NFA Statement Regarding Chronic Pain and Treatment of Sleep Disorders

Statement Regarding Chronic Pain and Treatment of Sleep Disorders

Recent Confusing Reports re: Sleep Medications are Detrimental to People With Fibromyalgia

ORANGE, Calif., March 24 /PRNewswire/ — The following is a statement by Lynne Matallana, President and Founder, National Fibromyalgia Association:

Fibromyalgia is a complex chronic pain disorder that affects an estimated 10 million people in the United States and 5-7 percent of the world’s population. Although the majority of people affected by fibromyalgia are women this illness does not discriminate on the basis of sex or age.

Fibromyalgia is characterized by widespread muscle pain, stiffness and disturbed sleep. In a recent survey conducted by the National Fibromyalgia Association people with fibromyalgia were just as, and in some cases even more distressed by their symptom of disturbed sleep as they were with their symptom of widespread body pain. Patients reported that disordered sleep (their inability to fall asleep, stay asleep and achieve deep levels of restorative sleep) seem to contribute to their symptoms of increased pain, debilitating fatigue, and forgetfulness. Sleep has been at the core of fibromyalgia research since 1975 when Harvey Moldofsky, MD found that patients with fibromyalgia have a deficiency in obtaining deep level stage 4 sleep. It is not surprising that since the majority of people with fibromyalgia experience sleep disorders that they also experience many of the medical problems that are the result of non-restorative sleep including: excessive fatigue, muscular pain, cognitive problems, hormonal and chemical abnormalities, mood disorders, migraine headaches, and high blood pressure.

Disordered sleep is a very serious and at times debilitating condition. Patients need accurate information about treatment options, so that together with their doctor they can make an educated decision about what type of treatment plan they wish to implement. Unfortunately, recent reports about sleep disorders have trivialized their impact.

Some have left patients confused and questioning the very medications that they have already found to be safe and effective. Although there is risk associated with taking any type of medication, and it is imperative that the public be made aware of these risks, we encourage people who suffer from sleep disorders to recognize that the cases recently reported in the news are considered rare and that these medications are widely recognized as safe and effective by the FDA.

Education is key and people who are taking or are considering taking sleep medications should take the time to carefully educate themselves about possible side effects, only take medications as directed and let their doctor know immediately about any problems or side effects that they experience.

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