Fibromyalgia Medications Part 5 (The good, The bad and The ugly)

It’s time to speak some more about medications used for Fibromyalgia. Remember that to date there have been no specific medications produced for Fibro, they are all medications that have existed for other conditions. some have been tested for Fibro, others are being used off label (meaning not testing for Fibro)

Xyrem: This is sodium produced by Jazz Pharmaceuticals and is used for a muscle illness associated with Narcolepsy excessive sleepiness during the day and interrupted sleep at night. The mechanism for this medication (how it works), is unknown at this point and the short and long term effects are also unknown. The reason for it’s prescriptions for people with Fibromyalga is to try to combat the fatigue experienced and allow people to sleep through the night, though it is not commonly used. Xyrem is know on the streets as GHB and is a recreational drug with an abuse rate. Due to the side effects and the potential for abuse, you generally cannot get it through a normal pharmacy, but it has to be ordered through a special pharmacy. It should never ever be used when you have a history or propensity for drug abuse and or addiction!

You need to be especially careful if you have

  • liver disease;
  • heart disease, high blood pressure, or kidney disease;
  • a history of alcohol or drug abuse;
  • a lung disorder such as asthma, emphysema, or bronchitis;
  • sleep apnea (breathing stops during sleep);
  • depression or suicidal thoughts; or
  • mental illness such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.

Side effects can include:

  • hallucinations or severe confusion;
  • shallow breathing;
  • sleepwalking; or
  • waking and confused behavior at night.
  • agitation or paranoia;
  • problems with bladder or bowel control;
  • depression;
  • nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite;
  • runny or stuffy nose and sore throat;
  • numbness or tingling;
  • tremors (uncontrolled shaking); or
  • blurred vision.

Blood and Urine testing at least every 3 months is a must and insist upon it, if you doctor tends to be a bit lax or says that it is not necessary. It absolutely is. Do not take no for an answer!

Guaifensin: is a drug sold over the counter and its also known as glyceryl guaiacolate. It is an expectorant medication sold sold over the counter and is usually used for respiratory infections as it helps to bring up the phlegm.

Because it increases the excretion of uric acid by way of the urine, guaifenesin was chosen in the 1990s for the experimental Guaifensin Protocol – a treatment for Fibromyalgia. Proponents of the guaifenesin protocol believed that it treated Fibromyalgia by removing excess phosphate from the body. However, this has been proven incorrect and a consumer alert on the Fibromyalgia Network’s website  states that Dr. St. Amand’s claims of guaifenesin’s effects on fibromyalgia are groundless. Studies have shown no benefit, still many Doctors continue to prescribe this for Fibromyalgia patients. Guaifenesin has not been approved by the FDA for the treatment of fibromyalgia

Side effects include:

allergic reactions:

hives;

difficult breathing;

swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

dizziness;

headaches;

rashes;

nausea;

vomiting;

upset stomach

Drinking lost of water is very important as it reduces the risk of developing Kidney stones! there are many medications that guaifenesin interferes with, thus your Doctor must know if you are taking it.

Soma: This is a brand name for Carisoprodol and is a muscle relaxant. It is manufactured and distributed by Media Pharmacies. In the United Kingdom and other countries, it is known as Sanoma and Carisoma.Although reports from Norway have shown that carisoprodol has abuse potential, compared to other muscle relaxers, it continues to be prescribed. As of November 2007, carisoprodol has been taken off the market in Sweden due to problems with dependence and side effects. In May 2008 it was taken off the market in Norway as well. The agencies overseeing pharmaceuticals has considered other drugs used with the same indications as carisoprodol to have the same or better effects without the risks of the drug. The European Community Medical agency has now recommended it being taken off the market in all countries however, in the United states, it is a big seller!

Abusers of Carisoprodol like the potentially heavy sedating and, relaxing   effects.It increases the effects of opiates and thus many abusers will use the two together. Addiction occurs very fast and since it is not a narcotic, many are not aware of this problem (including doctors). Any people who do have problems with addiction should never take this medication! If you are taking this, it should only be taken for two or three weeks at the maximum!

Side effects include:

  • paralysis (loss of feeling);
  • extreme weakness or lack of coordination;
  • feeling light-headed, fainting;
  • fast heartbeat;
  • seizure (convulsions);
  • vision loss; or
  • agitation, confusion.
  • drowsiness, dizziness, tremor;
  • headache;
  • depression, feeling irritable;
  • blurred vision;
  • sleep problems (insomnia); or
  • nausea, vomiting, hiccups, upset stomach.

This is one medication you must be very careful about and make sure you discuss this in detail with your Doctor before starting it! This medication should not be used if you are breast feeding as it will show up in the breast milk. If you are a man, it slows down sperm motility making pregnancy much more difficult for your partner. Carisoprodol does affect other meds you are taking so you must be aware of this. Lastly, as it does affect the Liver and Kidney’s, blood and urine tests are mandatory, at least every three months. Make sure to insist on these tests if your doctor tends to be a bit lax about it.

More on Fibromyalgia Meds to come in future posts.

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