The information provided here is meant to give you a general idea about each of the medications listed below. Only the most general side effects are included. Ask your doctor if you need to take any special precautions.
Your doctor may prescribe one or more of the following medications to help treat your fibromyalgia symptoms.
SNRIs are a type of antidepressant medication that works by increasing the brain's levels of serotonin and norepinephrine (types of neurotransmitters). Milnacipran and Duloxetine may reduce fibromyalgia pain. They are both US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved to treat fibromyalgia.
Possible side effects include: HeadacheNausea and vomitingConstipationInsomniaFlushingLightheadednessSleepinessBlurry visionChanges in thinkingNervousnessDiarrheaDry mouth (duloxetine)Decreased sexual drive or abilityRisk of severe mood and behavior changes, including suicidal thoughts. (Young adults may be at a higher risk for this side effect.)
Anticonvulsant medications, like pregabalin and gabapentin, may be prescribed to reduce fibromyalgia symptoms, like pain and sleep problems. They may slow down pain signals. However, only pregabalin is approved by the FDA to treat fibromyalgia.
Possible side effects include: LightheadednessFatigueBlurry visionChanges in thinkingChange in balanceWeight gainMuscle painHeadacheShakinessDry mouthEmotional difficultiesNausea and vomitingBack or joint pain (gabapentin)Constipation (gabapentin)
Tricyclics are a class of antidepressants that may help relieve
They may also
help improve sleep and decrease muscle pain by changing brain chemistry.
Possible side effects include: Dry mouthBlurred vision
ConstipationDecreased sexual drive or abilityWeight gainDifficulty urinatingHeart rhythm disturbancesRisk of severe mood and behavior changes, including suicidal thoughts. (Young adults may be at a higher risk for this side effect.)
SSRIs increase levels of serotonin, a brain chemical that is associated with a sense of well-being. SSRIs may help improve fibromyalgia symptoms.
Possible side effects include: Decreased sexual drive or abilityRestlessnessNauseaHeadacheLoss of appetiteWeight lossWeight gain
InsomniaRisk of severe mood and behavior changes, including suicidal thoughts. (Young adults may be at a higher risk for this side effect.)
Muscle relaxants decrease muscle tone. Decreased muscle tone helps relieve symptoms by reducing muscle spasms, pain, and twitching. This drug is not recommended in elderly adults.
Possible side effects include: Impaired alertness and coordination that may be worse when combined with alcohol or other central nervous system depressantsDrowsinessDry mouthLightheadednessFatigueHeadache
A common symptom of fibromyalgia is insomnia. Your doctor may prescribe a sleep medication, or hypnotic, such as zolpidem or zaleplon. Hypnotics are central nervous system depressants. They slow the nervous system by increasing the activity of a brain chemical that blocks neuron excitability.
It is best to use these medications only for brief periods of time. With longer use, you may become dependent on them. They should not be relied on for the long-term management of insomnia.
Possible side effects include: Clumsiness or unsteadinessLightheadednessSlurred speechNightmaresAgitationMemory lossDependencySedation, drowsiness, and daytime sleepiness
Sodium oxybate is another central nervous system depressant. This medication may help improve symptoms of fibromyalgia. Possible side effects include: LightheadednessBlurred visionInability to think clearlyHeadacheNausea and vomitingDependency—This medication can lead to addiction. Your doctor will need to closely monitor you.
Opioids should only be used when all other pain management approaches have failed. They work by attaching to specific receptors in the body called opioid receptors. These receptors are found in the brain, spinal cord, and gastrointestinal tract. When these drugs attach to the receptors, they block the transmission of pain messages to the brain. Opioids can also induce a feeling of euphoria, by stimulating regions of the brain that mediate pleasure sensations.
Tramadol should not be used in people with a history of seizures or epilepsy.
Some opioids may contain acetaminophen. Read the ingredient list on medication labels. High doses of acetaminophen can increase the risk of liver damage. Check the ingredient list of all your medications to make sure you are not taking too much acetaminophen.
Possible side effects include: Feeling lightheaded, sleepy, having blurred vision, or a change in thinking clearlyNausea or vomitingConstipationItchingDry mouthSeizures (tramadol)Dependency—This medication can lead to addiction. Your doctor will need to closely monitor you.
Acetaminophen is used to relieve pain. Unlike aspirin products, acetaminophen rarely causes stomach irritation or bleeding. However, people with liver disease or heavy alcohol consumption should avoid these drugs. Get your doctor's approval before using acetaminophen for more than a short time.
NSAIDs are used to relieve symptoms, such as inflammation, swelling, stiffness, and pain.
Since they may cause side effects, get your doctor's approval before using them for more than a short time.
Possible side effects include:
Stomach problems, including:
Stomach upsetStomach ulcers
Worsening of chronic conditions, such as
high blood pressure,
heart failure, or kidney disease
Kidney damageLiver inflammationLightheadedness
Severe allergic reaction, such as
hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling around the eyes
Increased risk of bleeding—always inform your healthcare providers that you are taking an NSAID before having any medical or dental procedures or surgeries