Drugs to Treat Fibromyalgia Just as Likely to Harm as Help

Release Date: January 31, 2013 | By Laura Kennedy, HBNS Contributing Writer
Research Source:


  • Two medications prescribed to reduce fibromyalgia pain help and harm patients in nearly equal numbers.
  • Treatment for fibromyalgia with drugs alone should be discouraged.
  • Combining medication, exercise and counseling may be the most helpful approach to fibromyalgia.
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Among fibromyalgia patients taking either of two commonly prescribed drugs to reduce pain, 22 percent report substantial improvement while 21 percent had to quit the regimen due to unpleasant side effects, according to a new review in The Cochrane Library.

People with fibromyalgia suffer from chronic widespread pain, sleep problems and fatigue. The illness affects more than 5 million Americans, 80 percent of whom are women. The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown and currently there is no cure. Using a Quality of Life (QOL) scale for fibromyalgia, the studies reviewed reported QOL ratings lower than 15 on a scale of 0 to 100 even among patients on medications. The two medications often prescribed to treat fibromalgia are duloxetine, known by the brand name Cymbalta or milnacipran, commonly known as Savella.

“A frank discussion between the physician and patient about the potential benefits and harms of both drugs should occur,” noted the reviewers, led by Winfried Häuser, M.D. of Technische Universität München.

The authors reviewed 10 high-quality studies comprising more than 6,000 adults who received either duloxetine, milnacipran, or a placebo for up to six months. A substantial majority of study participants were middle-aged, white women.

“This is a very important study,” says Fred Wolfe, M.D. of the National Data Bank for Rheumatic Diseases. “There’s an enormous amount of advertising suggesting that these drugs really help, whereas the research data show that the improvement is really minimal.”

Treatment with drugs alone “should be discouraged,” the reviewers added. Instead, the review authors recommend a multi-faceted treatment approach including medications for those who find them helpful, exercises to improve mobility and psychological counseling to improve coping skills.

“The medical field does poorly with the treatment of fibromyalgia in general,” says Brian Walitt, M.D., M.P.H., a co-author of the review and an expert in pain syndromes at Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C. “Chasing [a cure] with medicine doesn’t seem to work.The people who seem to me to do best sort of figure it out on their own by thinking about things, getting to know themselves, and making changes in their lives to accommodate who they’ve become,” concludes Walitt.

The only other medication approved for fibromyalgia treatment in the U.S. is the anti-convulsant pregabalin, known by the brand name Lyrica. The Cochrane Library plans to publish a review of its effectiveness later this year.

Intensive neuroscientific research is needed to reveal the underlying causes of fibromyalgia and other pain syndromes, say the researchers. In the meantime, combinations of various medications as well as combinations of drug and non-drug treatments may offer better symptom control for sufferers.

TERMS OF USE: This story is protected by copyright. When reproducing any material, including interview excerpts, attribution to the Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health, is required. While the information provided in this news story is from the latest peer-reviewed research, it is not intended to provide medical advice or treatment recommendations. For medical questions or concerns, please consult a health care provider.


For More Information:

Reach the Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health, at (202) 387-2829 or hbns-editor@cfah.org.

The Cochrane Library (http://www.thecochranelibrary.com) contains high quality health care information, including systematic reviews from The Cochrane Collaboration. These reviews bring together research on the effects of health care and are considered the gold standard for determining the relative effectiveness of different interventions.

HäuserW, Urrútia G, Tort S, ÜçeylerN,Walitt B. Serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) for fibromyalgia syndrome. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD010292. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD010292.

Tags for this article:
Women's Health   Pain   Make Good Treatment Decisions  

Comments on this article
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Amy Marie Perkins says
January 31, 2013 at 10:26 AM

I tried Savella and the side effects were HORRIBLE. I thought I was dying. That is the only way I know how to describe it. Cymbalta's side effects outweighed any benefit at all. As a matter of fact, there were not ANY benefits of Cymbalta either. As for Lyrica, unfortunately, was not much better. My fibromyalgia is very stubborn. Good luck with the studies~

Sonia L. says
January 31, 2013 at 10:36 AM

I completely agree with Amy, if you missed a dose of Savella it was like you had a fibro flair up but also couldn't even move! Cymbalta made me bananas and Lyrica is just uhmn... when talking about good affects or bad. There doesn't seem to be much of a difference except if you take too much you're going to sleep. Fibromyalgia is so hard to deal with that doctors don't want to give us false hope. I however, vastly approve of the use of medical marijuana in this instance. It's very helpful but, not everyone will want or can go that way!

Alisa Moran says
January 31, 2013 at 10:38 AM

I've tried all three and each was bad in their own way. Cymbalta was the worst though, it gave me pains I didn't have before and zombied me out. Glad I'm off all of them. Now I take some nortriptylin and that helps the best. Still have lots of pain, but the nortriptylin and some viccoprofin and I can move better with less pain.

Lucinda says
January 31, 2013 at 10:40 AM

I have been taking cymbalta for years and it seems to make things bearable not perfect but I can function or maybe it is a combination of all the meds I take there are too many of them if you ask me.. If I don't take my meds I can't move or function so I take them and am thankful I can function. Guess I am not really sure which ones do it or what combination just thank full it works and I don't mess with the combination as long as it works.

Wanda says
January 31, 2013 at 10:46 AM

I took Lyrica and their side effects were terrible. I am on low dose of Cymbalta and the pain is just barely tolerable. My doc will not change or upgrade it.

Robin Milliken says
January 31, 2013 at 10:47 AM

I have taken Svella in which it was helpful for about 2 weeks. The Cymbalta I have not taken eventhough it has been stressed to try because of medical familial history, so I am truly not a candidtate for it. As far as Lyrica goes I took that for a period of time.It seemed to help more with mobility for me than pain,but it messed my eyes up to the point I had to replace my glasses. This is a very difficult physical issue and I was able to stay ahead of it for 15 ish years,but it has gotten so I can not work any longer. What I do not understand is why it is believed that excercise is such a good thing for keeping us mobile.I do believe that anyone with this condition needs to do the best they can doing whatever they can on any given day. That is all I can do each day and my personality is to not one to give up, but there seemed to come a time that I had to be sensible for myself. Meds Just don't do much,or arm harmful in my case

mandi says
January 31, 2013 at 10:48 AM

I agree that Cymbalta and Savella are the worst drugs out there! I never felt as sick as when I took just one of those, at the lowest dose also!. I have been taking Lyrica since before it was "Lyrica", it helps but not like I would like it to. When I don't take it, I feel AWFUL! Probably the best thing that helps my Fibro is not laying around the house and doing nothing. If I do that I get major stiffness and sore all over. Must do all lots of stretching and massage too!

Shelley says
January 31, 2013 at 11:01 AM

I have both Lupus and Fibromyalgia and for the past year took Lyrica to help with the everyday pains, along with several others. I wasn't completely satisfied with the results but it did help. Recently I was took off Lyrica and put on Sulfasalazine (azulfidine) and the side effects of this is absolutely horrible. I have a constant headache, I feel nauseated constantly, have completely lost my appetite and my vision is blurry even with my glasses. Not to mention, it has not helped the pain at all. I have never tried cymbalta or savella but sounds like something to be avoided.

chestine says
January 31, 2013 at 11:03 AM

I have been taking cymbalta for four months, I am pain free but I am still stiff and sore. The first few months the side effects were horrible but not as bad as the pain without it. The Dr. kept telling me the side effects would go away he was right. I take xanax at night I sleep better than I have in many years. Before cymbalta I had tried everything it would help somewhat with side effects but I still had pain. I hope this keeps working.

Shelia says
January 31, 2013 at 11:04 AM

I take Savella, at this point and time I am not sure it is helping. But then if I skip a dose its awful. I have tried cymbalta but it makes my migraines so much worse..I can't take Lyrica, it causes my A-Fib to act up. I did try physical therapy and it was worse. Its like a double edge sword..What do we do!!!!!

Debbie says
January 31, 2013 at 11:09 AM

I took Savella for two weeks and I really believe if I had taken it any longer it would have killed me. That stuff has to be poison. I've been off of it for 4 days and I'm still sick. There is nothing out there I can take. It is so upsetting to know I have to live in all this pain and no one can find something for me to take without it "killing" me.

Sheri says
January 31, 2013 at 11:11 AM

I have another appointment with my doctor today and he has talked about putting me on Cymbalta. NOT! Earlier he put me on Lyrica and I turned into a zombie but it did nothing for two of my friends. My doctor is a D.O. and usually gives me a treatment and that helps some. I do try to stay active as much as possible but some days it is all I can do to take the dog out for his duty.

Brenda says
January 31, 2013 at 11:15 AM

I agree that Cymbalta is the worse I could not take that at all! I agree with Lucinda to many Meds... I do take a high dose of Lyrica, I have been on it for about 3 years and with a combination of all my medications my life can be bearable some times I just want to crawl under my desk and dye! But I just take everyday as it is and some how we make it though it.
I wish the goverment would try more reserch to help find a cure.

Debra Gibbs says
January 31, 2013 at 11:16 AM

I was on Lyrica. It took my eyesight to an all time low. I have since stopped the medication and I had surgery to correct my eyes. The other two meds that you mention I can not have because I have had Cancer and it is suggested that if you ever had Cancer do not take. So I am at a loss when it comes to these medications. Right now my Doctor has me on the morphine patch. It does help CURB the pain, but I am to the point that I feel nothing will take it away except for the Medicinal Marijuana. Yes I have tried it over the years to ease the pain and it works.. It relaxes you to a point where the pain dulls like a very soothing song. NO I do not get HIGH. I actually have only take a few puffs off of a pipe that is all that I needed to calm it all down. So since New Jersey has the legal medicinal Marijuana available we are now checking into that. I personally would rather that then using the morphine patch that we all know is very addicting. Thankfully I only use the patch when it hurts to no end. So it will stay off the addicting part.
If you are going to give clear thoughts to studies, I would like to see you include the Medicinal Marijuana under controlled usage and compare the results to the other drugs mentioned.

nancy says
January 31, 2013 at 11:45 AM

I have tried cymbalta and neurontin in the past with no relief. I have been on opiate regimen with flexeril and amitriptyline at night. I have constant pain still but it is generally tolerable and I am functional. I have been on this for almost 3 yrs now after many different trials of various medications.

alisha says
January 31, 2013 at 11:50 AM

My dr has me taking lyrica, savella, cymbalta, and tizanadine. He wanted me to take them both morning and and night but I have stop taking all of them in the morning due to the side effects. I am 28 with 2 children and cannot function all doped up. I also stopped taking the savella and lowered the dosages myself to my tolerance. I have a very aggressive dr who doesn't really listen just likes to up the meds.

Frances says
January 31, 2013 at 12:06 PM

Currently on Neurontin day and night and Nortryptinol at bedtime, along with Mobic daily for arthritis. As long as I don't miss a dose, my pain is managed.

Gina says
January 31, 2013 at 3:24 PM

All of the comments, just show how different we all are, and why treating Fibromyalgia is so hard. I have been on everything under the sun, Neurontin, Nortryptinol, Amitriptyline, Lyrica, and some I don't remember the name ... all effected me something terrible, with being zombied out, gave me major migraines, non stop throwing up, you name it as a side effect, I had it. Cymbalta (60mg), combined with Flexeril, is the first treatment that has given me any relief at all. I am almost back to a normal function person, with flareups, only if I super duper over do it. I am able to exercise four times a week, with no flare ups, and foods are bothering me less than they used to.

Judy says
January 31, 2013 at 3:58 PM

I am on Cymbalta 60 mg one time a day, the pain and stiffness never goes away, even with the other meds i take. I'm on CeleBREX 200mg one time a day, but I still hurt just like I have the flu..I have to take Tramadol several times a day to be able to cope with the pain. A Problem i have found with all these Medications, they cause weight gain. i have tried taking Flexeril, it makes me so sleepy i can't hold my head up, even taking 5mg..

Robin Isle says
February 11, 2013 at 5:38 PM

I have Fibromyalgia. Daily I take a regimen of Cymbalta; Lyrica; Topiramate;Valium. I use Percocet PRN; Morphine Cream PRN for body pain from head to toe.I also take Prenatal Vitamins, B-Complex w/Folic Acid and Vitamin C; and Fish Oil. Some days are better than others, but I am in constant pain. I never wake up refreshed. I have "foggy hazy days". Days when I cannot operate a vehicle. i admit that I fall down occasionally. "clumsy". My fingertips and my toes tingle from the Lyrica. A numb feeling. That's my take on the medical scene. Without medication I fear what my life would be like. Worse than this? I cannot imagine it being any more painful than this. It is miserable! Others don't understand; when your intentions were good. When you suddenly can't make events because you are taken ill with flu like symptoms that you cannot shake. I cannot begin to tell you how many events I have missed due to chronic nagging pain. It makes you hate your life.

Camie says
February 15, 2013 at 12:53 AM

I had complete issues with Cymbalta, I know I wasnt supposed to but I stopped it cold turkey about a month ago, and while i have more pain generally my quality of life has triplicated since I stopped taking it. I didn't realize just how seriously the drug was effecting my life. I mean for the first time in 2 years I have nails that actually are strong and grow, I didn't realize it but my depression was so bad I couldnt do much but cry and hide to get away from my anxieties. I put on weight and even a few times got close to harmful thoughts. I was very anti medication to treat fibro in the first place, i really dont think i will go back on another any time soon.

Jo-Anne W - SA Australia says
February 17, 2013 at 4:07 AM

I have fibromyalgia i have been on no longer take tramadol couldn't even get off of the couch when my then dr say how bad i was took me off Lyrica made me put on heaps of weight Cymbalta did nothing but gave really bad side effects interferring with weeing pooing Cymbalta was so horrible refused to take it numbness something with S made my turn black blue as well as other side effects tried methadone went back to the way i was before i went on Norspan patches although the pain in my feet legs thighs & some pain over neck down back relieve i'm allergic to the patch it's so itchy leaves me looking like patchwork quilt begin last year pain in all over back worsened and pain in other areas returning more each day went up 25mcg to 30mcg needs to be upped more and changed drs as the one last year wouldn't even give me a script for Panadeine Forte had to beg my specialist this year when i saw him wrote it in letter so he'd prescribe it also told seeing another dr i've know since 17 yrs made me take blood tests taking under 2yrs Vit B12 inj every 3 months helps taken of Lipitor as affecting med so the only meds i'm taking are Panadeine Forte up to 6 a day & Norspan Patches 30mcg but need to be increased again as nothing else works.

Jo-Anne W - SA Australia says
February 17, 2013 at 4:17 AM

Forgot to mention that i'm 50 yrs 51 late in the year sorry for some of the errors also left out heaps of other sides effect and meds like mobic cheers!

Anna says
February 17, 2013 at 11:27 AM

I have used both cymbalta and am currently on Savella. I am doing well for me. The key is exercise, even if you hurt. Any exercise produces natural pain relief, endorphins. I always feel better when I am done my walk. Walk, not run. Walking uses every major muscle in the body. Start slow and increase gradually. The fm person never gets to phase 4 sleep where the body produces hormones that mend the tears in the muscles from the daily activity. For this reason everything must be done slowly and slightly increase depending on how your doing. A sleep med that simulates phase 4 does not help create hormones but you do get the rest you would not get without it. The latest research I have read said it is a malfunction of the brain. That is why so many systems are affected. I think they are getting close to a cure. I have had it since childhood.

LaVonne says
March 3, 2013 at 5:47 PM

The first medication I was put on was Cymbalta and even at the lowest dose I felt, looked and acted drunk. The worst feeling ever. Switched to Savella 50 mg morning and night and it has been very good for me. Yes I still have pain but it is bearable. I walk for 45 minutes every day and even though I hurt when I start, I have no pain when I finish. I also do aerobic pool therapy once a week. The single most beneficial thing I do though is get an hour long massage with reflexology every other week. The massage gives me as much relief as anything else that has been tried. I have to change doctors soon as the doctor I was seeing has moved out of state. I may be starting the medicine trial period all over again as I know different doctors have varying opinions on how to treat fibro.

TAllen says
March 18, 2013 at 7:10 PM

I'v tried Cymbalta, Savella & Lyrica. Nothing worked. I am now on Gabapentin at a high dose. It doesn't take flares away but makes them mentally manageable to where I don't scream * cry through them. Everyone needs to keep trying. Healthy diet, keep moving even if stretching. Staying laying down or sitting will stiffen you up. It may hurt to walk around the house but try.. I hope everyone finds something that will help them. It's hit and miss. Especially the right dr. Do your research on them before you waste your time with an appointment that is going to leave you in tears..

Sophie in SW Washington State -- damp climate most says
April 22, 2013 at 11:36 PM

Hello. Diagnosed in 1993 w/sister and father same time. 59 now, sister 62, father 87. Due to life-threatening allergic reactions to morphine/opiate meds can't use patches or pills.Deal with pain by electronic TENS unit, gentle exercise and stretching, strength resistence practice 3 x week, and hot cold compress or ice and warm showers, daily coated aspirin, 40 mg generic -fluoxetine at night, vitamin D3, Potassium and magnesiun, rest of nutrients through food. Doulble the suggested amount of omega 3 fatty acids through fish, walnuts, flax, chia, green veg with omega 3's so balance of efa"s good. i actually have less pain with this increase of efas. Still have overwhelming fatigue. That gets very annoying-- fall asleep at any moment in the afternoon. Sometimes go to bed at 5 :30 pm sleep until 12 noon next day. Drink lots of water. Enjoy laughter and hearing children play. Good patient and understanding company is hard to find.
Bless you all. The struggle continues.

Shelby says
May 20, 2013 at 3:28 PM

I was just recently diagnosed with FM (which was very difficult to determine because I also have a bad back; spinal fusion at L5/S1, herniated disc at L4/L5, severe pain in middle back I suspect may be more disc degeneration, and pain that has spread up to the shoulders, neck, and jaw with frequent headaches and add to that I am without health insurance!) and have tried Cymbalta and Lyrica in the past, which I did not notice any improvement whatsoever. The doctor put me back on 75mg of Lyrica twice a day even though I told him it didn't do anything for me the first time. He said I didn't take it long enough for it to "build up" in my system for it to work. I understand the theory, but as someone who knows how it feels to be in pain 24/7, WHY and HOW am I supposed to wait around for a med to start working?!? It's aggravating because if I find that a med is not working how I expect it to, I just forget to take it because it wasn't helping in the first place! I wouldn't forget to take a med that actually works because I am also on 350mg of Soma 4x a day, 10mg of Vicodin also 4x a day. My pain management doctor had me on the Fentanyl patches (have been on all doses, up to 100mcg at varying times before and after my back surgery), but had to go off of them ONLY because I could not afford them without health insurance (which I had been on my parent's until 26 and I am now 28, will be 29 in January). My last visit to him was 4/25 and I asked him if he would prescribe them again because they helped SO MUCH and my parents were willing to pay for the Rx as long as it was going to help me be able to live a more normal life, but he refused, which ended up making me cry because I have known what works for me, but he doesn't want to put me back on it and both my parents are on the patch for their severe back pain (my dad has had 9 different back surgeries (he's kinda like the bionic man now) and two total knee replacements in the same knee because he got MRSA after the first replacement). Thankfully both of my parents have been nice enough to share a few with me every month just so I don't have to suffer, but I REALLY want to get an Rx for myself since I have been on them in the past and the only reason I had to stop was because I knew my parents couldn't afford them for me with no health insurance. Should I just keep asking him every time I see him (every 3 months) since the Lyrica does not help me? I just feel done with trying the antidepressants and nerve pain meds because THEY DON'T WORK! I cannot even hold a part time job because I'm either in too much pain, too tired, or too sick (nausea) on most days, especially in high stress jobs. I wish I could afford some kind of counseling or therapy where I could talk to someone because I have a lot of unwarranted stress/anxiety/depression. I am not good at talking about my feelings with people I know because I don't need their criticisms or advice, I just want someone to listen and not dismiss or invalidate my feelings. I understand my feelings about some things may not be right, but I just want someone to tell me it's ok to feel how I feel because I just can't change those feelings.

Katharine says
July 3, 2013 at 7:12 AM

I haven't seen one drug listed in the above posts that I have not taken. I live 24/7 in pain that cannot be described to a well person. I have now been completely bedridden for 7 years. My husband brings me my food, takes care of my bathroom needs, and he along with 2 daughters give me a weekly bath.
Since my diagnosis 13 years ago, I have lost all of my many friends ( how many times can a friend say " I'm sorry" and " what can I do for you?". Especially when you can reciprocate any friendly gestures?
I am not old. But I am ready to go. I live in Mississippi where there are no doctors who even treat F.M. I just get whatever the most popular drug for the moment prescribed for me by a Pain Clinic which is several hours from me. Since I am in bed, getting there is all but impossible.
My arms and thighs are a huge heap if painful lumps now. I have no idea where they came from or if they will ever go away; but a hug is the thing I am most afraid of right now. Death is the thing I look forward to.
Is there anyone else who knows how this feels?

Leah says
July 22, 2013 at 8:08 PM

Anna, my symptoms are close to yours. I get many foggy days and working a full-time job is very hard for me. The pain is bad but the fogginess is the worst and I never have energy. I also have OCD very bad with germs and was initially put on cymbalta for it but felt no relieve for my fibromyalgia. Cymbalta made me very sick and kinda crazy. I actually got fainting spells on it. I was put on Zoloft and it helped my OCD a lot but did nothing for my fibro... Eventually the side effects of Zoloft were too much for me also. The only remedies I have found have been weekly massages and yoga for the pain but nothing helps with the lathargicness.

Tim says
August 12, 2013 at 12:00 PM

I had to quit taking Lyrica because of weight gain and cost. I quit months ago and the rebound fibro pain has been the worst I have had in 15 years. I have also developed dizziness and brain zaps.

Michelle says
August 17, 2013 at 11:53 PM

I always wondered why my neck always hurt so badly. Found out that i do in fact have fibro.. The Flare Ups are unbelievable pain. I think by now society needs to understand this illness better...more awareness is needed. You see all the commercials for Lyrica...well thats the only one thats helped me a bit. Im going off Savella realizing it causes more pain than anything.
My question is...i have mine mostly in my neck and upper shoulder regions...im also looking at how stress contributes to fibro
Anyone suffer mostly from neck pain...and what works for you.
Truthfully, all these stories are kinda upsetting me...
And Does one get worse as the years go on with it??
Is there severe progression?
thankyou all
im a "Newbie"

Karen says
August 20, 2013 at 12:43 AM

I have tried Cymbalta, Neurontin, Lyrica, and now Savella. Cymbalta made me want to die, Neorontin and Lyrica made my entire body swell up. I am on day 5 of the titration pack of Savella which means I am on 25 mg twice a day building up to 50 mg per day. I feel awful, I can't sleep, I am edgy, and I hurt.

Debi says
August 21, 2013 at 10:19 PM

Karen, I am right where you are. Tried the anti-seizure meds and got nothing but weight gain. Tried Cymbalta and it did not help my pain one bit. I went through the titration pack of Savella and started the 50mg twice a day about a week ago. So far I have nothing good to report, maybe it is too soon. I do know that I have been feeling sick and break out in cold sweats and feel nauseous and clammy at times, and I am wondering if it is when I am past time to take a dose. If it is so, I can't deal with that for long. I'll have to pay closer attention to the times when I feel like that, but I sure do not need that on top of the pain.

dez says
August 29, 2013 at 1:16 PM

I have suffered Fibromyalgia for over thirty years.
I have found the following helpful.

Try low doses of endep.
10mg at night and morning.

Also try Allopurinol to help body to strip acid out.

Drink plenty of water.

The latest research seems to be pointing to Lactic acidosis and ADP issues lying at the heart of the problem.
Because all types of cells are influenced by this problem. This explains the long and varied list of complaints.

Best wishes on your coping efforts.

Kevin says
September 6, 2013 at 7:38 PM

I have had fibromyalgia for seearvl years and they have tried just about everything on me. I have been to one specialist after another and finally found one at Toronto Western Hopspital who deals mainly with people who have fibro. This guy is fantastic he told me things that were happening to me that I didn't tell anyone before. This Doctor does a lot of research in fibro and has been written up in the docors journals. I told him all the meds I was on and his response was this Lyrica works for the pain it has to be taken every twelve hours to work effectively, As I have difficulty with depression (due to poor sleep) I take Effexor at night, this is also a sleep aid; because i have insomina I also take a sleeping pill. Now the result is these do knock me out for a good eight hours, however he also told me that because I have fibro no matter how long I sleep I do not get a proper or normal sleep, I find this to be very true. I have found something that gives me energy and it is not a perscribed medication, now for me it works and it is finally nice to be able to do things on my own without help, it is called Flex Protex. If you want to give it a try they do have a web site. Now I live in Canada and I am 52 years old and have lived and fought this disease for almost half of my life. I have been diagnosed with Cronic Fibromyalgia, and with comes IBS, Insomnia, depression not to mention all that lovely pain. I have finally found ways to work with all of this. While there will always be some medication that I have to take there is also the holistic way that is much healthy for me. The less chemicals I put in my body the better I am.I watch my diet very carefully, staying away from all processed foods and dairy and breads/pasta, incuding potatoes they are a killer. It's not always easy to do this but if you can avoid as much of these as possible I think you will find it will help you. Good Luck Karlynn.

Mandy says
September 26, 2013 at 4:12 PM

I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia this year. I've been complaining of allover body pain for years but couldn't get any doctor to seriously listen. The pain was such that I swore I had bone cancer (I think I read that in someone else's post above). Each time I went to see a new doctor, I got a new medicine for one of the many fibro symptoms. One doctor prescribed Effexor XR 150 mg on a visit and it seemed to help my depression. Then I was prescribed xanax for my anxiety by another doctor. Another visit's outcome was a muscle relaxer for my migraines.... etc...
I've just started on the Cymbalta and am hopeful but at the same time nervous. The worst problem right now is the witdrawls from the effexor! I can only explain it as "brain shocks" - they're awful! No one will ever prescribe pain medications - I'm sure that's b/c they're cracking down on abuse of those meds but if I hear, "just exercise through the pain" again I'll scream!! I tried Lyrica for 3 whole days - I've never been suicidal until I took that med. I will never do it again! I forgot to mention that I've started clenching my teeth (a result of constant pain). It's caused my bite to change so much that I've bitten a whole through my bottom lip!!! My story sounds similar to all those I've read here - we're all just looking for some relief! Thankfully, I have been able to keep my full time job b/c I need the insurance, although it's very hard to do. I do miss alot of days b/c of the fibro pain and I just hold my breath and pray that a pink slip never comes. I'm only in my mid-30's and I feel disgusted at the way I feel sometimes. Thank you for sharing your stories! I wish the best to you all!

October 5, 2013 at 2:08 AM


Kirsty says
October 8, 2013 at 7:11 PM

I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia just under a year ago. I go for weekly treatments at the chiropractor and I go monthly for a deep tissue massage. These treatments are all temporary relief. I have been on 4 x Tramacet tablets a day, coxflam and trepiline ( 2 x tabs a night). My rheumatologist has now changed my medication regime to now Tramacet, Trepiline, Lyrica and Vimovo. I have been horrified at all the posts I am reading in connection with the side effects of all these meds. It is truly insane. The last bout of meds I have been on, has most certainly changed my life - but not in a good way. Yes, the pain is relatively under control with a few days a week being really bad, but I have become a complete hermit. I dont go out, I sleep all the time, I have no energy whatsoever and exercise seems to exhaust me more. Some days are okay - but most mornings I wake up tired and very stiff. I often roll around on golf balls at night, just to try and relieve the inflammation on the top of my back. I use heating pads regularly - and much like the chiro and deep tissue massages, its all very temporary relief. I am a single mom and a national sales manager at my company and this condition is most certainly effecting me in every aspect and worst of all - PEOPLE DONT UNDERSTAND AND THEY ALL THINK ITS JUST A BIT OF BACK PAIN!!!!! I am petrified of all the medication i am on - I am 33 years old and feel like Iam 80! So here is my question: Is there any possible way to cut out ALLthe medication and try a natural and herbal route????? I cant handle taking all these meds!!! All this horrific medication cant be the only answer, surely??????

shanna myhand says
October 14, 2013 at 1:08 PM

I have had fibro for 3 years, after the birth of my daughter my symptoms appeared. Been to many doctors, many issues for being a 29 year old mom. I'm in constant pain, migraines, shoulders, neck, back, tailbone, legs and knees. I have zero support, became homeless with my children two years ago because everyone thought it was just in my head. Im on norco 10mg 5x day, and 12mcg fentanyl and I just hate living with a condition thats uncontrollable everyday

jenny says
November 25, 2013 at 4:26 PM

I have fibro it is very painful pain and neck arms legs and back. I get a lot of burning pain on my face and pins and needles on hands feet. I also get very bad irritable bowel symptons. I take cymlbalta and lyricia.Its hard to get out of bed. I took myself off savella because side effects. It's a struggle to live life like this and waiting to get disability for two years what a joke

Teresa says
November 26, 2013 at 6:22 PM

I was diagnosed with fm about 20 years ago but never really took it seriously. I thought it was just my body fussing at me for doing the "wrong" things. I was on cymbalta for a long time for depression and decided to stop taking it cold turkey. My body hurt so bad that I could hardly walk. Started doing some research and found out that cymbalta helps with fm pain. Once I started back on it I feel so much better. I still have pain but at least now it's bearable! Going to start an exercise regime and perhaps some swimming and massage will help also. Good luck all.

Annette says
December 6, 2013 at 1:36 AM

I take 60mg of Cymbalta and 150 Mg of Tramadol and I am pain free. I still have the other issues with Fybromalgia but at least the pain is manageable. My worse problems are with fatigue and Fibro fog. Is there anyone out there that knows what helps for these problems? I am always in a daze and have poor memory to the extent that I lost my job,

Glenda says
December 6, 2013 at 11:35 PM

I have had FM for 3-4 years since my discectomy surgery (C4, 5, 6 & 7). It is amazing to hear your stories. This "disease" makes you feel so alone. I am on gabapentin, Cymbalta and Norco. I don't like the meds, but can't stand the pain w/o the meds. I have actually considered having my spinal cord severed so as not to feel the pain. It is CRAZY to think that is your only hope. It is true that people don't understand... I don't understand it and neither do the doctors. It truly sucks. I have been offered a new job, but had to do the pre-employment drug testing and who knows what that will bring. I mostly worry because I just can't get out of bed some mornings. I've always been an active person and an athlete, but having FM has changed everything. My husband is a remarkable man and is very supportive and loving. He insists we will find a solution to this problem and I hope he is right, although I don't believe we will. It seems we all have the same problem... either drugged up with the result of minimized pain, or no drugs and incapacitated by pain. What to do? I wish I knew. Just keep moving I guess. I have told my husband I can't imagine living like this for another 30 years (I am 55) and it scares him. It scares me too. Let's pray for a miracle.

Dianne says
December 8, 2013 at 7:37 PM

I was diagnosed with Lupus 13-yrs ago and it seems Fibro came along for a ride. I'm on so many drugs. One to fix a problem that causes another problem, so another pill is prescribed etc: Effexor, Cymbalta, meloxicam, Micardis, tizanidine, omeprazole not to mention a bunch of Calcium, magnesium, zinc, B6,Folic Acid, B12. I just read an article " Fibromyalgia - possible causes and implications for treatment". at http://drmyhill.co.uk/wiki/Fibromyalgia_-_possible_causes_and_implications_for_treatment. Diet AND exercise may have a lot to do with fixing this condition. I know after I walk a bit, the pain is diminished quite a bit. Good Luck to all of us!

dnick says
January 10, 2014 at 4:14 AM

I wish people would not just say side effects and list them so we can see if we are having the same,

J says
February 23, 2014 at 11:29 PM

Does anyone have hot spots in their head. Near the forehead and eyebrow area? What about Accelerated heart rate?
I was on 90 mg and my pain was disappearing and all of the sudden all these Symptoms to occurred! I am 55 I had two operations C4, C5,C6 and then a year latter C3 &C7 became unstable.
After the first surgery I was Diagnosed with fibromyalgia. The pain was unbearable!
I was on so many drugs I could stand it any more. So after months of Wheening my off certain drugs so I can go on Cymbalta, then this?
Can anyone help

Upsett Hubby says
February 25, 2014 at 5:52 PM

I got so upsett with my wife one day. I thought i could switch off by taking a big rum and coke. But i knew my wife woukd be watching and get upsett. Sooo i took one of her 150mg Lyrica tablets. I hoped it would calm me down. Help me switch off. It did nothing, nothing, nothing. What is that stuff. Just a placebo pill or something. What a disappointment. Should have had the rum and coke.

Andrea says
March 5, 2014 at 10:09 PM

I have had chronic painsince 2008. I think the medicines are trial and error. They all have side effects. Amitriptyline worked well for the pain but made me sleepy. Lyrica is not controlling my pain and Savella made me fee nauseus and sick. I cant find a medications which doesn't have side effects.I think there should be more research in pain management.

Cheryl says
March 12, 2014 at 6:12 PM

I have been taking Cymbalta for 5 days and feel just AWFUL. It has alleviated most of my fibro pain, but the side effects are making me wonder what's worse. I have had constant nausea, diarrhea, loss of appetite, headaches, nerve twitching, drowsiness, agitation and I just overall feel like a zombie. Do the side effects ever get better?

FEDupWpain says
March 30, 2014 at 7:43 PM

I have had Fibro for 10 years. I was given Cymbalta and the side effects were horrible! I was a zombie or sleeping most of the day and it didn't take away any of the pain! Lyrica wasn't much better and I had to stop because it gave me a migraine that lasted 2 weeks! I found something that DOES work for me, after needing a root canal and being prescribed Codiene, I was so happy to find it took away my pain COMPLETELY for 4 hours! as soon as it wore off the pain was back but only one pill gives me four HOURS pain free! I'm so mad that traditional medical doctors rarely even consider this! I know, I know, they're worried about addiction. How about worrying more about actually HELPING the patients pain? Don't treat us as addicts, give us a prescription and monitor our usage. We should be able to have access to meds that help us. I'd rather take a drug with that worry than the others they give that damage organs etc. One pill every other day for 4 hours pain relief is a godsend! You only get addicted if you take it every day or keep increasing the dose. No need to increase the dose if you don't take it every day, duh.

lilian says
April 23, 2014 at 5:01 AM

I had been suffering from a Neurofibromatoses disease for the last four years and had constant pain, especially in my knees. During the first year i have been wondering of how to get a cure, by faith in God I would be healed.This NF1 disease has been trying to circulate all over my body and i have been taken treat from my doctor, few weeks age i came to the internet if i could get any information concerning the prevention of this disease, on my search i saw a testimony of a sister who has been healed (Fibromyalgia) by this Man Dr Molemen and many other`s. well she gave the email address of this man and advise we should contact him of any sickness that he would be of help, so i wrote to Dr Molemen telling him about my (Neurofibromatoses) disease he told me not to worry that i was going to be cured!! uhmm i never believed this,, well after all the procedures and remedy given to me by this man few weeks later i started experiencing changes all over me, and suddenly after some time i was finally healed, friends i will advise if you have any sickness at all you can email Dr Molemen on : ( drmolemenspiritualtemple@gmail.com) or call him on +2347036013351) sir i am indeed grateful for the help i will forever recommend you to my friends!!!

Nancy Cooper says
April 26, 2014 at 7:24 PM

Even though it is not prescribed for Fibromyalgia, I took Topamax 100 mg 2x day to help with my pain and it worked for about 5 years. I was in terrible pain and nothing helped for years. I am now starting to have a few episodes again, but all in all not weekly like before YET. I am 62 now and suffered since a young girl w/pain and my Grandmother had it too. So, I fear it will be back and cannot bear the thought so God Bless All Of You! Hope this post helps.

MamaC says
May 4, 2014 at 10:52 PM

I am a 46 year old mother of 3. All kids by c- section. I have had ovarian surgery 5 times from the age of 16-35, and seem to be fine now. Had twins at age 23 a couple second trimester miscarriages and then a healthy baby when I was 36. I used to be very active with v-ball, b-ball, and bs-ball. I have 1 terrible knee, 5 surgeries on it. I have had 2 lumbar back surgeries, and 1 cervical, I do not have a gallbladder and have had carpel tunnel and shoulder surgery, to be blunt my body really needs to go to science. Anyway December 2013 I got a migraine, before then only having them 3 other times in my life. This one didn't go away I was in bed drugged for a week straight, it was like I put on a bandana of pain, stabbing pain in my right eye and in the back of my scull on the right, and the rest of my head just a horrible ache. The 8 day I had some relief. This is an on going problem now I know is associated with FM. In February after a secon opinion I have accepted the Fibromialgia diagnosis. I am on 60 mg of cymbalta and have been for depression and to help with the nerve stiffness in my neck, which has gotten almost unbearable again. I was put on topimax 25mg-am 25mg-pm until I went to a neurologist because my MRI showed white matter on my right lobe?? Still don't know why but he assures me 100% it's not a tumor. Anyway he upped the topimax to 100 mg at night. My PMD started me on lyrica 3 weeks ago I take 150 mg daily 75mg am and 75mg-pm I am not finding much difference on the lyrica but I will stick it out for 1 more mo. If I have learned anything it's to get it in your system and give it a chance, they all need time to work, not that I can afford 350. After insurance and discount card and the cymbalta is generic now but that's 200, a mo.i forgot how much the topimax is, I am functioning now but not well, I go to work, come home and make dinner and I'm done and in bed with my 10 yr old, I feel for my husband but he sees the pain and knows I really struggle. There is a cranial therapy anyone tried it?

MamaC says
May 11, 2014 at 11:30 PM

I am a 46 year old mother of 3. All kids by c- section. I have had ovarian surgery 5 times from the age of 16-35, and seem to be fine now. Had twins at age 23 a couple second trimester miscarriages and then a healthy baby when I was 36. I used to be very active with v-ball, b-ball, and bs-ball. I have 1 terrible knee, 5 surgeries on it. I have had 2 lumbar back surgeries, and 1 cervical, I do not have a gallbladder and have had carpel tunnel and shoulder surgery, to be blunt my body really needs to go to science. Anyway December 2013 I got a migraine, before then only having them 3 other times in my life. This one didn't go away I was in bed drugged for a week straight, it was like I put on a bandana of pain, stabbing pain in my right eye and in the back of my scull on the right, and the rest of my head just a horrible ache. The 8 day I had some relief. This is an on going problem now I know is associated with FM. In February after a secon opinion I have accepted the Fibromialgia diagnosis. I am on 60 mg of cymbalta and have been for depression and to help with the nerve stiffness in my neck, which has gotten almost unbearable again. I was put on topimax 25mg-am 25mg-pm until I went to a neurologist because my MRI showed white matter on my right lobe?? Still don't know why but he assures me 100% it's not a tumor. Anyway he upped the topimax to 100 mg at night. My PMD started me on lyrica 3 weeks ago I take 150 mg daily 75mg am and 75mg-pm I am not finding much difference on the lyrica but I will stick it out for 1 more mo. If I have learned anything it's to get it in your system and give it a chance, they all need time to work, not that I can afford 350. After insurance and discount card and the cymbalta is generic now but that's 200, a mo.i forgot how much the topimax is, I am functioning now but not well, I go to work, come home and make dinner and I'm done and in bed with my 10 yr old, I feel for my husband but he sees the pain and knows I really struggle. There is a cranial therapy anyone tried it?

Mary, Wilmington NC says
May 19, 2014 at 6:51 PM

Im shocked to hear how many of you had a hard time taking Cymbalta. I was on 90 mg daily, but the FDA said you need nothing over 60 mgs. I love cymbalta. I had a ruptured liver in 2008 and have been on 60 mgs of morphine er sultate since. I also take hydrocodone and flexeril for myfibromyalgia, which doesnt help much best with break through pain. I am going to talk with my dr. About taking tramadol, since it also helps with pain. Ill never work again because the pain is horrible and i have to live on narcotic pain meds. I hope the best for each of you. Pray, God is there to help us in time of need. I know he may not heal our pain, but praying sure helps subside it. God bless!

Neha says
May 21, 2014 at 1:40 PM

Has anyone tried taking Lyrica CR once a day for fibromyalgia? I know they had trials for it. How was the experience. I hope it was better because its once a day. Please share your experiences. Take care everyone.

Marie B says
May 25, 2014 at 7:19 PM

2 days on Cymbalta. My side effects: up every 1 1/2 all night to pee. Sweats. Hot flashes. Hard to walk I am so light headed I look drunk. Horrible pain in my upper chest. Shoulders and back of my neck. Brain fog. Want to sleep all day. Remember this is just 2 days using it. I QUIT. Can't take other pain meds for fibro and osteoarthritis because I am taking warfarin. I am very sensitive to all meds. At my wits end. Need my brain to keep my job. I use Norco for ffms flares. Depressed from all the pain. Thanks for listening. 57 yrs old.

brzghoff says
July 1, 2014 at 1:28 PM

cymbalta may help but it has many more harmful side effects. if and when you choose to get off it, you are likely to feel worse than when you went on it. it is not addictive like heroin, but there is a horrendous and serious withdrawal syndrome. not just anxiety, but outright fear in many people. negative and desperate thoughts, including self harm and suicidal thoughts. it can last a week, a month, and in some cases a year. those who take it for pain end up suffering serious depression when withdrawing even though they may not have had any history of mental illness prior. conversely, those who took it for depression and had no history of pain issues often suffer serious joint and muscle pain during withdrawal. it was only approved for pain management in the final years before it went generic. that was eli lilly's last attempt at milking more 'scrips before they lost the exclusive rights.
i am a survivor still struggling after 7 weeks off cymbalta.
check out www.cymbaltawithdrawal.com

terry says
July 22, 2014 at 8:14 PM

All the different side effects don't happen to everyone who takes all these different meds thank God because I'm lucky to be able to tolerate Cymbalta 90 mg with no problems. It helps alot but I still have alot of pain. I, on the other hand, could not tolerate mobic, or lyrica due to side effects. Im considering trying Savella with the Cymbalta. I do know taking the 2 together have the potential to cause Seritonin Syndrome but I know someone on both and its working for her so im willing to try anything. I cant start taking narcotics since I work full time as a nurse and that isnt a route I want to go! Good luck to you all and God Bless.

AS-45 says
August 7, 2014 at 3:41 PM

I'm 27 years military 24 active, I've deployed twice. I've competed at the national level in endurance sports, extremely active till a little over a year ago, was racing in ultra maratons little over 2 years ago (I'm 45). I started have undiagnosed pain after my first deployment, also diagnosed with PTSD. Docs though arthritis, negative results, pain was bearable then till last year I was laid up with epstien barr virus (mono) - things went south quick, had a nasal and low back surgery in late 2013-early 14. After the surgeries, (wish I hadn't had now) I'm lucky to manage making to the office few hours a week. Early this year I was diagnosed with both Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue syndrome. I've also been found to be drug resistant through Amplichip test (highly recommend if you having medicine reactions or they don't work). I have nonfunctional CYPD 450 2D6 alleles, pain med like percocet or any hydrocodone don't metabolize in my system, and some meds the side effect are amplified. Like every one I've tried all the above meds don't work- I take morphine sulfate 30mg twice a day keep me sane. But need to have pain med holiday for about week to keep from continually needing to increase my dose. Suck, but is best I've found. Ironically, the Veterans Administration only find the Fibromyalgia is only rated up to 40% disabling, Disappointing as the VA find Fibromyalgia automatically service connected if deployed.

Good Luck everyone

netgek53 says
September 16, 2014 at 11:28 AM

I have found all of the anti convulsants and anti depressants to be intolerable for me. I can not work or drive my car safely while on those drugs. I' screwed.

kim Smith says
September 17, 2014 at 8:07 PM

I've tried it all nothing helps the pain. Have had fibromyalgia for 20 years and I can't take my own life, but pray I will die soon

Jessica B says
October 6, 2014 at 7:49 PM

Has anyone tried evening primrose oil for your Fibro pain? I have and it made a big difference

Diana Poindexter says
October 9, 2014 at 5:54 AM

Have had Fibromyalgia for over thirty years. I take Cymbalta 30 mg, Vitamins D, B6, B12, and Tramadol 60 mg. Have been taking Cymbalta for just over a year this combination is at least taking the edge off. I try to eat right, however I now walk with a cane and in bad weather I use a walker. Haven't found anything that works 100%, but I can at least get out of bed most days and do a little housework. I am also being able to spend some time with grandchildren. People can say what they want about Cymbalta, but for me it has been a big help. I take a lot of hot baths and use a heating pad a lot. I don't sleep much at night and nap during the day. However I am always exhausted. I can't change the fact I have fibromyalgia, but I can continue to fight to have a happy life. Gentle hugs to all. God bless.

Pam A says
October 9, 2014 at 8:40 PM

I had problems with side effects with Cymbalta (low blood pressure) and Lyrica (confusion). I was afraid to try Savella but my Fibromyalgia was so bad I was barely able to function and it was triggering daily chronic migraines. So my neurologists convinced me to try it. I had been on it for 9 months and my migraines have decreased to less than 1 a week and my Fibromyalgia has increase greatly. I have also done PT this year for 3 months and I do trigger point injections to help release my tight muscles in my neck, shoulders and back. But all together it has made a huge difference in my life. I'm glad I didn't give up.

Judy says
October 28, 2014 at 9:15 AM

45 years ago my ballet teacher took me to her doctor because my muscles would not release, I would faint in class, sometimes go into all over body spasm. My body did not recover like other dancers. Over the years I have tried everything listed in above posts at some point…all with worse side effects than the fibro or simply didn't work at all. Later I was diagnosed with RA, OA, Endometriosis, Hashimoto's and fibromyalgia. I decided to make ballet my career in spite of the odds. The best medical intervention for the fibromyalgia has been the management of RA and thyroid. If either of those go off even a little, the fibromyalgia flares. I have been eating a very wholesome diet for over 35 years. I am in my 40th year of teaching ballet. I walk and exercise daily. And I rest before going to work. I decided at some point early on that if pain was going to accompany me through life that I had to push through it to have the life I wanted. There have been a few times I could not function, but they passed. I am currently on Orencia, Methotrexate, Levoxyl, a tiny bedtime dose of Lorazepam, and Advil if pain gets bad. The worst part of all of this is the disorganized and harmful way many in the medical 'profession' treat this disease through the years.

Dana says
October 30, 2014 at 3:03 AM

I have had chronic pain for 3 years and went to pain center with trigger point injections and epidurals every 3 months. They were giving me 40 MG of Percocet a day, 2 gram of metho-carbonal and Ambien for sleeping. My pain never got better. Ending up in emergency room after body shut down from the narcotic's. Finally was out of pain meds one night and talked to someone on medical marijuana and tried it had immediate relief. It is truly what GOD put on earth to help us. Was drug tested even though I had medical card for the marijuana and was forced off to keep my job. Now they are putting me on Cymbalta, Ambien, tramadol and life sucks. If you can use the medical marijuana I would highly recommend my life was moving along well till now. Don't like what I am hearing about the side effects of my new meds but have no choice. If you are retired or have a job that would allow the use of marijuana would highly recommend trying it. No side effects sleep well and felt great. When using the marijuana I got off all other meds. Good luck I know the pain.