Relief from Fibromyalgia

Milnacipran for treating fibromyalgia may achieve long term pain relief

(RxWiki News) A diagnosis of fibromyalgia means you'll experience chronic, widespread pain throughout your lifetime. But medication may provide relief.

A clinical trial of milnacipran, which goes by the brand name Savella, helped patients achieve long-term pain relief. Milnacipran is already approved for the treatment of fibromyalgia, but researchers wanted to know how effective it was over a period of years. Seventy percent of patients who completed the three year study had clinically significant improvements.

"Ask your doctor about milnacipran for treating fibromyalgia."

Fibromyalgia is a condition characterized by long-term, widespread pain in the muscles, joints, tendons, and other soft tissues. Its cause is unknown, and there are also no known preventative measures.

Milnacipran is not a cure for fibromyalgia, but a treatment to help patients manage the pain. It works by increasing serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain, natural compounds that stop pain signals in the brain.

The study was led by Dr. Lesley Arnold, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. Intially, the trial included 1,227 patients. Almost 50 percent completed the full three years of the trial. Those who had the milnacipran treatment took 50 mg to 200 mg doses each day.

At the final visit, the 217 patients who were treated and stayed on the medication were evaluated. They showed improvement across a number of measures, including how they rated their pain and their physical function. Dr. Arnold said that on the scale that measured pain, milnacipran lowed patients' pain by about a third.

The most common side effect of the drug during the trial was nausea, which resulted in 20.9 percent of patients dropping out of the study.

It can be difficult to keep patients on medication for fibromyalgia for long periods of time, but the study concluded that taking milnacipran continuously is helpful and tolerable in the long-term.

The study was presented at the 2011 annual meeting of the American College of Rheumatology.

Review Date: 
November 21, 2011