Fibromyalgia Treatments and Findings
Grabbing the research headlines in the fibromyalgia (FM) world, Lyrica (pregabalin) recently became the first drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat the illness. In a statement released June 21, 2007 the FDA affirmed that some fibromylagia patients experience decreased pain after taking Lyrica, though the mechanism by which the drug achieves such an effect is unknown.
This ruling opens the way for the drug company Pfizer to market Lyrica specifically as a treatment for adults with FM. The drug is an anticonvulsant that’s also used to treat various types of nerve pain. Side effects can include mild to moderate dizziness and drowziness as well as weight gain.
Elsewhere on the pharmacologic front, Forest Laboratories and Cypress Bioscience announced positive results in a Phase III study of Milnacipran as a treatment for FM. Though further analysis is under way, initial results seem to indicate the drug showed therapeutic effects in reducing pain associated with FM. Milnacipran is an SNRI (serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor) that helps regulate pain and mood. It’s approved in 32 countries for the treatment of depression. Cymbalta (duloxetine), another SNRI, is also reportedly in Phase III trials by drug company Eli Lilly for use in treating FM.
In other FM research, a team of researchers in Germany released a study in June indicating structural changes in the central nervous systems of FM patients. Brain imaging technology revealed a conspicuous pattern of altered brain structure in
20 FM patients as compared to 22 healthy control subjects. It’s unclear whether these differences are a result of the illness or a cause.
Rooks DS. Fibromyalgia treatment update. Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2007 Mar;19(2):111-7.
Schmidt-Wilcke T, Leurding R, Weigand T, Jurgens T, Schuierer G, Leinisch E, Bogdahn U. Striatal grey matter increase in patients suffering from fibromyalgia: A voxel-based morphometry study. Pain. 2007 Jun 21; (Epub ahead of print)
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