For the treatment of primary fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) the low dose application of tri- and tetracyclic antidepressive drugs was often studied. Up to now from all those drugs the effects of amitriptyline (AMI) are best documented. Because of its sedative properties it doesn’t only influence pain but also improves the often disturbed sleep. Its use in patients with FMS is limited by the occurrence of side effects and the lack of response in a substantial number of patients. Serotonin reuptake inhibitors alone seem to be of little value. Nevertheless there is evidence that they may improve pain in combination with other antidepressive agents. Regarding pain moclobemide a reversible inhibitor of monoamine oxidase seems to be inferior to AMI. In controlled studies corticosteroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) also failed to improve FMS. The combination of NSAIDs with benzodiazepines gave inconsistent results. Although often used, we have only small information about the effectiveness of opioids. No beneficial effect could be attributed to the muscle relaxant chlormezanone. In conclusion, although only about 1/3 of the patients respond, AMI remains the drug of first choice in the conventional medication treatment of FMS.
m&i-Fachklinik Bad Pyrmont, Germany.