Now a days when you get diagnosed with something you will get all sorts of advice to avoid drugs and try to cure yourself the natural ways. To not pollute your body with with all those artificial chemicals, who knows what they do to your body. I was that way when my anxiety first started up and again after I thought I was cured and stopped the meds.
Since then I have come to the conclusion that medications can be a good thing. It’s hard to get on track with with natural regimes or exercise if your anxiety is through the roof or pain is holding you back. Meds can help you get to a point where you can start exercising and get your diet under control.
In fact with fibromyalgia it’s best to find a nice balance between medications and natural means. There is no cure for Fibro so managing the symptoms is all there is. Problem is that people react to meds differently so you may feel like a guinea pig as you and your doctors try finding the on that helps you.
Experiment One: Savella
My first round was with a fairly new drug, Savella. It’s been around as an anti-depressant overseas but was recently approved for Fibro by the FDA. It is a SNRI meaning it effects both serotonin and norepinephrine, blocking their absorption. Seems that blocking both of these is supposed to help with the pain, not to mention anxiety and depression.
I had to stop taking the Zoloft, which I did cold turkey just switching to the Savella. I had no problems with it anxiety remained in check and the pain and soreness seemed to decrease but only marginally. I did seem to give me more energy though. Of course the one side effect that can hit a man with Fibro happened to me (prepare, TMI moment ahead). I devolved painfully urination as well as, well lets say other discharges 🙂 I mean painful. So back to the doctors and experiment number 2.
Experiment Two: Cymbalta
Round 2 was to try cymbalta, the only other drug approved by the FDA for fibromyalgia. Again quitting the Savella cold turkey and starting with 30mg of cymbalta in the mornings. After I think a week ramping up to 60mg. After 2 weeks on this stuff my anxiety skyrocketed and was a constant everyday, didn’t feel any improvement on the pain and was more tired than before. Could not hack this stuff but I gave it 6 weeks to see if it would kick in. No dice. Of course two days before my next rheumatologist appointment they called to say my referral had expired and I had to go back to my primary first. You bet I was on the phone getting an appointment the next day and asking for a rush referral. No way I was staying on this stuff any longer. Oh and there is no generic so co-pay was $123, ummm no.
Third Time a Charm?
Round 3 was Effexor, while not FDA approved for Fibro it is another SNRI and is often prescribed for people with Fibro. This time I was to scale back to 30mg of the cymbalta for a few days then start in on the Effexor, 75mg twice a day. Along with that I was to start right away with 300mg of gabapentin which is mainly used for seizures but as the Effexor it can be effective in decreasing Fibro pain and soreness.
I noticed a difference in a very short period of time. Couple days off the cymbalta and anxiety was in check and the overall pain had decreased a bit, quite a bit in my upper body. Been 5 weeks now and pretty good over all, but this past week the upper body has been flaring up. Had another rheumatologist appointment today to follow up but will go into that another time.
If you have fibro what do you take? is it helping you?