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Why aren't chronic opioids prescribed for fibromyalgia?

Given that fibromyalgia is such a painful condition, it may seem logical to think that treatment should include chronic opioids. After all, the "tender points" that are the hallmark for diagnosing this condition are so excruciatingly painful to the slightest touch. That leads us to question why the practice of prescribing Oxycontin and similar products for round the clock relief...right?

If the truth be told, the American College of Rheumatology treatment guidelines for fibromyalgia specifically state the following in this regard:

"Doctors do not recommend opioid narcotics for treating fibromyalgia. The reason for this is that research evidence suggests these drugs are not of great benefit to most people with fibromyalgia. In fact, they may cause greater pain sensitivity or make pain persist."

There are currently three drugs on the market that have FDA approval for chronic treatment of fibromyalgia--and all three of them are antidepressants.  Whether or not to use these drugs for a given patient is between that patient and their health care team.  There are drug interactions side effects that need to be considered. There are also a number of non-drug remedies that fibromyalgia patients could benefit from...and there are many posts about those on this blog.  Click here to look at these posts.

This is not to say that a fibromyalgia patient would not benefit from short term use of pain relieving medications..after dental extractions, minor surgical procedures, or minor aches and pains, for instance. 

Sources:National Pain Report; American College of Rheumatology; Wikimedia


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