A New Medication on the Horizon

There is a new medication on the horizon for the treatment of fibromyalgia. The drug, called Flupirtine, is non-narcotic and is not an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug), making it unique among pain medications. It is used to treat moderate to severe pain and has been in use in other countries such as Europe. It has been used to treat a wide variety of conditions, such as back pain, migraines, postoperative pain and oncologic pain. Flupirtine is currently undergoing clinical trials in the United States. If approved by the FDA, Flupirtine may add to the growing arsenal of medications approved to treat fibromyalgia.

Currently, there are three drugs approved for the treatment of fibromyalgia. Lyrica is a drug that was originally developed to treat seizure disorders. It has since been found to be useful in the treatment of other conditions, including fibromyalgia. It works by altering brain chemicals that transport pain signals through the nervous system. Lyrica has been shown to be effective in some people suffering from fibromyalgia.

Savella and Cymbalta are the two other drugs approved for the treatment of fibromyalgia. They are classed as SNRIs (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors). SNRIs are antidepressants that increase the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. These two chemicals are neurotransmitters that play a role in mood. Although these drugs are antidepressants, they are also used to treat some conditions that have pain as a component, such as fibromyalgia. (Curiously, Savella has not been approved in the US for the treatment of depression, although it is widely used as an antidepressant in other countries).

Other drugs, such as narcotics and NSAIDS, are frequently prescribed to treat pain in fibromalgia. However, these drugs are not without risk when taken for long periods of time. For example, narcotics can be habit-forming and can also cause unwanted side effects, such as drowsiness, dry mouth and constipation. NSAIDS can cause gastrointestinal bleeding in a small number of patients who take NSAIDS long term.

Flupirtine offers the hope of a drug that will not be habit-forming and will hopefully have fewer side effects than narcotics and NSAIDS. I will be following the clinical trials of Flupirtine as they evolve and will be sure to pass on information on this blog as it is uncovered.


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Fibromyalgia is a prevalent condition that affects many people in the United States. Approximately 3.7 million Americans have Fibromyalgia. That is 1 in every 73 people.

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