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.

No comments: