What are the Different Types of Fibromyalgia Medication?

Misty Wiser

Fibromyalgia medication is intended to reduce the pain and fatigue that disrupts the lives of people with this condition. There is not a cure for fibromyalgia, and treatment focuses on relieving the symptoms of the disorder. A combination of analgesics, antidepressants, and sleep aids are given to most people with fibromyalgia. Recently, anti-convulsants have been approved to reduce the pain associated with fibromyalgia.

Many fibromyalgia sufferers find relief through medication.
Many fibromyalgia sufferers find relief through medication.

Since the most prevalent complaint of fibromyalgia is a deep and widespread muscle pain, most physicians will begin with medications for pain relief. Over the counter drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium are sometimes effective at reducing the painful sensations experienced on a daily basis. Some people have pain that does not respond well to non-prescription drugs. For these people, narcotic or opioid medications like Vicodin® or Oxycontin® are the best way to get long-term relief from pain. Tramadol®, a non-narcotic painkiller, has had good results with pain relief without the risk of forming a dependence on the medication.

Sleep aids are often prescribed for people with fibromyalgia.
Sleep aids are often prescribed for people with fibromyalgia.

Some antidepressants prescribed for fibromyalgia treatment are in a class called serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and include Cymbalta® or Savella®. These medications work by preventing the reabsorbtion of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. Having more of these chemicals available in the brain is thought to promote feelings of well-being. Other ones used for fibromyalgia medication are called tricyclic antidepressants, like Elavil®. These medications can help to regulate sleep cycles and treat the depression and anxiety that many fibromyalgia sufferers face.

Many people with fibromyalgia are unable to get any deep restorative sleep. Sleep aids like Restoril® and Ambien® are often prescribed to promote a better sleep experience. The body heals itself during the sleep cycles, and poor sleep patterns can contribute to an increase in pain levels throughout the body. A large portion of fibromyalgia patients are also faced with extraordinary fatigue daily. These sleep aids may be able to help the person be more alert the next day.

In 2007, a fibromyalgia medication called Lyrica® was approved for the treatment of widespread pain. This drug is in a class of medications called anti-convulsants. It is thought that the over-activity of certain impulses in the brain contributes to the pain felt by fibromyalgia patients. Lyrica® is believed to slow down the impulses that transmit pain signals, resulting in less pain registered by the brain. This fibromyalgia medication can also help banish the fatigue that is generally a daily problem for most people with this disorder.

Fibromyalgia can be a difficult condition to diagnose and treat.
Fibromyalgia can be a difficult condition to diagnose and treat.

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Discussion Comments


@boathugger- My doctor prescribed Lyrica for me for my fibromyalgia. After being on it for about a week, I felt like I was losing my mind. I felt like I had bugs crawling on me sometimes. Other times, I just felt like I was drunk. I couldn’t even drive because I felt like I was seeing things. I talked to my doctor and he took me off Lyrica and put me on Savella, which has worked very well for me.

I guess medications work differently on different people.


I was recently diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I was experiencing horrible headaches, pain between my shoulder blades, elbow pain, extreme fatigue, and just felt horrible. I was taking ibuprofen but it just wasn’t helping. There were days that I didn’t even want to get out of bed.

I finally talked to my doctor about it and that changed my life. She prescribed Lyrica, Savella, and Cymbalta. The combination of the three is working great. I haven’t had a headache in about three weeks. I still have a little pain from time to time but very minimal. My mood has definitely gotten better. I have more energy than I have had in months and have even started walking every day now.

With the right treatment for fibromyalgia, it can change your life.

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