The symptoms of fibromyalgia include widespread pain and tenderness along with other problems, including depression,difficulty sleeping, fatigue, and irritability. The symptoms can interfere with a person’s life at work and at home.
Because there is not a single, specific cause of fibromyalgia and the symptoms can vary from patient to patient, choosing an effective treatment can be challenging. Experts say the best, overall strategy includes medications and nondrug therapies, such as exercise, counseling, and stress relief.
The medications used to treat fibromyalgia include antidepressants (amitriptyline, nortriptyline, fluoxetine, paroxetine, duloxetine, milnacipran), a few anti-seizure medications (gabapentin, pregabalin), and a muscle relaxant (cyclobenzaprine).
But studies show that the benefits of these medications are generally small. There is no clear evidence that one drug is better than another, and all of them probably lose their benefit over time.
Each drug differs in the risks it poses to you. All antidepressants should be used with caution in those with a history of suicide attempt or who are at risk of suicide, especially in people 25 years old or younger. Amitriptyline, cyclobenzaprine, gabapentin, and pregabalin all cause increased sedation and should be used with caution in the elderly.
Taking into account the evidence of their effectiveness and safety as well as their price, we have chosen three Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs as initial options to consider if you and your doctor have decided that a medication is appropriate for your fibromyalgia symptoms:
- Generic amitriptyline
- Generic gabapentin
- Generic paroxetine-IR (immediate release)