7 Common Medications Used to Treat Fibromyalgia

For people with fibromyalgia, pain medication is an important element of managing the disease. As well as dealing with the debilitating pain, medications can also help sufferers with fatigue, muscle spasms, and depression.

Before taking any new pain medication, it’s important to speak to your health care provider to ensure it’s safe for you and won’t interfere with any other medications you may be taking.

Here are seven of the most common medications used for treating fibromyalgia according to practicalpainmanagement.com:


In addition to treating depression, antidepressants can also be used to help block pain signals to the brain. There are two antidepressant drugs which have been approved by the FDA for the treatment of fibromyalgia—duloxetine (Cymbalta) and milnacipran (Savella). Patients can also be prescribed selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Prozac or Paxil or tricyclic anti-depressants such as Pamelor and Elavil.

Could massage help relieve fibromyalgia pain? 


  1. Em says:

    What happens when someone has had allergic reactions to all of these poisons?? Some severe enough to land me in ICU. I am not at interested in narcotics nor any legal Mary Jane.
    I have turned to the teachings of those now deceased. This warrior’s war cry has been heard!!!!

    • Gjones says:

      I have been there too reflexology really helped and changed diet drastically no caffeine no sugar no process foods no so no gluten no dairy,have went from 4x to medium and no pain meds worked reflexologist retired no struggling with new one but almost desperate to go back on drugs for relief but try might help

  2. Teri Hendricks says:

    Fibromyalgia is a horrible disease that is not terminal. I am always looking for the normal life I once had. Not a life of pain, fatigue and all the other weird ailments that pop up here and there.

    I myself have had almost all of the poisons listed and have had my own close calls. I wish they would find cure. In the meantime I want my symptoms treated for quality of life and continued testing.

    If it means putting poison in my body I will do it. It’s called desperation and hope!

    I am taking some of the ones that help my symptoms the most prescribed by my Primary care and supplements which he has deemed ok. Narcotics are not off my books, I take them occasionally.

    I have been taught first hand too for over 20 years. Son and DIL, Meth and opioids. Destroyed their lives 3 times over and it could be more. Friends of theirs have also lost their life. Depends on the personality of the person for abuse and some doctors over prescibing from patient manipulation.

    This does not deter me. I tell my doctor no most times when offered a narcotic and others he persuades and talks me into it.

    The hunt still continues with hope for other options and one day they will find a cure. I want my life back!

  3. Polly Nuschler says:

    Another story that “criminalizes” the use of opiates. “Narcotics should only be used for a short time; can be addicting.”

    Does the author of this article understand that Fibro is a CHRONIC disease and can never go away? I’ve been on opiates for 50 years. I have taken the same amount of Oxycontin (20 mg three times a day) for nearly 20 years! Never abused it. Never increased it.

    One is “dependent” on opiates NOT addicted. For those of us with constant unrelenting pain, oxy never gets rid of the pain..but does lessen it so that we can work outside of the home or inside. Since Oxycontin is a sustained release tablet, there are no peaks and valleys–just consistent, reliable pain relief. We get no “high” or “euphoria” with narcotics. It just makes us able to handle the pain better.

    So please! Stop using terms such as “addicting” or “only using for short term use” as it makes us feel like druggies, abusers. It’s hard enough having this disease without editorial comments such as these!

    • Kathleen Jack says:

      That is SO true!!! I’ve been on Norspan Pain Patches for 8 yrs now, & yes I know I’m obviously addicted to them…however, the pain I suffer is so great, that I must have them. I hate this life of Autoimmune Diseases. I have Fibromyalgia, Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism, & now being tested for Sjogren’s Syndrome…plus have Greater Occipital Neuralgia for 29 yrs!! I am fed up to the eye teeth of not being able to go to work…to not being able to even work in my own house anymore, even to shower everyday cause it’s just too exhausting, so I clean myself with wet ones wipes. I hate the loneliness of living alone most of the time, except I am now blessed to have my ex husband visit me for a few days every couple of wks to look out for me. ( we’ve been good friends since our separation 18 yrs ago, but he lives & works in another City 4 hrs flight away!) zthough I have 3 dogs that make me get out of my bed at some point in the middle of the day, to get to the lounge chair to sit & watch telly in. I can no longer cook meals for myself…I can stand & prepare like I used to 5 yrs ago. I’ve got an extraordinarily bad lower back & am having some nerve burning procedure on them in 2 wks to try & kill the pain, which I am so looking forward to…but I just, overall, seem to be getting worse? I go along ok for a few days…which is about 45-60% of my old self, & then I just drop like a tyre tube that just suddenly loses all its air & goes flat. Is anyone else house & bed/chair ridden most days like me?? It’s pathetic. I used to almost be filled with energiser batteries all my life with a touch of OCD, now it’s like I’m dead & still breathing ??

      • Kellie Lawrence says:

        I totally agree with you and nobody including doctors understand except the people thats going through the hell

      • l says:

        I too have many of the symptoms you describe. My vision has been affected as a result of Fibro. Which has made me housebound. I may get a day or so every week that I can function. The bottom of my feet feel like someone took a flat board and slammed them over and over. The pain and tremendous tingling makes walking So difficult. I can go on and on about how this has debilitated me. I just wish people would stop saying that it is not real.

      • Gloria says:

        I just got a diagnoses of fibromyalgia today, and more tests are being done. But I have been feeling like you describe. Sometimes I’m so exhausted and want gravity to just suck me right into the ground. I fear using my muscles. I haven’t tried any of the medicines yet.

      • S.l.w. says:

        My story is almost identical to yours. I’ve always been extremely active and a little OCD. I’ve always worked and wanted to work until I decided I was ready to retire. Instead, I am now 46 years old and no longer working. The uncontrollable pain put a stop to that.
        I’ve tried cymbalta, lyrica, neurontin, several antidepressants and muscle relaxers and still I feel like I’m fighting a losing battle. I want my life back.

    • Pam says:

      I’m with you. I’ve been on opioids for 16 years due to fibro and crps. I also have muscular dystrophy. Opioids are not the answer for some but for those like you and me, who suffer every day, they take the pain to a somewhat tolerable level (until I have an crps flare and then nothing helps but wait it out). I admire those that can tolerate their pain without medicine. There’s all kinds of “new” pain treatments out now that the CDC has placed a war on opioids. Maybe, just maybe one of them will help with our suffering.

    • mike k adams says:

      Those who do not suffer can not understand. They look at what a book or a study says and makes their determination. I promise if those writing their opinions were to succumb to this disease they may change their minds and in a hurry. I have had Fibro for about 20 years. I am not on narcotics today but I have been and most likely will be again unless their is a cure found.There is an all consuming amount of Ignorance When it comes controlling pain not just with Fibro. There are terrible side effects with today’s current drugs and some of us will become addicted to the medicine that keeps us from jump off a building to end our pain.So what is at stake here is we either do everything we can to allow a person to have a sliver of a life, and yes it takes a lot of time the doctors won’t or can’t commit to. The constant treatment of someone with Chronic pain. (It Never Goes Away) Nothing more heartbreaking than (I’ll see you 3 months) with no help in sight.They more accepted approaches let’s make sure they do not have access to a drug that may give them some relief but may cause problems for them.That should be criminalized to withhold help because its has a potential of causing problems. Let’s withhold chemo it’s got some really bad side effects with very little proven benefits.Many Cancer treatments are not very effective but they are prescribed because there is a sliver of hope they may extend someone’s life no matter the cost to their bodies or pocetbooks. Its simple really we as a society pick who will be treated and who will not because of the lack of our medical community’s ability to understand what’s at stake for our brothers and sister on this earth. God Bless

      • Gjones says:

        I have been there too reflexology really helped and changed diet drastically no caffeine no sugar no process foods no so no gluten no dairy,have went from 4x to medium and no pain meds worked reflexologist retired no struggling with new one but almost desperate to go back on drugs for relief but try might help I am stuck in wheelchair from pain meds needs nexium and weekend my bones broke femur 3 times ribs if even lean on armchair to pickup something.

    • Helene says:

      Thank you so much for speaking out about these negative comments concerning opiates. I’m on 30mg Targin twice daily and without this I’d never cope. I do need other meds like Phnergan that help me as well. I’m hoping to drop back his month to twenty mg twice daily. I have very severe lower back disc degeneration n upper midd as well. I have never been able to tolerate any antidepressants,but am able to use 2.5-5mg Valium when needed to help. It’s so hard when your doctor leaves or as in my case no longer afford a doctor. Just trying to find someone who doesn’t want to give u these run of the mill meds that cause me more harm than good is very stressful in the extreme. Most just don’t want to listen. I’ve asked if they are prepared to take the time to keep notes on type of cycle I get n what works but they have actually said they don’t want to do it. How bad is that. You take what works when u find it.
      May God Bless you n keep you.

      • S.l.w. says:

        I’ve been on a merry go round for at least 10 yrs . I’ve gone to several doctors trying to find out what was going on. They always chalked it up to degenerated disc, hypothyroidism, and anxiety/depression. The doctors either want to cut on me or label me as an emotional lunatic. I finally got a true diagnosis from a rheumatologist. I have scoliosis, degerated disc, Hashimotos Thyroiditis, and fibromyalgia. I haven’t been able to tolerate the medications for fibro so at this point I do not know what to do to get some relief. Something has got to be done because there hasn’t been enough research done for the doctors to know how to treat it effectively. It is my opinion that this disease is a form of MS.

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you! I take an opioid. I can’t do morphine, it’s too much and all I do is sleep. I can function and keep pain to a level that I can function with if I take my norco 3X’s a day. Only problem is I do get the peaks and troughs. You are exactly right, I don’t get “high”. I don’t misuse, sell or abuse them. I just want to be able to do what I need to. Very frustrating disease. I miss me!

  4. Nicole says:

    Sad that LDN isn’t on the list. Although it may not help everyone, it sure helps me a lot. It’s non addictive, no side effects, it’s cheap, and makes life 100% easier for me since I have far less down time.

  5. Alison says:

    I have chronic pain from fibromyalgia all the time. I have been on just about every antidepressant and only one helped, but they must have changed something in it because it started to give me severe stomach pains. I take tramadol if I need it, usually once a day. I didn’t realise how bad I was feeling until I went back to see my doctor and burst into tears. I had written down every symptom I had been feeling in the last 3 months and gave it to her. I could see she finally realised how much real pain I was in. She had just been to a chronic pain conference and they were trying an old drug used for another condition, but at lower doses, did I want to try it. Of course it can’t hurt anymore can it. I have only been on it for three days and l know it’s early days, but I feel relaxed, calmer. It could all be in my head of course and time will tell, but I feel better art the moment. The medication is called Naltrexone 5ml once a day. I think it is used for drug addicts coming off drugs and is prescribed in much larger doses. Talk to your doctors, it may work for you.

    • Gjones says:

      It is terrible we try desperately to find anything for relief but pain patches I can not be in sun or heat get so sick and is overdosed by it love camping and gardening but hard to do except for a very short time we just bought a new new camper to travel to dog shows with our 3 dogs because hotels charge you twice as much for handicaped room and still aren’t big enough to get wheelchair in or they gave our room away terrible rest rooms from pa to Florida only 1 was big enough to get chair in and close the door had to leave it wide open every other place we stopped had to wear a dress to cover myself from everyone had nice people offer to stand in front for me was humiliatingly . reflexology and really strick diet helps but when pain at it’s worse I only want what makes me feel worse.terrble cravings. Hi

  6. Merf56 says:

    I am loving Cymbalta. But only for the symptoms I have hated the worst. First – a flu- like aching all over so that my skin all over my body actually hurt. It used to be occasional but gradually got to the point it was constant. Second – an irritated anxiety that I think came from trying to fight the first symptom.
    I do NOT like to take any meds ever and only take what is seriously needed like an antibiotic for a serious infection. Supposedly I would not feel the Cymbalta effects for a few daysaccording to the dr, and I was not happy about starting it but was desperate. Five hours in after the first dose it was like the sun came out. The flu-like ache was GONE and a little while later I realized the irritation and anxiety had also dissipated.
    It’s been 8 months and not once have I felt that specific aching or the irritated anxiety. I still hurt a lot some days and of course if I overdo it but it is SO more manageable now!
    I know Cymbalta is hard to get off of but frankly I have no intention of doing so!!! I heard a lot of negative experiences with this drug so I wanted to add my specific positive one. I take only 30 mg in the am. Dr initially said she would likely bump it up to the usual fibro dose of 60mg ( and maybe that would help the rest of my aching) but I am just so happy to be rid of my worst 2 symptoms that I am a little afraid to mess with the dosing!!! We will see!

  7. Tonya says:

    My thought process is off. My normal pain levels are 9. I have Fibromyalgia, bulging discs, degenerative disc and Osteoarthritis in my back. Major surgery on both knees. Anxiety and Depression, IBS, Diabetes and High Blood Pressure. Will they find something to help with the pain sooner than later?

  8. Teresa Pate says:

    I am so astounded by the reaction of some of the doctors as well as the CDC ,I see that there is as addiction epidimec to pain medicine, butt why should those of us who need it suffer because others have addictions ,I was in a marriage that was both physically and mentally abusive, i have had a dysectomu done, I was diagnosed 11 years ago with fibromyalgia,degenerative disc disease,hypothyroidism and along with the pain an inability to function normally it is a constant state of depression and anxiety,they don’t want people who are seriously in pain to have pain medication,yet years ago they were all about how marijuana was destroying people,impairing their judgment, yet that is now legal in most states, I can’t work, I’m depressed because of the constant state of pain I’m in, and yet my state doesn’t think I need to be approved for disability either,I’m just supposed to sit here and wait for death? I miss having a normal life but how does that happen when people don’t truly understand how we feel,yes I take pain medicine they ask me to take it every 6 hours, it lasts for 3 hours, in the state I’m in you have to sign a contract that they can call you in at anytime and count your medicine as well as drug test you, I’m fine with that but that should have been done a long time ago so that those of us who truly need something for pain aren’t treated like drug addicts by the Drs and pharmacists, until they feel our pain they’ll never know and because they can’t see our pain most don’t care, I wonder if fibromyalgia was visible on the outside of our body would they take us seriously then? Would people even care? Would they stop staring at you because you have to use an electric cart in a store because the pain is unbearable and walking is out of the question, they don’t see anything visibly wrong with us so I guess it’s their reasoning for making comments and staring when we use the carts, I hope one day someone cares enough to take a stand for us and help us so that we can live again!

  9. PollyG. says:

    On Pinterest, if you do a search for ‘Fibromyalgia’, you will see lots of those little posters that list all kinds of symptoms to describe what Fibro is like so others can understand us. Some are funny, like “having the flu, and all of our eyebrows hurt individually.”

    Yes, those are funny and we can laugh about them. But one thing really stuck out for me. “IF YOU GO TO A DR AND MAKE A JOKE ABOUT HOW BAD YOUR PAIN IS, (which I tend to do a lot) HOW WILL HE EVER TAKE TOU SERIOUSLY.”

    So, I went to a new doctor, who was great. I was honest about the level of pain, the lack of Quality of Life, and the horror that it will never end. I was honest with him that dying was a far better option than living with this Hell. He wanted to commit me. He still didn’t give me enough pain mess (he couldn’t let me become addicted, could he?!) but he was concerned about my depression. He gave me the number for the Suicide Hotline.

    I do have a plan for the day I can’t take it any longer. The day will come when I simply refuse to live with the fact that I’ve lost most of my hair, my teeth, and I can’t cook a decent meal, finish the laundry or play with my dog. I can’t paint or sculpt again, or play with kids. I was a great teacher, but I can’t do that either.

    The doctors are so worried about creating addicts, and losing their licenses. They should be worried about what kind of lives they are creating because of their fear.

    • S.l.w. says:

      I feel the same way. I used to be full of life. Now I don’t participate in life anymore. One thing I do know is this..DO NOT GIVE UP! I know it’s hard. It’s very hard! But you can not give up. That’s not an option.

  10. Kathy says:

    I must laugh because I am afraid if I cry, I will not stop. And, yes, it looks to others that I am not sick. I feel bad riding the carts at the grocery because I think there may be someone who needs it more than I do.
    I can honestly say that I k ow how you feel. I too considered ending the pain. Fortunately, my doctor knows I am not a little wimpy girl and I can take some pain. He knows that when I say I hurt, I am past my tolerance level.
    People don’t seem to understand that with this illness there is no getting better. Exhaustion is real and the depression from all the symptoms that people cannot see is real. I hope you can find the right doctor for you to help you through this. Fibro is a crippling disease and I would NOT wish it on my worst enemy! Gentle hugs and prayers for us all!

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