Relief for Fibromyalgia
Reported April 13, 2005
CINCINNATI (Ivanhoe Broadcast News) — Fibromyalgia is a painful, chronic disease affecting 3 million to 6 million Americans. There is no cure or FDA-approved treatment for it. But researchers have found an old drug that seems to relieve the pain.
Karen Smaby loves cooking for her family. But, she didn’t always have the energy to pull a meal together, especially on the days when she couldn’t get out of bed.
Smaby is among the many Americans coping with fibromyalgia, a disease that causes chronic pain in many parts of the body. “It’s like having the flu and having been in an auto accident,” she says, “where you tense up really bad and all your muscles ached.”
University of Cincinnati College of Medicine psychiatrist Lesley Arnold, M.D., is studying the use of the anti-depressant Cymbalta, also called duloxetine. “The most important thing is they reported a reduction in pain,” Dr. Arnold tells Ivanhoe.
Patients like Smaby also said they had more energy and could function better. “There’s like this low level of depression that goes along with it. I think partially because you do feel so miserable all the time, and that’s completely gone.”
Although 90 percent of fibromyalgia sufferers are women, the men in the study did not see a major change. But researchers aren’t sure exactly why.
Dr. Arnold says, “Women in general in normal situations synthesize serotonin at a lesser rate than men, so women may be more susceptible because of that.”
Meanwhile, Smaby’s finally happy to have the energy to do simple tasks, like cook a meal.
Dr. Arnold says Cymbalta does have some mild side effects like nausea, constipation and drowsiness. Suicidal thoughts can also be a side effect of anti-depressants for children and adolescents. But, Dr. Arnold says no one in the study reported that.
If you would like more information, please contact:
The Women’s Health Research Program
Medical Arts Building, Suite 8200
222 Piedmont Ave.
Cincinnati, OH 45219