Saturday, May 3, 2014

SSRI Treatment of Fibromyalgia, The Pros and Cons!

Depression for a fibromyalgia sufferer produces a negative impact on every aspect of life. When severe enough, people are willing to try almost anything to find relief. There are more than 5 million fibromyalgia sufferers in America today. Although most are women, fibromyalgia is an affliction found in both sexes, all ages (including children), and all socioeconomic groups.

As one of the truly underrated and misunderstood symptoms of fibromyalgia, depression may be misdiagnosed, overlooked, and is sometimes left untreated. But when it's addressed as a "real symptom" of fibromyalgia today, it's commonly treated by a classification of anti-depressant medications called SSRI's.

SSRI's have recently become a very popular "treatment" for those that suffer from fibromyalgia. The initials stand for:

  • Selective

  • Serotonin

  • Re-Uptake

  • Inhibitors

Common SSRI Drugs List - Are You Taking One Of These?

Drug Name - Brand Names:

  • Citalopram- Celexa, Emocal, Cipramil, Sepram, Dalsan, Recital, Seropram

  • Escitalopram- Lexapro,Cipralex, Esertia

  • Fluoxetine- Depress, Fontex, Fluctin, Prozac, Fluox, Seronil, Seromex, Sarefem

  • Fluvoxamine- Luvox, Movox, Favoxil, Dumyrox, Fevarin

  • Paroxetine- Paxil, Aropax, Deroxat, Paroxat, Xetanor, Seroxat, Sereupin, Rexetin

  • Dapoxetine- (Waiting for approval by FDA)

But, is SSRI treatment of fibromyalgia the best choice for treating fibromyalgia- depression?

The Pros...

This classification of medications can have exceptional results in some patients, helping them take control of their depression symptoms and regain function in their daily lives. The dosage of an SSRI treatment of fibromyalgia is usually the same as the dosage used to treat general depression. When used in combination with tricyclic anti-depressants like amitriptyline, SSRI's can be more successful at breaking the cycle of pain and sleep disorder symptoms than SSRI treatment of fibromyalgia alone. However, even when SSRI treatment of fibromyalgia is applied, some fibromyalgia sufferers may find that the side-effects to be unacceptable.

The Cons...

SSRI medications are usually prescribed for the treatment of mood disorders like depression and anxiety. However, they may not be a good choice for some fibromyalgia sufferers because there can be serious side-effects associated with the use of these drugs:

  • For one thing, sleep problems can actually get worse with SSRI's. In studies, 15-20% of patients taking SSRI's suffered insomnia after going on the medication for a time; and most fibromyalgia sufferers have to take an additional sedative to "wind down" and get to sleep. While SSRI treatment of fibromyalgia may help some sufferers with sleep issues, new and unexpected sleep disorders including insomnia may develop with long periods of SSRI use.

  • Anxiety is already an issue for fibromyalgia sufferers, and SSRI treatment of fibromyalgia may trigger flares. Anxiety reactions may become more frequent and severe.

  • Headaches are another symptom which may become more frequent and severe with SSRI treatment of fibromyalgia.

  • Sexual dysfunctions are very common with SSRI use.

  • Gastrointestinal issues also occur with SSRI medications, including nausea, diarrhea and loss of appetite.

  • One of the biggest long-term effects of SSRI treatment of fibromyalgia, is weight gain.

  • Regular use of SSRI's can lead to a very rare and serious condition called serotonin syndrome. Symptoms of this toxic illness include shivering, sweating, dilated pupils, intermittent twitching or tremors, hyperactive bowel sounds, high blood pressure, fever of up to 104F degrees, agitation, seizures, and renal failure. Left untreated, patients with this condition may go into shock or even die. There is presently no lab test for the diagnosis of serotonin syndrome.

  • The FDA has issued an advisory on antidepressant medications and the increased risk of suicide; the FDA does not recommend that patients stop taking antidepressants, but they should be carefully monitored especially when beginning treatment or changing dosages. In medical studies, it has been found that 2-4% of patients being treated with SSRI's will experience an increase in suicidal thoughts.

Natural Options To Consider...

There is a natural alternative to SSRI's with fewer side-effects and complications. It is 5-Hydroxytryptophan, or 5-HTP. For many fibromyalgia sufferers battling depression symptoms, this may be a better, safer option than the standard SSRI treatment of fibromyalgia "drug-list". 5-HTP has been shown to increase the brain's natural serotonin production just like SSRI's, and patients report reduced anxiety, elevated mood and deeper more natural sleep while on this supplement. 5-HTP supplements are typically extracted from the seeds of the West African Griffonia simplicifolia plant, and can be found at herb and vitamin reseller establishments and online.

Another part of the natural treatment for fibromyalgia-depression and other symptoms is through eating an improved diet. Nutritional supplements that build up the general health of the fibromyalgia sufferer can reduce and even eliminate symptoms including the pain, fatigue, brain fog, and sleep problems. By allowing the body to rebuild from the inside out, the need for medication can be greatly reduced. And only few industry insiders even know about the powerful effects of cellular nutrition on disease. For more information on natural treatments of fibromyalgia, contact me now by clicking on one of the links below.

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