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Oral treatment of fibromyalgia with tropisetron given over 28 days: influence on functional and vegetative symptoms, psychometric parameters and pain.

  [ 14 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • October 16, 2000

The 5-HT3 receptor antagonists are a novel therapy for patients suffering from fibromyalgia, although the optimal duration of treatment is still unclear. The objective of this phase II study was to evaluate whether prolonging treatment with tropisetron to 4 weeks is tolerable and correlated with an improved clinical benefit. Thirty female patients with fibromyalgia received oral tropisetron (5 mg) daily for 28 days in an open-label fashion. Treatment resulted in significantly decreased pain as measured by visual analog scale (VAS), with a mean reduction of 59.7% and an absolute median change of -25.0 from baseline to day 28 (p<0.0001). A similar, significant reduction of 55.7% and absolute median change of -31.0 was observed in the painscore (p<0.0001). The response rate with patients showing a > or = 35% reduction in individual pain scores was 72.4% at day 28. The pressure tolerance of tender-points was slightly increased at the end of the treatment period. In addition, significant improvements were observed in the State-Trait-Anxiety-Inventory (STAI), scales of von Zerssen (Bf-S) and Beck Depression Index (BDI). Functional symptoms were compared with the results from a 10-day, randomized, double-blind phase III study of tropisetron in 418 fibromyalgia patients. In both studies several functional symptoms such as sleep disturbances and dizziness improved significantly (p<0.05). In the 28 days study, the number and extent of improvement in functional symptoms was increased compared with the shorter trial. Tolerability and safety of tropisetron was good, and typically for 5-HT3-receptor antagonists, gastrointestinal symptoms and headache were the most frequently reported events. In conclusion, 28 days treatment of fibromyalgia patients with 5 mg tropisetron resulted in significant pain reduction, which was most pronounced after 10 days with a further reduction up to day 28. Psychometric tests showed significant improvements in depression and anxiety state scores, while functional symptoms improved with extended tropisetron treatment.

Haus U, Varga B, Stratz T, Spath M, Muller W

Novartis Pharma GmbH, Department of Clinical Research, Nurnberg, Germany.

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