Friday, November 09, 2007

Fibromyalgia links

Milnacipran Demonstrated Significant Improvement In Pain
Total daily dosages of milnacipran 100 mg and 200 mg demonstrated statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvements in both pain and other core symptoms associated with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), according to Phase III ...

Fibromyalgia May Be Caused by Neuron Conflict
The cause of fibromyalgia pain may be related to a mismatch of sensory and motor neurons, according to new research published online September 1, 2007 in the journal Rheumatology...

How to Cope
Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder characterized by widespread muscle and soft tissue pain. It is accompanied by a wide variety of symptoms such as IBS, frequent yeast infections, chest pain, depression, common headaches, ...

Fibromyalgia Facts - 10 Things You Should Know About Fibromyalgia
Ten basic facts about fibromyalgia.

Living With Pain That Just Won’t Go Away - Jane Brody
The body of a chronic pain sufferer — someone with fibromyalgia, for example, or back pain — usually appears intact. There are no objective tests to detect pain or measure its intensity. You just have to take a person's word for it. ...

Fibromyalgia caused by neuron mismatch, suggests study
The unexplained pain experienced by patients with fibromyalgia is the result of a mismatch between sensory and motor systems, new research suggests.

Reduce Fibromyalgia Pain
Do you experience morning stiffness, trouble sleeping, headaches, poor memory and concentration? Check with your doctor because you may have fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia affects as many as 6 million people in the United States. ...

Fibromyalgia links

Why don't Painkillers Work on Patients with Fibromyalgia?
People with common chronic pain condition have less availability of a pain-deadening receptor in the brain, UMHS study finds.

Fibromyalgia Pain Caused By Neuron Mismatch, Suggests Study
Fibromyalgia Pain Caused By Neuron Mismatch, Suggests Study ScienceDaily (Nov. 2, 2007) — The unexplained pain experienced by patients with fibromyalgia is the result of a mismatch between sensory and motor systems, new research ...

Fibromyalgia Pain Caused By Neuron Mismatch, Suggests Study
The unexplained pain experienced by patients with fibromyalgia is the result of a mismatch between sensory and motor systems, new research suggests. Scientists note that this finding adds to a growing body of evidence that many of the ...

Study Suggest Cause for Fibromyalgia Pain
There may finally be an explanation for the pain fibromyalgia patients feel.

Fibromyalgia Pain Caused By Neuron Mismatch
The unexplained pain experienced by patients with fibromyalgia is the result of a mismatch between sensory and motor systems, new research suggests. In a study published in the journal Rheumatology, researchers asked patients to look at ...

Fibromyalgia Syndrome Causes Misery For Many
Fibromyalgia syndrome affects many people every year, and the causes and cures remain elusive for some of these patients. Although fibromyalgia syndrome affects so many people, the experts in the medical field have not been able to ...

Receptor availability may explain poor opioid response in fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia patients have reduced central mu-opioid receptor availability in regions of the brain known to modulate pain sensation, a study shows. The finding may explain anecdotal reports of reduced ...

Fibromyalgia pain caused by neuron mismatch, suggests study
The unexplained pain experienced by patients with fibromyalgia is the result of a mismatch between sensory and motor systems, new research suggests.

New Understanding Of Fibromyalgia
The pain experienced by fibromyalgia sufferers is apparently the result of a mismatch between sensory and motor systems...

Fibromyalgia Symptoms
5 Oct 2007 by Andrea Before you can understand the treatments used for fibromyalgia you must have an understanding of the disease. Fibromyalgia is a disease that is not well-known throughout the medical profession. It is linked to arthritis but the symptoms ...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Findings predict a poorer response to opioid painkillers for fibromyalgia patients

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Sept. 27 -- The reason that opioids seem to fizzle for fibromyalgia may be because of reduced receptor activity in regions of the brain that process and dampen pain signals, researchers here found.

Reduced ยต-opioid receptor-binding potential in fibromyalgia patients was also significantly correlated with depression and emotional components of pain, reported Richard E. Harris, Ph.D., of the University of Michigan, and colleagues, in the Sept. 12 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

"Because these receptors are the target of opiate drugs," they wrote, "a profound reduction in the concentration or function of these receptors is consistent with a poor response of fibromyalgia patients to this class of analgesics, observed anecdotally in clinical settings."

Alterations in central opioid neurotransmission in specific brain regions "suggest that these mechanisms, possibly as a consequence of persistent pain, are involved in the clinical presentation and even the perpetuation of symptoms in this illness," they added.

Regardless of whether the mechanism is high endogenous opioids or downregulation of opioid receptors, the findings predict a poorer response to opioid painkillers for fibromyalgia patients, they concluded.


Friday, September 21, 2007

New treatments will drive fibromyalgia market forward

Editorial comment,

There are currently more than 20 drugs in development for the potential treatment of fibromyalgia. This number is expected to grow over the coming years as the predicted success of new drugs such as Lyrica, as well as a better-defined regulatory pathway and patient population, encourages other companies to consider investment.Compounds in development consist mainly of centrally acting small molecule therapies.

Although the cause of fibromyalgia is still unknown, the latest research suggests that fibromyalgia pain does not originate from trauma, inflammation, or nerve damage, but seems to be due to a disturbance in pain processing that originates in the brain.

Following closely behind Lyrica in terms of development is Eli Lilly's antidepressant Cymbalta. In August 2007, Lilly filed a supplemental new drug application to the FDA and Datamonitor expects Cymbalta to be approved for fibromyalgia treatment by 2008.

With additional Phase III trials being conducted, Datamonitor predicts Forest/Cypress's milnacipran will be the third drug approved by the FDA for this indication in 2008. Several other candidates in late-stage development offer further promise for fibromyalgia patients, including sodium oxybate, lacosamide, rotigotine, reboxetine and radafaxine.


Sosei completes Phase II trial of AD 337 for the treatment of fibromyalgia

A group trial investigated the efficacy, safety and tolerability of AD 337 in female subjects. The trial enrolled 103 patients across 18 centers in the U.K. and Australia with the primary study endpoint being the difference in the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire score between active and placebo after four weeks of treatment, Sosei said.


Sunday, September 09, 2007

Consumer Reports compares and analyzes 12 anticonvulsants

PR Newswire

WASHINGTON, Sept. 5 -- Some anticonvulsant drugs are effective in treating bipolar disorder, fibromyalgia, and various kinds of pain, but the widely prescribed drugs are not always the best initial choice to treat those conditions and some of the drugs are quite expensive, according to the latest report from Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs, a public information project of Consumers Union.

The report -- written for consumers and available free at -- compares and analyzes 12 anticonvulsants. Scientific evidence backs only a few in treating the three disorders. That is significant because many of the 12 drugs are commonly prescribed "off label" to treat mental health and pain problems.

"This is a case where a class of drugs is widely used off-label to treat millions of Americans with assorted types of pain, emotional distress, and mental health problems," says Gail Shearer, project director of Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs. "But the evidence is either weak or non-existent that some of them help people or are the best drugs to use. Doctors and patients should be more cautious and deliberative in using these drugs," she added.

The anticonvulsants are also known as anti-epileptics. They were designed -- and are approved by the Food and Drug Administration -- primarily to treat people who have various kinds of seizure disorders, including seizures or convulsions caused by epilepsy, strokes, and brain tumors. Several -- phenytoin (Dilantin), carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Tegretol,), ethotoin (Peganone), and valproic acid/divalproex (Depakene/Depakote) -- have been on the market since the 1950s. But a "second generation" of anticonvulsants was developed in the 1990s. These include gabapentin (Neurontin), lamotrigine (Lamictal), pregabalin (Lyrica) and topiramate (Topamax).

Both the old and new anticonvulsants -- but especially the new ones -- gained traction through the 1990s in treating pain and mental disorders. They all affect the central nervous system. In particular, the drugs are now prescribed often to treat nerve pain, or neuralgia, caused by damage or trauma to the nerves or parts of the nervous system. Nerve pain occurs in many people who have diabetes, for example, which damages nerves and blood vessels. Cancer can also cause nerve pain, as can chemotherapy to treat cancer. Some infections can also cause nerve pain, including HIV. And shingles is a form of intense nerve pain caused by the herpes zoster virus -- affecting over a million people each year.

The report notes that the FDA has now approved several anticonvulsants to treat conditions other than seizures. Namely, divalproex, lamotrigine (Lamictal), and carbamazepine have been approved to treat the manic phases of bipolar disorder; carbamazepine, gabapentin (Neurontin), and pregabalin (Lyrica) have been approved to treat various forms of nerve pain; and pregabalin (Lyrica) was just recently (in June 2007) approved to treat fibromyalgia -- an often chronic condition characterized by muscle pain or soreness, joint tenderness or pain, fatigue, and a chronic, low-grade flu-like feeling.

The report presents evidence supporting those uses, but also cautions that other treatments may sometimes work better or be a better initial choice for some patients. In addition, it presents detailed information on the adverse side effects of the drugs, noting in particular that the newer drugs pose the same level of risk (albeit different risks) as the older drugs.
The report presents detailed cost information on the drugs as well, noting that the newer anticonvulsants can be quite expensive ($300 a month and up), and are generally more costly than the older drugs. However, some of the newer drugs (most notably gabapentin) are now available as lower-cost generics, too.

Taking cost, dosing convenience, and the evidence for effectiveness and adverse effects into consideration, the report chooses the following drugs as Best Buys:

-- Generic carbamazepine -- for treating the mania phase of bipolar disorder or trigeminal neuralgia, a type of nerve pain that affects facial nerves

-- Generic valproic acid -- for treating the mania phase of bipolar disorder

-- Lamotrigine (Lamictal) -- for treating both the mania and depressive phases of bipolar disorder

-- Generic gabapentin -- for treating the nerve pain associated with diabetes or herpes zoster infection (shingles)

-- Pregabalin (Lyrica) -- for treating the nerve pain associated with diabetes or herpes zoster infection (shingles)

The anticonvulsant report is the 19th in a series helping consumers find effective and safe medicines that give them the most value for their health-care dollar. Other reports compare medicines to treat depression, high blood pressure, diabetes, heartburn, high cholesterol, heart disease, asthma, allergies, and overactive bladder.

Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs(TM) combines a review of the scientific evidence on the effectiveness and safety of medicines with pricing information. Every report is peer-reviewed by medical experts. The project is independently administered by Consumers Union and Consumer Reports with support from the Engelberg Foundation, a private philanthropy, and the National Library of Medicine.

Free report (PDF)

More at Consumer Reports

Monday, September 03, 2007

Mayo Clinic web site update

The Mayo Clinic updated its web site on fibromyalgia on Aug. 29, 2007

"The fibromyalgia diagnosis process can be frustrating. Here's a look at why it may take so long to go from fibromyalgia symptoms to fibromyalgia diagnosis and what you can do to make the process more efficient for you and your doctors."


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Gabapentin shown effective for fibromyalgia pain

National Institutes of Health
June 7, 2007

New research supported by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) shows that the anticonvulsant medication gabapentin, which is used for certain types of seizures, can be an effective treatment for the pain and other symptoms associated with the common, often hard-to-treat chronic pain disorder, fibromyalgia.

In the NIAMS-sponsored, randomized, double-blind clinical trial of 150 women (90 percent) and men with the condition, Lesley M. Arnold, M.D., director of the Women’s Health Research Program at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, and her colleagues found that those taking gabapentin at dosages of 1,200 to 2,400 mg daily for 12 weeks displayed significantly less pain than those taking placebo. Patients taking gabapentin also reported significantly better sleep and less fatigue. For the majority of participants, the drug was well tolerated. The most common side effects included dizziness and sedation, which were mild to moderate in severity in most cases.

NIAMS Director Stephen I. Katz. M.D., Ph.D., remarked that “While gabapentin does not have Food and Drug Administration approval for fibromyalgia1, I believe this study offers additional insight to physicians considering the drug for their fibromyalgia patients. Fibromyalgia is a debilitating condition for which current treatments are only modestly effective, so a study such as this is potentially good news for people with this common, painful condition.”

Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder characterized by chronic, widespread muscle pain and tenderness, and is frequently accompanied by fatigue, insomnia, depression, and anxiety. It affects three million to six million Americans, mostly women, and can be disabling.
The precise cause of fibromyalgia in not known, but research suggests it is related to a problem with the central nervous system’s processing of pain. As with some other chronic pain conditions, people with fibromyalgia often develop a heightened response to stimuli, experiencing pain that would not cause problems in other people. Yet, unlike many other pain syndromes, there is no physical evidence of inflammation or central nervous system damage.

Although gabapentin has little, if any, effect on acute pain, it has shown a robust effect on pain caused by a heightened response to stimuli related to inflammation or nerve injury in animal models of chronic pain syndromes. Researchers have suspected that it might have the same effect in people with fibromyalgia. The new research, published in the April 2007 edition of Arthritis & Rheumatism, indicates the suspicions were correct.

Although the researchers cannot say with certainty how gabapentin helps reduce pain, Dr. Arnold says one possible explanation involves the binding of gabapentin to a specific subunit of voltage-gated calcium channels on neurons. “This binding reduces calcium flow into the nerve cell, which reduces the release of some signaling molecules involved in pain processing,” she says.

How gabapentin improves sleep and other symptoms is less clear, and there are probably different mechanisms involved in fibromyalgia symptoms. “Gabapentin improved sleep, which is an added benefit to patients with fibromyalgia who often report unrefreshing or disrupted sleep,” Dr. Arnold says.

What is important is that people with fibromyalgia now have a potential new treatment option for a condition with few effective treatments. “Studies like this give clinicians evidence-based information to guide their treatment of patients,” says Dr. Arnold.

The mission of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), a part of the Department of Health and Human Services’ National Institutes of Health, is to support research into the causes, treatment and prevention of arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases; the training of basic and clinical scientists to carry out this research; and the dissemination of information on research progress in these diseases. For more information about NIAMS, call the information clearinghouse at (301) 495-4484 or (877) 22-NIAMS (free call) or visit the NIAMS website at

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Lilly seeks approval for Cymbalta in fibromyalgia

PR Newswire

BOSTON, Aug 21 - Eli Lilly and Co. said on Tuesday it has filed for U.S. approval to sell its antidepressant Cymbalta as a treatment for the pain condition fibromyalgia.

The company said data shows that patients with and without depression who took Cymbalta showed greater reduction in pain than those who took a placebo.

Fibromyalgia is estimated to affect 2 percent to 4 percent of the U.S. population. It is characterized by widespread pain and fatigue, sometimes to a disabling degree.

Cymbalta is approved in the United States for the treatment of major depression, nerve pain associated with diabetes, and generalized anxiety.

INDIANAPOLIS, Aug. 21 PRNewswire-FirstCall -- New data suggest that patients with fibromyalgia treated with 60mg or 120mg of Cymbalta(R) (duloxetine HCl) experienced greater reduction in pain severity beginning one week after starting duloxetine than those taking placebo (sugar pill), as measured by the Brief Pain Inventory Average Pain Score (BPI).

The study, which included patients with and without depression, also showed greater improvements in patients taking duloxetine than in those taking placebo in scores on the Patient's Global Impression of Improvement questionnaire (PGI- I), which measures how the patient has felt overall since beginning to take the medication. The data were presented today at the 2007 Congress of the International MYOPAIN Society in Washington, D.C.

At three months, patients treated with 60mg per day or 120mg per day of duloxetine showed significantly greater reduction in pain and improvement in PGI-I scores compared with patients taking placebo. At three months, more patients treated with either 60mg or 120mg of duloxetine showed significantly greater reduction in pain as measured by a 30 percent improvement in baseline BPI scores (50.7 percent and 52.1 percent, respectively) compared with patients taking placebo (36 percent).

"Fibromyalgia is a chronic illness, characterized by widespread pain, tenderness and fatigue. It can also affect the patient's overall emotional health and well-being," said I. Jon Russell, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. "Between 34 percent(1) and 62 percent(2) of those living with fibromyalgia will experience depression at some point in their lives. In this study, which included patients with and without depression, duloxetine reduced the pain associated with fibromyalgia."


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Cedars-Sinai opens fibromyalgia rehab program

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles offers an interdisciplinary outpatient Chronic Pain and Fibromyalgia Rehab Program, of the sort that might benefit FM patients everywhere. Directed by internationally recognized Fibromyalgia specialist Dr. Stuart Silverman, the Cedars program, founded more than 11 years ago, is a pioneer in FM self-management.

It requires a physician’s referral and provides the referring physician with follow-up consultation. The program reflects a recognition that:

  • Medication is at best only partially effective in relieving the symptoms of chronic pain
  • Medications are too often prescribed piecemeal, by specialists dealing separately with the FM patient’s different symptoms
  • Likewise, supportive therapies are too often prescribed piecemeal over time, with no overall framework for improvement of the patient’s self-management skills.
The Cedars-Sinai program provides an individually-tailored, coordinated treatment plan centered around a self-help “wellness model.” It is designed to inform patients and help them change their behaviors via constructive attitude, understanding of proper nutrition, sleep “retraining,” and pain, exercise, and energy management techniques.

More information about the program is available at (310) 423-9722, and at In addition to serving as Medical Director of the Cedars-Sinai Fibromyalgia Rehab Program, Dr. Silverman is a Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCLA.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Clinical trials update

(HealthDay News) -- Here is the latest clinical trials, courtesy of Thomson CenterWatch:

If you have muscle pain, fatigue and trouble sleeping, you may have fibromyalgia syndrome. To qualify for this clinical study of people with these symptoms, you must be ages 18 to 65.
The research site is in Albuquerque, N.M.

For information, see

Wyeth halts testing on Pristiq

Wyeth has experienced another setback with the experimental drug Pristiq, revealing that it has halted clinical trials for treating a chronic condition that causes fatigue and pain in muscles and joints.

Wyeth said it was stopping work on testing the drug's effectiveness in treating fibromyalgia, which was one of several intended uses for Pristiq. However, the drug also has run into delays at the Food and Drug Administration on applications to treat menopausal symptoms and depression.

The study for fibromyalgia was halted during the enrollment of patients in the second of three clinical-trial phases required before a drug is submitted to regulators.

The company stopped enrollment "after reviewing a planned interim data analysis" and determining that Pristiq wouldn't outperform a placebo in pain relief, Wyeth said in a document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission after markets had closed Tuesday. "This decision was not made because of safety reasons," the company said.

Fibromyalgia represents a solid but elusive market opportunity. The FDA says fibromyalgia affects about 3 million to 6 million Americans annually, primarily women. The cause isn't clear, and there is no diagnostic test.

Until recently, there hadn't been an FDA-approved drug. Instead, patients shuttled from pain medications to muscle relaxants and from antidepressants to sleep medications as they tried to find relief.


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

National Fibromyalgia Association launches education campaign

PR Newswire

ORANGE, Calif., Aug. 7 -- The National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA) today announced the launch of a new national educational campaign aimed at increasing understanding of fibromyalgia among patients, healthcare providers and the public. Fibromyalgia is the most common widespread, chronic pain condition in the United States, characterized by a
unique kind of persistent pain and usually accompanied by poor sleep, stiffness and fatigue. The campaign was driven in part by the results of two new fibromyalgia surveys -- one of the general public and one of physicians -- underscoring the need for greater awareness of the
debilitating condition.

The multi-faceted campaign includes patient education materials, resources and tools, answering the call from more than eight in 10 physicians surveyed (82%) who agree there is a need for more patient-oriented information on fibromyalgia. The campaign also features a
partnership with internationally renowned physician and author Dr. Pamela Peeke, who has treated people with fibromyalgia for more than 20 years. A nationally-broadcast public service announcement featuring patient stories and an interactive Web site -- -- are also available. The campaign is supported through a sponsorship by Pfizer.

"Fibromyalgia is a major public health issue that deserves increased attention and understanding, yet it's very much a misunderstood and invisible illness," said Lynne Matallana, founder and president of the NFA, and fibromyalgia sufferer. "While the pain of fibromyalgia can be chronic, people with the condition usually don't look sick, so it can be difficult
for their families, friends, colleagues and healthcare providers to understand the serious impact of the condition."

"The chronic pain of fibromyalgia can be frustrating for patients and healthcare providers alike -- at times it's like grabbing fog -- and this can lead to a communication gap," said Pamela Peeke, M.D., MPH, assistant clinical professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of
Medicine. "An empathetic and knowledgeable healthcare provider who will work in partnership with an educated patient is a critical component of managing fibromyalgia."

The new public awareness survey shows a significant lack of understanding about fibromyalgia: nearly half of the general public (45%) has never heard of fibromyalgia and many people who are knowledgeable about the disorder incorrectly believe that nothing can be done to manage it.
Approximately one in three survey respondents who are knowledgeable about fibromyalgia incorrectly classify the condition as an autoimmune disease (32%) or a type of arthritis (28%). In fact, fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition thought to result from neurological changes in how patients perceive pain, specifically a heightened sensitivity to stimuli
that are not normally painful.

A persistent and debilitating disorder, fibromyalgia can have a devastating effect on all aspects of a person's life. Survey results show that respondents perceive fibromyalgia as having a strong or very strong impact on patients' ability to work (62%), ability to care for family (54%), and personal relationships (47%). In the survey of physicians, doctors rank the ability to work as the area of a patient's life most impacted by fibromyalgia, followed by personal relationships and ability to care for family.

According to the physician survey, many healthcare providers lack confidence in diagnosing fibromyalgia and are reluctant to diagnose patients with the condition. For most specialties surveyed, less than one-third of physicians were extremely/very confident in their ability to
diagnose the disorder (6% of OB/GYNs; 23% of psychiatrists; 27% of neurologists; 28% of primary care physicians). In contrast, rheumatologists are the most confident in their ability to diagnose (87% extremely to very confident).

In addition, more than half of physicians surveyed (60%) agree they worry about labeling patients as having fibromyalgia. Nearly half (48%) report they are reluctant to diagnose a patient with the condition.

This reluctance may lead to delayed diagnosis -- the general public survey reveals that more than two in five (42%) respondents diagnosed with fibromyalgia by a healthcare provider report waiting two or more years for the diagnosis, including 22 percent who waited five years or more.
"People with a diagnosis of fibromyalgia have struggled with their symptoms for many years," said Dr. I. Jon Russell, associate professor of medicine in the division of clinical immunology and rheumatology and director of the university clinical research center, University of Texas
Health Science Center. "What they're looking for is not only information about the disorder, but also an understanding of their struggle. This understanding should come in the form of tangible compassion, with a medical care plan that offers realistic hope for improvement."

Once patients are diagnosed with fibromyalgia, they can work in partnership with their physicians to manage the condition through individualized therapeutic strategies, which may include lifestyle measures (such as exercise, nutrition and relaxation techniques) and behavioral
support, as well as medication. There is a wealth of fibromyalgia research being conducted in the US and globally. For additional information on fibromyalgia, please visit

The general public awareness survey was conducted by Schulman, Ronca and Bucuvalas, Inc. using a random-digit dial (RDD) sample of 1,606 adults over the age of 18, living in the U.S. The survey, which included some patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia by healthcare providers, took place from May 22 to June 4, 2007. The maximum expected sample error for a simple random sample of this size is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. The survey was commissioned on behalf of the National Fibromyalgia Association.

The physician survey, designed to understand the perceptions and attitudes doctors have towards fibromyalgia, was conducted by Penn, Schoen, & Berland Associates, LLC. Interviews with 557 physicians (100 rheumatologists, 102 neurologists, 103 OB/GYNs, 100 psychiatrists, 101 primary care physicians, and 51 anesthesiologists with a pain management sub-specialty) were conducted on the Internet from March 30 to April 9, 2007. The survey was commissioned on behalf of the National Fibromyalgia Association.

The National Fibromyalgia Association is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to develop and execute programs dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with fibromyalgia by increasing the awareness of the public, media, government and medical communities. The NFA publishes a quarterly magazine, Fibromyalgia AWARE, and hosts an
award-winning Web site at

Monday, August 06, 2007

Fibromyalgia drug wins approval

The Washington Post
July 10, 2007

The first drug approved to treat fibromyalgia was given the go-ahead for marketing by the Food and Drug Administration last month. Lyrica, made by Pfizer, was approved several years ago to treat epilepsy, shingles pain and nerve pain related to diabetes. The federal agency okayed the new use after clinical trials showed some fibromyalgia patients had improved as well.

Other drugs shown effective in treating fibromyalgia include the antidepressant Cymbalta. Doctors often suggest exercise and acupuncture in addition to drugs.

Without insurance, the drug could cost $4 or more per day, based on prices. Side effects include dizziness, sleepiness, blurred vision, weight gain, dry mouth and swelling of the hands and feet. The FDA advises patients to ask their doctor about the safety of driving while taking Lyrica.


Fibromyalgia center receives major grant

The Orange County Register

FULLERTON, Calif. — The newly opened Fibromyalgia Research and Education Center at Cal State Fullerton has received a $298,102 grant from Unihealth Foundation. The two-year funding will provide support for the FAME Project, or Fibromyalgia Assessment, Management and Education.

The project will focus on developing and implementing a Web-based training program for health care providers on the diagnosis and management of fibromyalgia and overlapping conditions. Also, the grant will be used to increase the number of trained health care providers to treat and care for fibromyalgia patients and improve delivery of care to those people.

FAME is a partnership between CSF and the Anaheim-based National Fibromyalgia Association. This marks the first time UniHealth, a nonprofit philanthropy, has awarded a grant to CSF and the first grant from UniHealth involving fibromyalgia. Jessie Jones, professor and center director, will serve as the principle investigator for the project.

Mindfulness Meditation: A New Treatment For Fibromyalgia?

Science Daily

Fibromyalgia has emerged as a common, yet difficult to treat disorder. A group of investigators of the University of Basel has proposed a new modality of treatment in the July 2007 issue of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics. Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) proposes a systematic program for reduction of suffering associated with a wide range of medical conditions.
Studies suggest improvements in general aspects of well-being, including quality of life, coping and positive affect, as well as decreased anxiety and depression. A quasi-experimental study examined effects of an 8-week MBSR intervention among 58 female patients with fibromyalgia who underwent MBSR or an active social support procedure.


Saturday, June 09, 2007

Those with fibromyalgia may feel more pain

By United Press International

ANN ARBOR, Mich., June 5 -- Using sophisticated imaging techniques, the University of Michigan is demonstrating that fibromyalgia may affect millions of Americans.

Using a technique called functional imaging, which allows scientists to look at how different areas of the brain function when people are given painful stimuli, the researchers found that for the same amount of damage or inflammation in the peripheral tissues, a fibromyalgia patient would feel significantly more pain than the average person.

Although the American College of Rheumatology estimates that about 3 percent of Americans suffer from fibromyalgia, Clauw says it's probably closer to 5 percent or 6 percent.


Monday, June 04, 2007

Lyrica may help ease fibromyalgia symptoms

Post No. 13

By WebMD Medical News

May 23, 2007 – The nerve-pain drug Lyrica reduces the pain, insomnia, and general dysfunction suffered by fibromyalgia patients, new studies show.
The studies included large numbers of patients with carefully diagnosed fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain disorder associated with fatigue, insomnia, depression, anxiety, exercise intolerance, and other complex symptoms.
Lyrica is approved by the FDA for the treatment of nerve pain caused by shingles and by diabetes. The drug also reduces some forms of epileptic seizures.
The new findings support Pfizer's FDA application to make Lyrica the first drug specifically approved for fibromyalgia treatment.
Some doctors already are prescribing the drug for their fibromyalgia patients, says Roland Staud, MD, director of the musculoskeletal pain research center at the University of Florida, Gainesville. Staud was one of the investigators participating in the studies of Lyrica.
"This is one of the most effective medications we currently have for fibromyalgia," Staud tells WebMD. "And this is one of the largest clinical trials ever for fibromyalgia -- that is what makes it really special."

More at WebMD

Lyrica shown to ease fibromyalgia pain

Post No. 12

By The Lexington Herald-Leader

For decades, people with fibromyalgia suffered from chronic, widespread pain, often without effective treatment.
But that's likely to change, because a new study with University of Kentucky ties has identified a groundbreaking new medication for the disorder.
Dr. Leslie Crofford, a UK rheumatologist and director of UK's Center for the Advancement of Women's Health, presented the research findings at the American Psychiatric Association's annual meeting in San Diego yesterday.
Researchers and the drug maker are excited because of the significant response many people with fibromyalgia had to the new medication, Lyrica.
About 30 percent of all patients who tried Lyrica had a 50 percent or greater reduction in pain, reducing severe pain to mild or moderate pain.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Fibromyalgia: Real Illness, Real Answers

Post No. 11

From health columnist Jane E. Brody, New York Times, Aug. 1, 2000

Fibromyalgia: Real Illness, Real Answers

"Is it a real disease?" is the most frequently-asked question about fibromyalgia, an ailment characterized by chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain.

The cynical tone that usually accompanies the question suggests that many think this syndrome is all in a person's head, the result, perhaps, of an emotional disorder or an attempt to avoid the demands of work and life.

Not so, say experts who have spent years studying this controversial disorder. Yes, some people with fibromyalgia may be depressed or anxious, but wouldn't you be if you couldn't carry a bag of groceries, walk through a park or tie your shoelaces without considerable pain?"

Here's the complete article

A look at fibromyalgia, circa 1989

Post No. 10

From health columnist Jane E. Brody, New York Times, 1989:

For decades, that is precisely what happened to the vast majority of patients with a syndrome now termed fibromyalgia. The hallmarks of the condition are widespread muscular pain and debilitating fatigue that are now strongly believed to have an organic or biochemical cause, possibly a defect in one or more neurotransmitter chemicals.

Fibromyalgia is actually an old syndrome, but doctors have only recently come to appreciate it and many still fail to recognize it or realize how debilitating it can be. It is often mistaken for other conditions and many patients are needlessly subjected to a costly battery of unrevealing tests. But rheumatologists have developed a simple method to diagnose fibromyalgia primarily by testing for unusual tenderness at specific points on the body.

Preliminary studies suggest fibromyalgia is extremely common and a major cause of lost work time and disability. Researchers say it may afflict as many as 10 percent of patients who visit general medical clinics, although its prevalence in the general population has not been studied.

More at New York Times

Healing Joint Pain Naturally: Safe and Effective Ways to Treat Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, and Other Joint Diseases

Post No. 9

A possibly interesting book:

Healing Joint Pain Naturally: Safe and Effective Ways to Treat Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, and Other Joint Diseases, 2002

Brown, Ellen Hodgson

When veteran health writer Ellen Hodgson Brown found herself suffering from an arthritic hip so painful that sleep was almost impossible, she did not surrender to painkillers or replacement surgery. Instead, she undertook extensive investigation into natural remedies and schools of alternative medicine and devised an eclectic home protocol of fasting and nutritional healing. The result: the arthritis disappeared completely, leaving her feeling better than she had in years.

More at

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Lack of dopamine tied to fibromyalgia symptoms

Post No. 8

Physicians often speak of "fibromyalgia syndrome" because people who have the muscular aches and pains most often associated with this complaint may also have other symptoms such as chronic fatigue, depression and involuntary leg movements, says Dr. David Dryland, a Medford, Ore., rheumatologist who treats many patients with "fibro."

Dryland says researchers have discovered over the past few years that fibromyalgia is caused by a problem in the central nervous system, specifically, a lack of dopamine, a chemical that transmits signals between nerve cells.

More at Mail Tribune

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Fibromyalgia professor discusses research

Post No. 7

From, an interview with Prof. Daniel Clauw, M.D., of the University of Michigan. An expert in fibromyalgia, he discussed the diagnosis and treatment of fibromyalgia, and the results of his research into this disabling condition.

Click here to listen to the webcast.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Acupuncture relieves symptoms of fibromyalgia

Post No. 6

A Mayo Clinic study found that acupuncture reduces the symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia is a disorder considered disabling by many, and is characterized by chronic, widespread musculoskeletal pain and symptoms such as fatigue, joint stiffness and sleep disturbance. No cure is known and available treatments are only partially effective.

The study involved 50 fibromyalgia patients enrolled in a randomized, controlled trial to determine if acupuncture improved their symptoms. Symptoms of patients who received acupuncture significantly improved compared with the control group.The study is published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

"The results of the study convince me there is something more than the placebo effect to acupuncture " says David Martin, lead author of the acupuncture article and a Mayo Clinic anesthesiologist. " It affirms a lot of clinical impressions that this complementary medical technique is helpful for patients."

More at

Monday, October 30, 2006

Acupuncture cuts arthritis pain; will it work for fibromyalgia?

Post No. 5

Acupuncture eases pain and disability caused by arthritis, a study in Germany has indicated.

The German study, published in Arthritis & Rheumatism, compared the experience of 357 patients given immediate acupuncture with a further 355 whose treatment started three months later.

Benefits were measured on the WOMAC scale, a widely used scale of disease severity which measures pain, stiffness, and how well the joint works. At the start of treatment the patients’ scores on the scale were about 50. After 15 sessions in the first three months, the patients treated with acupuncture had scores of about 30, while the control group still waiting for treatment remained about 50.

Traditionally, German doctors have been far more enthusiastic about alternative treatments than their British counterparts. However, acupuncture is becoming increasingly popular in Britain and many physiotherapy departments in hospitals now offer the services of an acupuncturist.

More at The Times of London

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Man's best friend is here to help woman cope with illnesses

Post No. 4

Kathy McKeon is in constant pain from a several illnesses, including lifelong scoliosis of the spine, degenerative disc disease, nerve damage and fibromyalgia. She often must use a motorized wheelchair. Daily tasks as simple as getting out of bed or picking up items off the floor could launch her into paroxysms of pain. Rebel the dog could help her do those things, and many more.

More at Daily Press, Hampton Roads, Va.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Fibromyalgia: mystery malady

Post No. 3

Fibromyalgia patient Mary Keyser had to consult 20 doctors before finding relief. Now, exercise is vital to her regimen.

More from the Dallas Morning News

Friday, October 27, 2006

New Help for Fibromyalgia

Post No. 2

Fibromyalgia affects one in nine people and leaves its victims in constant pain. It's difficult to diagnose, and there is no cure. But there is hope. An ingredient found in a common over-the-counter drug may ease patients' pain.

Pamela Kennedy sings every day to the little boy she thought she would never have. "With fibromyalgia, I have had pain for the last 15 years in all my joints," she says. "We were trying to have children, but I was never able to conceive."

Pamela adopted little Kenton. She lovingly takes care of him while living every minute with muscle aches and fatigue. "It's really hard, especially because he's not walking and he's heavy. I take pain pills all day." The pills help relieve nerve cells that are highly sensitive.

"These patients with minor activities experience significant pain," Roland Staud, M.D., a rheumatologist at the University of Florida in Gainesville, tells Ivanhoe.

A new twist on an old drug may help. Dextromethorphan is an ingredient commonly found in cough syrup, but doctors found it also targets nerve cells.

Dr. Staud says, "The activity of these nerve cells is significantly decreased, resulting in less amplification of pain."

He says, however, the levels found in cough syrup are not strong enough. They studied a special dose that needs to be taken to feel a difference -- about four to five-times stronger than what you can buy over-the-counter.

"If they could find something where I could be lucid all day, be a good mom, that would be very good," Pamela says -- very good for Pamela and her son.

At high doses, dextromethorphan causes problems related to memory and confusion. The drug is still being studied and isn't available to the public yet.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

46 million U.S. adults afflicted

Post No. 1

Arthritis is on the rise in the U.S., with no signs of a slowdown. But you might be able to buck that trend, says the CDC.

First, the numbers. Picture a graph with a line headed upward, and you’ve got the basic idea.
More than 46 million U.S. adults -- over 21 percent -- say they’ve been told by a doctor that they have arthritis, gout, lupus, or fibromyalgia.

About 8 percent of U.S. adults -- more than 17 million people -- say arthritis or joint symptoms hamper their activities.

That’s according to CDC statistics from national health surveys done from 2003 to 2005.
Those figures were lower in 2002.

Back then, nearly 43 million adults said they had doctor-diagnosed arthritis, gout, lupus, or fibromyalgia; slightly less than 8 percent said arthritis or joint problems limited their activities.

By 2030, arthritis will affect 67 million U.S. adults, the CDC predicts.

Those statistics appear in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.