Lets spend some more time speaking about more drugs commonly used in treating Fibromyalgia.
Amitriptaline – Many if not most with Fibromyalgia have difficulty either sleeping, getting to sleep or staying asleep. Chances are, at some point you’ve been prescribed Amitriptaline. So what is it?
Amitriptaline is a tricyclic antidepressant medication. (Tricyclic refers to the molecular structure) and it’s trade name most commonly are Elavil and Endep. It is commonly used for depressive disorders, though not as commonly as in the past as the SSRI’s (Prozac, Paxil etc) are a newer type of antidepressant meds.. It is sold by Merck and is sometimes used for insomnia. The British National Formulary has stated that it is a dangerous med in overdose situations and recommends it not be used for depression.
So what are the side effects?
chest pain or heavy feeling, pain spreading to the arm or shoulder, nausea, sweating, general ill feeling;
- sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body;
- sudden severe headache, confusion, problems with vision, speech, or balance;
- pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest;
- feeling like you might pass out;
- confusion, hallucinations, seizures (convulsions);
- restless muscle movements in your eyes, tongue, jaw, or neck, uncontrollable shaking or tremor;
- extreme thirst with headache, nausea, vomiting, and weakness;
- numbness, burning pain, or tingly feeling;
- easy bruising, unusual bleeding (nose, mouth, vagina, or rectum), purple or red pinpoint spots under your skin;
- skin rash, bruising, severe tingling, numbness, pain, muscle weakness;
- urinating less than usual or not at all.
- nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, loss of appetite;
- dry mouth, unpleasant taste;
- feeling dizzy, drowsy, or tired;
- trouble concentrating;
- blurred vision, headache, ringing in your ears;
- breast swelling (in men or women); or
- decreased sex drive, impotence, or difficulty having an orgasm.
Note that you should be especially careful when taking amitriptyline if you have a history of heart problems, glaucoma, diabetes or an overactive thyroid.
Lortab: Opioids are a class of compounds that elicit analgesic (pain killing) effects in humans and other animals by binding to the opioid receptors within the central nervous system. Lortab used for moderate pain and is Hydrocodon (Vicodin) and Acetaminophen (Called Paracetamol outside the U.S.) Acetaminophen is Tylenol. Hydrocodone is a narcotic pain reliever. It is in the same family of Oxycontin, Morphine and Codeine. There is a large market for these meds among drug abusers as they produce a high and are highly addictive. Lortab is effective for pain in some people, but not all. Fibromyalgia people tend to have different pain mechanisms and so you might not find that it works for you. This med is manufactured by many different pharmaceutical companies.
Some side effects (but not all) include:
Severe allergic reactions (rash, hives itching, tightness in the chest);
Loss of hearing.
Lortab may harm the liver (due to Acetaminophen and the Narcotic) as all meds have to be detoxified by the liver. It should never be used with Alcohol and frequent blood and urine tests are very important, though many times neglected by Doctors. If you are prone to substance abuse, you must also not use Lortab! Lortab also reduces Testosterone levels which is reduced to begin with in people with Fibromyalgia. Long term use can lead to Osteoporosis.
Ambien: Is a sleep medication whose real name is Zolpidem.It is produced by many different pharmaceutical companies world wide. It is meant for short term use, not long term. (2 to 6 weeks maximum!) Interestingly, it has shown to help initiate sleep but not maintain it.
Side effects include:
- Altered thought patterns
- Poor motor coordination
- Increased appetite
- Decreased Libido
- Impaired judgment and reasoning
- Uninhibited extroversion in social or interpersonal settings
- Increased impulsivity
- Short term memory loss
Note: when you stop this med, you’ll probably have rebound insomnia, which means the insomnia will return probably worse than originally experienced.
There have been reports of sleepwalking, binge eating even driving while asleep and unaware. Probably the most famous case was the Kennedy son who was stopped for a traffic ticket while driving when asleep. The person sleepwalking will appear totally awake and be able to do normal activities, and carry on conversations, even go to work. Hangover effects will commonly appear the next day.
When going off this medication, you must slowly wean yourself off. Never Cold Turkey!
Effects of this medication tend to be stronger in Senior citizens so be aware of this. Lastly, this medication tends to increase gastric reflux problems, which again is a common symptom in Fibromyalgia, so this is a case of treating one symptom but creating other symptoms and making an existing Fibro symptom worse. It’s like “your damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t”. Oh well.
Next post on Wednesday will be a nice surprise!