Abstract: For fibromyalgia, which treatments are the most effective?

J Fam Pract. 2005 Dec;54(12):1094-5.

Yousefi P, Coffey J.

Department of Family and Community Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX USA.

There is no single most effective modality for the treatment of fibromyalgia syndrome, and no objective comparison of the results from the different studies is available. Low-dose tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) improve sleep quality and global well-being and have a moderate beneficial effect on tenderness and stiffness (strength of recommendation [SOR]: A, based on a systematic review of randomized controlled trials [RCTs]). Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may moderately improve fibromyalgia-related symptoms (SOR: B, based on a few RCTs).

The serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) duloxetine (Cymbalta) and milnacipran (Ixel, not currently available in the US) improve pain and other symptoms (SOR: B, based on single RCTs). Tramadol (Ultram) improves pain and other outcomes (SOR: A, based on a few RCTs). Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril) improves both pain and sleep quality (SOR: A, based on a systematic review of RCTs).

Aerobic exercise improves overall functional capacity and sense of well-being for patients with fibromyalgia (SOR: A, based on a systematic review of RCT). Cognitive behavioral therapy improves patients’ self-reported symptoms (SOR: A, based on RCTs).

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