No matter how far we reach with technology (both in the field of personal use and in the field of medical use) and no matter how far we have come when it comes to learning more about our own bodies, the truth is that there are still many mysteries lurking around the medical world.
A cure to cancer has not yet been discovered – and cancer has been out there, properly researched, for a very long time. And even more than that, cancer is not the only medical condition that has not been actually elucidated yet.
For instance, fibromyalgia is one of the medical conditions out there that are still considered to be mysterious. For a long time, specialists did not even believe fibromyalgia is a stand-alone condition that should be researched as such.
For most of them, it was a very physical form of depression. Even nowadays fibromyalgia is very tightly connected to depression and some of the medication prescribed in treating it is also used in treating depression.
Fibromyalgia and What We Know
Fibromyalgia feels a lot like a mystery written by Agatha Christie – it’s just that its ending has not been written yet. One clue leads to another one and the actual “murderer” is yet to be found. Fibromyalgia may not be deadly – but it is indeed a condition that can severely alter the quality of one’s life, to the point where the life is constricted to lying around the house and not being able to do much simply because the pain and the symptoms are much too severe.
Little is known about fibromyalgia until now – we know that it is a syndrome and that its symptoms can be different from one patient to another one. We also know that several theories have been put forward as to what exactly causes fibromyalgia.
Apparently, the low levels of serotonin in one’s body can affect the way in which the body feels pain- and this is the onset of what we call “fibromyalgia”. Some connect this to trauma brought to the vertebral spine or to the brain. Others connect it to lack of sleep, depression and other conditions. And more and more people out there actually connect it to genetics.
According to this last group of researchers, fibromyalgia is caused by the alteration made in the genes of a person, which consequently makes this syndrome a hereditary one. Although it is still in the research phase this theory may show us with further insight into the reasons why fibromyalgia develops (and therefore into the ways in which one can make it go away).
Sleep disturbances, fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, irritable bladder syndrome, depression, anxiety, the restless leg syndrome, problems with the thyroid, muscle spasms, muscle pain, muscle twitching, headaches, dizziness, cognitive disorders (such as not being able to remember things, fogginess and so on) – all these symptoms (and more) can actually fall under the “fibromyalgia” category.
With so many symptoms and with so many other conditions overlapping on the same set of symptoms, it is no wonder that it took quite some time for researchers to develop an actual test able to spot fibromyalgia. At first, doctors tested 18 tender points found on the human body and the responsiveness of the patient to pressing on these points.
But nowadays there is a test (FM/a) which is able to search precisely for elements in the human blood that are specific to patient with fibromyalgia. The downside of this particular test is related to the fact that it is still new out there and that means that most of the insurance companies will not cover it though.
Fibromyalgia and the Approved Treatment for It
Fibromyalgia has no actual cure – you cannot take a pill and make it go away (or at least not yet). However, researchers have put forward a series of types of medication that have proved to be efficient in many of the cases that have been studied. Here are the fibromyalgia drugs approved by Food and Drug Administration in the Unites States of America:
Lyrica this is the first drug approved to treat fibromyalgia and it was approved to do it in 2007. Marketed by Pfizer Inc., this drug was originally intended to treat diabetic peripheral neuropathy, seizures and pain related to the shingles rash. However, it was later on approved for fibromyalgia as well. Do bear in mind that this drug can show adverse effects, including dizziness, lack of concentration, poor memory, weight gain, swelling of the hands and legs, dry mouth and so on. Also, some people have developed allergic reactions to this drug as well.
Cymbalta is marketed by Eli Lilly and Co. and it has been FDA approved to treat fibromyalgia in 2008. Originally, it was created to treat anxiety, depression and diabetic peripheral neuropathy. Currently, people are warned that there may be side effects to this drug as well, including dry mouth, constipation, nausea, decreased appetite and excessive sweating. Cymbalta can also increase the suicidal thoughts in some people, the same way most of the antidepressants out there can do.
Savella is marketed by Forest Pharmaceuticals Inc. and it has been approved in 2009 to treat fibromyalgia from the very beginning. In the United States, this drug is not used to treat depression, but it behaves the same way as antidepressants, which means that there can be side effects that are encountered in their case as well. Suicidal thoughts, sweating, vomiting, increased heart rate and high blood pressure, nausea, insomnia, dizziness and constipation are some of these symptoms.
In the case of children and teenagers suffering from this syndrome, these drugs have not been properly researched, which is why most of the doctors out there will retain from writing prescriptions. Also, you should definitely keep in mind the fact that these drugs have been shown to have positive results in some people, but that researchers have not yet been able to see exactly why it is that these results appeared. In most of the cases, they point out the fact that the results are connected to the lower level of serotonin in the body and how these drugs affect it.