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Expert: Nondrug Therapies May Be Most Effective Treatments for Fibromyalgia Pain

(Pain Medicine News) Given that fibromyalgia pain stems primarily from the central nervous system (CNS), nonpharmacologic therapies may provide greater benefits than opioids and narcotic analgesics, according to a presenter at the 2015 American Pain Society Annual Scientific Meeting…
The condition is believed to be associated with how the brain processes pain and other sensory information, so opioids and narcotic analgesics are usually not effective because they do not reduce the neurotransmitter activity in the brain, according to [Daniel Clauw, MD, professor of anesthesiology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor].
“These drugs have never been shown to be effective in fibromyalgia patients, and there is evidence that opioids might even worsen fibromyalgia and other centralized pain states,” he said.
Dr. Clauw recommended a combination of pharmacologic treatments (e.g., gabapentinoids, tricyclic antidepressants and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and nonpharmacologic approaches (e.g., cognitive-behavioral therapy, exercise and stress reduction).
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