Fibromyalgia treatment with pregabalin
Fibromyalgia is one of the common causes of widespread pain and fatigue associated with other symptoms. Apart from pain and fatigue, there are symptoms of sleep disturbance, impaired physical functioning, altered mood and diminished or poorer health-related quality of life.
The exact cause of this condition is unknown, but there are several studies that connect abnormal pain perceptions with fibromyalgia. The pain modulation pathways in the brain seem to be altered to make pain sensitivity heightened among these patients and in addition, there are lowered pain thresholds. Pregabalin is a medication that prevents the release of pronociceptive neurotransmitters or the chemical messengers of brain from the pre-synaptic membrane in the brain. It is a calcium channel alpha(2) delta-subunit ligand that has several properties including pain relief, relief from anxiety and reductions of symptoms in epilepsy patients.
Due to its ability to modulate neurotransmitter release from the brain synapses, there may be benefits of this drug in fibromyalgia patients. US Food and Drug Administration has approved this drug for treating fibromyalgia. A meta-analysis of clinical trials of pregabalin in fibromyalgia and a Cochrane database systematic review on pregabalin use in acute and chronic pain including fibromyalgia, revealed that on an average, approximately 30%–50% of patients treated with pregabalin were able to achieve >30% reduction of pain from baseline and 20%–30% patients achieved >50% reduction of pain.
The commonest side effects of this medication include dizziness, weight gain and increased sleepiness. These, however are well tolerated by most patients. Pregabalin is thus considered as an important medication that could be used widely among fibromyalgia patients. Pregabalin is cost saving with long-term use, especially if used at dosages 450 mg/day or higher. The results of this study demonstrate that pregabalin is safe and effective in reducing fibromyalgia pain in patients.