Pilot Study Reports Beneficial Effects of Ambroxol for Fibromyalgia Pain

Pilot Study Reports Beneficial Effects of Ambroxol for Fibromyalgia Pain

Results from a pilot clinical study published in the journal Clinical Rheumatology showed that ambroxol may help manage pain in fibromyalgia patients.

Ambroxol is mainly known as a mucolytic and expectorant agent. It has been used for decades in the treatment of various airway disorders, helping to restore the normal clearance mechanisms of the respiratory tract.

Previous studies have shown that ambroxol has the capacity to block the response of sodium channels, which are responsible for the transmission of pain sensations caused by nerve damage or dysfunction (neuropathic pain). The drug was shown to be 13 times more potent compared to other known calcium channel blockers, such as benzocaine, Xylocaine (lidocaine), and Mexitil (mexiletine).

It’s been previously suggested that fibromyalgia could have a neuropathic nature. Indeed, a study performed by researchers from Mexico found that some patients with fibromyalgia presented a mutation on a sodium channel gene associated with neuropathic pain signals. These findings support the hypothesis that sodium channel blocker agents might have a therapeutic potential for this medical condition.

The authors of the study, “Ambroxol for fibromyalgia: one group pretest-posttest open-label pilot study,” tried to identify the add-on benefits of ambroxol to standard fibromyalgia treatment regimens.

A total of 25 patients with fibromyalgia were given Ambroxol 30 mg, three times a day, for one month. At the beginning and at the end of the study, all participants filled several questionnaires related to disease severity, pain signs, quality of life, and mental health.

By the end of the study, patients showed an overall improvement in many fibromyalgia symptoms. According to the Revised Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ-R) answers, the group improved from a 62 value at the beginning of the study to a value of 51. Also, the pain visual analog scale decreased from 77 to 56, and Widespread Pain Index (WPI) decreased from a score of 14.6 to 10.4.

“In this pilot study, the use of a sodium channel blocker ambroxol was associated not only to decreased fibromyalgia pain but also to improvement in other bothersome fibromyalgia features such as sleep disturbances, stiffness, and dysautonomia [dysfunction of the autonomous nervous system] symptoms,” the researchers wrote.

During the trial, no major adverse side effects were reported, suggesting that the use of ambroxol in combination with other fibromyalgia therapies is safe and well tolerated.

Despite the positive results obtained, however, additional studies are needed to fully grasp the beneficial effects of ambroxol for fibromyalgia patients. Clinical studies with an untreated control group to assess the placebo effect, and designed to assess dose and treatment-associated effects, should be performed.

8 comments

  1. Linda Pollock says:

    It would be handy to readers of this site if you were able to maintain a list of drugs and treatments which are ‘on the map’ so to speak for FM; those with preliminary good results in FM treatment, but which need further investigation and trial before approved for use by the FDA. The article on Ambroxol is hopeful news.

    • Tim Bossie says:

      Hi Linda, thank you for the suggestion. We will definitely talk about it and see what we can do. 🙂

  2. Janise Denton says:

    Many years ago, my family doctor tried me on Mucinex (guafenisin), a mucolytic because he had read it might be helpful for my fibro diagnosed in 1992. It gave me a lot of relif from pain, stiffness and insomnia. It gradually became ineffective. Interesting to see that science is looking at another mucolytic.

    • Cynthia Connelly says:

      My primary doc also tried me on Mucinex (guafenesin) around 2002-2004. I found that it was mildly beneficial (though certainly not to the degree that you experienced! I’m jealous…:) I read a few years later while doing some research that guafenesin has a mild muscle relaxant quality to it. That made sense to me because I never could understand why a mucolytic would have any positive effects on fibro. It will be interesting to see what happens with Anbroxol.

      • Cindy Cirlincione says:

        I am so sorry. Were you off of all saciliytes? My friend who had fibro, after the protocol, has no fibro and it has been over 15 years or so. I wonder why it does not work for some and works for others. It takes 2 months for every year. I went to Dr. St. Amand in 2000 and at that time I was on an opiate, because my chronic pain was so bad, I could barely make it day to day and it gave me no pain for 13 years, but now they are not prescribing, especially since Prince and other people’s death. I always think, noone knows what it is like to be in pain, people want a cure or at least relief. St. Amand advised me at that time I could not be at the protocol, I was sad, but decided since I wasn’t feeling any pain anymore and that the clearing was so difficult, at that time, I did not want to be another person in pain. We are all in this together.

        • Annette says:

          What was the protocol that helped your friend cure or eliminate​ her Fibro symptoms? You can Private Message me if you want.

  3. phil says:

    Cindy, as a long time fibromyalgia sufferer i am also very interested in the name of this protocol. could you please let me/us know what it was?
    thanks,
    phil

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