For people with fibromyalgia, pain medication is an important element of managing the disease. As well as dealing with the debilitating pain, medications can also help sufferers with fatigue, muscle spasms, and depression.
Before taking any new pain medication, it’s important to speak to your health care provider to ensure it’s safe for you and won’t interfere with any other medications you may be taking.
Here are seven of the most common medications used for treating fibromyalgia
In addition to treating depression, antidepressants can also be used to help block pain signals to the brain. There are two antidepressant drugs which have been approved by the FDA for the treatment of fibromyalgia—duloxetine (Cymbalta) and milnacipran (Savella). Patients can also be prescribed selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Prozac or Paxil or tricyclic anti-depressants such as Pamelor and Elavil.
Anti-epileptic drugs slow down nerve signals from the muscles to the brain and help with muscle spasms and pain. Lyrica is the FDA-approved drug for fibromyalgia, but doctors can also prescribe Neurotontin.
Benzodiazepines help to improve sleep by slowing down the central nervous system and relaxing muscles. They are typically prescribed to help patients with anxiety and tension—usually caused by stress. Valium is the most known type of benzodiazepine.
These can also be used to help fibromyalgia patients get better sleep by relaxing tense muscles. Flexeril and Cycloflex and commonly prescribed muscle relaxants.
Analgesics are painkillers which block the path of pain signals to the brain. Non-narcotic analgesics such as tramadol (Ultram) are not as strong or potentially addictive as narcotic analgesics.
Narcotic analgesics or opioids are used when all other medications have failed to treat the symptoms of fibromyalgia. They can potentially be addictive and are usually only prescribed for a short period. Oxycodone (OxyContin) is a common opioid analgesic.
Usually, over-the-counter painkillers aren’t particularly effective in treating fibromyalgia-related pain, but they can help when used in combination with other medications. You will need to consult your doctor before taking any over-the-counter medications.