Fibromyalgia affects about 6 million Americans, most of them women. For many, the pain can be unbearable. Treatments vary from person to person, and some find no relief with treatments currently available. Now a new medication may offer hope for this group.
Since a car accident nearly two years ago, Lee has suffered in pain. “The trigger point areas on the shoulders were stinging to the point that you couldn’t tell if it was stinging or if it was burning,” she says.
There’s also chronic fatigue. “You struggle every single day to get out of bed,” says Lee.
Lee has fibromyalgia. Symptoms are widespread pain and fatigue. The cause is unknown, and there is no one treatment for everyone.
A rheumatologist at The Health Sciences Center in Ohio, says, “One individual’s problems may be controlled simply with an anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxant. Another individual may need just a tricyclic anti-depressant at night. Others might need all three.”
With current therapies, 20 percent of patients get complete relief. Sixty percent reduce their symptoms by half. Twenty percent get little or no relief. With the new medications that continue to come along, hopefully we can reduce that percentage.
Doctor hopes a new drug called pregabalin will do that. Unlike other medications for fibromyalgia which focus on the brain chemical serotonin, this drug targets pain pathways in the spinal cord-brain connection.
The main goal is trying to make patients able to cope with the disease and function in their daily setting. As a nurse, Lee says she hopes this drug will help her so she can get back to helping others.
Other factors that are thought to bring on fibromyalgia are mentally and physically traumatic events or infections like mononucleosis or a bad flu. Pregabalin is currently experimental. It’s also being tested on arthritis.
Ivanhoe Newswire 1999