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Symptom Improvements with Parkinson's Drug found in Fibromyalgia Trial

  [ 752 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • November 1, 2004

Monday October 18, 4:58 pm ET Study on Pramipexole Also Reports Significant Weight Loss SAN ANTONIO, Oct. 18 /PRNewswire/ -

- The dopamine agonist pramipexole, (Mirapex (R), Boehringer-Ingelheim) currently indicated by the FDA for treatment of Parkinson's disease, provides a high response rate of overall fibromyalgia (FM) symptom improvements, as well as promoting significant weight loss, according to data presented in a late breaking abstract on Thursday, October 21, at 9:45 am, Ballroom A, at the American College of Rheumatology Annual Scientific Meeting, the National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA) announced today.

The double-blind Randomized Placebo Controlled 14-week trial to treat fibromyalgia with pramipexole, was conducted by Andrew Holman, MD, a rheumatologist in private practice in Renton, Washington and a member of the advisory board of the National Fibromyalgia Association. Holman privately funded this research for people with fibromyalgia (FM) when his own FM patients experienced pain reduction with the use of the drug. Holman reports that 56 out of 60 patients completed the trial which set out to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of dopamine agonist pramipexole in patients with fibromyalgia. 42% of patients treated with pramipexole achieved greater than or equal to 50% decreased pain compared to 14% of patients taking placebo. "This may be the highest response of overall improvement of fibromyalgia symptoms of any single medication tested so far," noted Holman. Patients also reported substantial improvements in function and fatigue.

The most statistically significant side effect was weight loss. Whereas many patients with fibromyalgia and other chronic illnesses often report weight increase in part from use of medications, one third of the participants taking pramipexole lost between 5 to 35 pounds during the 14-week period, according to Holman. "Dr. Holman's study suggests new options for research in the treatment of fibromyalgia," said Lynne Matallana, president and founder of the National Fibromyalgia Association. "This will provide significant hope for patients searching for ways to effectively manage the chronic pain of this severe disorder."

Currently, there are no medications approved for the treatment of fibromyalgia, a complex chronic pain illness affecting 6 to 10 million people that can lead to significant patient disability. Patients with fibromyalgia suffer from a variety of symptoms ranging from stiffness, muscle spasms and body wide pain, fatigue and severe sleep disturbances.

Andrew Holman, M.D., is assistant clinical professor of medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle, and president-elect of the Northwest Rheumatism Society. The National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA) is a nonprofit [501 (c (3)] organization whose mission is to develop and execute programs dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with fibromyalgia. The NFA produces educational materials, sponsors CME and patient conferences, hosts a web site (, and publishes Fibromyalgia AWARE, the only consumer magazine on fibromyalgia, chronic pain and other invisible illnesses. For more information about the National Fibromyalgia Association, visit the NFA's website at Source: National Fibromyalgia Association

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