Chronic Pain Drugs

Six to 10 million Americans — most of them women — spend every waking moment in pain. Their condition known as fibromyalgia has been difficult to treat because its exact cause is unknown. Two common antidepressant drugs are being used to rid people of their constant pain.

Every muscle in Paula’s body used to ache.

Paula, Chronic Pain Sufferer: “It would hurt to comb my hair. It would hurt to brush my teeth. To type or perform my job duties was practically next to impossible.”

Paula suffers from fibromyalgia.

The definition of fibromyalgia is a chronic muscular rheumatism. Instead of having rheumatism in the joints, people have chronic pain and discomfort and stiffness throughout most of their muscles throughout the body.

To help patients with chronic pain, Dr. tested low doses of two anti-depressant medications: 25 milligrams of amitriptyline and 20 milligrams of fluoxetine, better known as Prozac. Nineteen patients took each drug alone for six weeks and then in combination.

The two of them in combination, without any side effects, were more effective than either alone.”

The drugs make a natural chemical called serotonin more available to the brain. That’s important because serotonin improves the body’s ability to control pain.

Dr.: “Because we are using antidepressants does not mean that we’re saying this is all in your head or you’re depressed. That may be the case with chronic pain and changing one’s lifestyle, but it’s important that patients and doctors understand that that’s not why these medications are often effective.”

Now Paula is typing ninety words a minute without any problem. She’s also sleeping better…another bonus for patients with fibromyalgia.

Dr. says patients taking antidepressant drugs should also exercise regularly and stretch their muscles to help control the pain. Other treatment options include physical therapy, acupuncture, biofeedback and stress management.

This article was reported by Ivanhoe.com, who offers Medical Alerts by e-mail every day of the week.

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