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Which drugs are used for FMS?

According to the Arthritis Association, there are currently no drugs approved specifically for Fibromyalgia (FMS), a condition characterized by widespread muscle pain, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and irritable bowel syndrome.  There are many drugs available, however, that can help relieve symptoms of FMS.

For muscle pain, most doctors recommend acetaminophen (Tylenol) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen sodium (Aleve) or ketoprofen (Actron, Orudid KT).

For sleep problems, which are common in people with FMS, doctors often prescribe drugs to promote deep, restorative sleep  These drugs include:
    Tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline hydrochloride (Elavil, Endep), doxepin (Adapin, Sinequan) and nortriptyline (Aventyl, Pamelor);
    Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil) and sertraline (Zoloft);
    Muscle-relaxing medications such as cyclobenzaprine (Cycloflex, Flexeril);
    Anti-anxiety medications such as temazepam (Restoril);
    Sleep aids such as zolpidem (Ambien) and zaleplon (Sonato).

In addition to general muscle aches and fatigue, people with FMS often experience irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).  This condition is characterized by abdominal pain and bloating along with constipation or diarrhea or alternating bouts of the two.  For people with constipation-predominant IBS, a new drug called tegaserod maleate (Zelnorm) may be available within the next few years to alleviate the pain, discomfort and constipation associated with IBS.

Because not all drugs work equally well for all people with FMS, doctors may prescribe different drugs or combinations of drugs before finding the one(s) that provides optimal relief.

Source: Arthritis Today, Nov-Dec 2001