UC HEALTH LINE: New Treatments, Continued Research Offer Hope to Fibromyalgia Sufferers


—Fibromyalgia is a painful and often debilitating condition that can have a substantial negative impact on quality of life. 


Often misdiagnosed or mistaken for lupus, multiple sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia—a chronic, widespread pain condition—affects more women than men and can lead to stiffness, sleep disruption, fatigue, memory or concentration problems, mood disturbances and even irritable bowel symptoms.


For years, physicians and researchers have worked to better understand fibromyalgia and provide treatments to patients with this condition.


Lesley Arnold, MD, director of the University of Cincinnati (UC) Women’s Health Research Program, says that fibromyalgia sufferers now have more treatment options than ever before.


Arnold has led numerous studies on fibromyalgia and was the principal investigator for Cincinnati-based studies of the two medications now approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of fibromyalgia—Cymbalta, manufactured by Eli Lilly and approved in June 2008, and Lyrica, manufactured by Pfizer and approved in 2007.


She says that these new treatment options are a step in the right direction, but that more research is needed to find additional approaches for managing the condition.


“No two patients are exactly the same,” says Arnold, “which means that not everyone will respond the same way to currently available treatments."


“While it is very gratifying to see that the clinical trials in fibromyalgia have led to the availability of two new treatment options, we need to continue to find alternative approaches to the management of this often disabling disorder,” she adds.


The Women’s Health Research Program develops personalized treatment plans for fibromyalgia patients and offers access to cutting-edge research studies testing a variety of medications for the condition. They also collaborate with rheumatologists, sleep specialists, neurologists, psychiatrists and physical therapists to determine the best ways for treating patients.


Fibromyalgia studies are being conducted on an ongoing basis. If you are over 18, have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia or suspect you may have the condition and wish to participate in a clinical study, call the Women’s Health Research Program at (513) 475-8114.


Arnold is a paid consultant for both Pfizer and Eli Lilly and has received funding from both in support of research studies. 


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