9 Side effects of some fibromyalgia drugs you may not be familiar with

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Cymbalta, Lyrica, and Savella are three fibro drugs on the market. Similar to all medications, they can carry certain dangers. “The drug with no side effects is only in our imagination. Most side effects become less problematic if you take the medication at lower doses.

Without the use of other conjunctive therapies building a tolerance to any fibromyalgia drug is counterproductive because we are not allowing the body to help in the curative process. And, by healing process, we are not talking about a ”cure” for fibro; no, we are talking about creating greater levels of wellness and well-being while reducing overall pain levels and fibro symptoms. There are as many potential treatments for fibromyalgia as there are symptoms.

Because drug interventions have been shown to be either not effective or effective only with some people and only sometimes, it’s best to start with yoga, exercise, meditation, mindfulness, guided relaxation and stress reduction. The list of medications used for fibromyalgia is troublesome. It’s a kitchen sink of different kinds of drugs, many of which can cause significant adverse events and side effects, especially when used in combination. Mentioned below are some side effects for the commonly used drug for fibromyalgia.

Weight gain

Lyrica but not Cymbalta or Savella has been shown to foster weight gain. For most people, only doses higher than 300 milligrams a day will cause them to pack on a few extra pounds. Even a few pounds can be significant, however, since weight gain is a common problem in fibromyalgia to begin with. The average weight gain in fibromyalgia is 32.5 pounds. Adding more weight gain in a disease that most often affects women really lowers their self-images. Click Here to Read “How to Lose weight in Fibromyalgai”

Difficulty concentrating

Lyrica is chemically interrelated a brain chemical called GABA. Because of that, it contributes to a little lack of mental clarity. The cognitive cloudiness known as fibro fog is common even in fibromyalgia patients who aren’t taking medication, so if you feel that you are growing increasingly perplexed after you start taking a drug, talk about it with your doctor. It may or may not be associated to your medication.

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Dry mouth

Fibromyalgia is sometimes associated with an autoimmune disorder that zaps your ability to produce saliva (called Sjogren syndrome), and fibro meds can make that dry mouth even worse. Dry mouth may not sound like a big deal, but it can cause cavities and even need people to have their teeth detached. Sucking on sugar-free candy or chewing sugar-free gum to help stimulate saliva production. If you experience dry mouth, you may also want to discuss lowering your medication dose with your doctor.

Fatigue

About 22% of people who took Lyrica in a clinical trial experienced sleepiness (compared with 7% of those who took a placebo), and other fibro drugs can make you drowsy as well. Painkillers stimulate chemicals in the brain that decrease brain activity. As a result, these drugs can cause some sedation. For some people, drowsiness can be a plus. As many people with fibromyalgia have difficulty in sleeping, taking drugs with a numbing effect may in fact be supportive.

Interaction with other drugs

People with fibromyalgia may have other health problems as well, and about 70% take more than one medication regularly. Fibro patients are taking numerous medications that lift the brain chemical called serotonin. If you find you have anxiety and a racing heart, it may be because the mix of medication is raising serotonin too high. You may desire to ask your doctor to lesser the dose.

Hypertension

Cymbalta is a type of antidepressant known as a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). SNRIs raise blood pressure in many people who take the drugs, so patients should be screened regularly for hypertension. Savella, a different type of SNRI indicated for fibromyalgia, may also enhance heart rate or cause heart palpitations.

Suicidal thoughts

All three of the drugs approved for fibromyalgia by the FDA have prominent warnings about a possible increase in suicidal thoughts or behavior. Cymbalta is approved for the treatment of depression and anxiety, and Savella is related to antidepressants. Patients and family members should watch for worsening depression or unusual mood changes.

Swelling

Lyrica and Cymbalta can generate some inflammation in the legs, hands, and feet, even though this is one of the less common and less ruthless side effects. Gabapentin an antiseizure medication (trade name name Neurontin) is frequently prescribed off-label as a substitute to these drugs, because it’s cheaper, effectual, and less liable to cause inflammation (as well as the weight gain experienced by some Lyrica users). Click Here to read” How to control swelling in Fibromyalgia”

Nausea

An upset stomach is one of the most common side effects of both Cymbalta and Savella. Some of Cymbalta users, and approximately 25% of Savella users, discontinue taking their medication because of vomiting and other unfavorable reactions.

Among the drugs prescribed are over-the-counter pain relievers (not effective), opioid painkillers (no evidence of effectiveness), antidepressants, muscle relaxants, antiepileptics and insomnia drugs. The only medicines that have been tested to be somewhat effective with fibromyalgia are Lyrica (pregabalin, an antiepileptic), Cymbalta (duloxetine, an antidepressant), and Savella (milnacipran, another antidepressant). Be aware that all other medicines that might be prescribed to you are off-label uses; they have not been tested for safety or effectiveness for fibromyalgia. Read More on Nausea and Fibromyalgia Here

 

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References:

  • Side Effects of fibromyalgia Drugs via Nucca Washington
  • Think Twice Before Taking Drugs for Fibromyalgia via Med Shadow

For support and Discussion join the group “Living with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Illness”

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