Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Fibromyalgia: Psychiatric drugs target CNS-linked symptoms

Sharon B. (Shay) Stanford, MD

Assistant professor of psychiatry and family medicine, Assistant director, Women’s Health Research Program, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, OH

Patients with fibromyalgia are a heterogeneous group, yet many describe a common experience: seeing multiple physicians who seem unable or unwilling to provide a diagnosis or treat their symptoms. This situation may be changing with the recent FDA approval of an anticonvulsant and 2 antidepressants for managing fibromyalgia symptoms.

These medications—pregabalin, duloxetine, and milnacipran—reflect a revised understanding of fibromyalgia as a CNS condition, rather than an inflammatory process in the muscles or connective tissue. As a result, psychiatrists—because of our experience with CNS phenomena and managing antidepressant and anticonvulsant medications—are likely to play a larger role in treating fibromyalgia.

Listen to Dr. Stanford discuss "Is fibromyalgia a somatoform disorder?"

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