.

Sometimes the disease is carried in genes and it runs in families. Besides this, people having Rheumatic disease in past or present usually develop fibromyalgia more easily compared to others

The three drugs

Lyrica, Cymbalta, and Savella are the three drugs approved by FDA for patients suffering from fibromyalgia. Lyrica in June 2007 became the first FDA approved drug for treating Fibromyalgia.

Cymbalta and Savella were the second and third respectively. Lyrica, Cymbalta, and Savella improve body function and reduces the pain.

There is proof suggesting that these drugs affect the release of neurotransmitters in the brain. Treatment with these drugs may reduce the pain suffered by some Fibromyalgia.

fibromyalgia medication list


Lyrica, chemical name Pregabalin, was the first ever drug to be approved by FDA for the treatment of fibromyalgia. It targets nerve signals. It initially was used to treat seizures.

It can quickly reduce pain and improve sleep that is why it is very helpful for people suffering from fibromyalgia to reduce pain and get back to their daily routines. However, it may not help everyone with fibromyalgia.

The drug has quite a number of side effects. The most common side effects are mild dizziness and sleepiness. Other than this patient might have side effects like blurred vision, dry mouth, swelling of hands and feet and weight gain.

In rare cases, severe allergic reactions occur like breathing trouble, hives, swelling of the face, mouth, gums, lips, tongue or neck.


Cymbalta (duloxetine) is a selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor antidepressant (SSNRI). Duloxetine affects chemicals in the brain that are unbalanced in people with depression.

It has also proven to be a very helpful drug in helping people suffering from fibromyalgia. Unlike Lyrica, it is an anti-depressant.

It improves mood, sleep, appetite, and energy level. Nausea, dry mouth, loss of appetite, drowsiness, or increased sweating may occur after taking this drug. This drug may increase the blood pressure of patients.


Savella also was known as milnacipran hydrochloride. Savella allows more of neurotransmitters to travel from neuron to neuron.

Increasing levels of neurotransmitters may help reduce pain and fatigue. Its results before being approved by the FDA were splendid.

The intake of Savella is two tablets each day. The potential side effects of Savella include nausea which is the most common.

Other side effects include constipation, dizziness, insomnia, sweating, increased heart rate, dry mouth and high blood pressure.

Home Remedies For Fibromyalgia

Self-care is very important in the management of fibromyalgia.

Avoiding or limiting physical and emotional stress. Relaxing now and again. But try not to change your routine completely. By trying stress management techniques, such as deep-breathing exercises or spiritual meditation.

Fatigue is one of the major characteristics of fibromyalgia, getting enough sleep is extremely important. In addition to getting enough time for sleep, practicing good sleep habits is also recommended, such as going to bed and getting up at the same time every day and limited daytime napping.

Exercise would increase the pain at first. But doing it slowly and daily very often decreases symptoms. Easy to do exercises may include walking, swimming, biking and water exercises.

A physical therapist can provide the patient with information to develop a home exercise program. Stretching, good posture and relaxation exercises also are helpful.

Keep your physical and mental activities on an even level. If one does too much work on a good day, one may have more tough days. Moderation should be practiced. One must not do too much work on some days and completely cut out the flow of work on other days.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Eating healthy food items and looking over diet is very important to enjoy a healthy lifestyle.

Treatment for symptoms

Other than this there are a lot of medications being used to treat fibromyalgia symptoms right now. These include pain medicines, sleeping pills, and antidepressants.

Usually, the first medications doctors recommend are antidepressants which reduce pain and relieves stress.

These medications used only to treat the symptoms of Fibromyalgia. These medicines include Xanax and Alprazolam for depression and anxiety.

For fatigue and fibro fog, Bupropion hydrochloride/Wellbutrin can be used. For mid pain and sleep Amitriptyline and Elavil are used. These drugs are helpful to get back patients into their daily routine.

1 thought on “Fibromyalgia: An Elusive Illness”

  1. Hello…. I have been suffering from fibromyalgia for over ten years now… I think it’s not working for me now … my Dr suggest Cymbalta for fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis which I have both …. I want to give it a try but afraid of the side affects…as I take other meds. Could I change from Fibro.. straight to cymb.
    Would like to know how its is with other people… have they done these changes and is it better?

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