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Highly Accessed Review

Biology and therapy of fibromyalgia. New therapies in fibromyalgia

Lesley M Arnold

Author Affiliations

Women's Health Research Program, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Piedmont Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45219, USA

Arthritis Research & Therapy 2006, 8:212  doi:10.1186/ar1971

Published: 1 June 2006

Abstract

Fibromyalgia is a chronic, musculoskeletal pain condition that predominately affects women. Although fibromyalgia is common and associated with substantial morbidity and disability, there are no US Food and Drug Administration-approved treatments. However, progress has been made in identifying pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments for fibromyalgia. Recent pharmacological treatment studies have focused on selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, which enhance serotonin and norepinephrine neurotransmission in the descending pain pathways and lack many of the adverse side effects associated with tricyclic medications. Promising results have also been reported for medications that bind to the α2δ subunit of voltage-gated calcium channels, resulting in decreased calcium influx at nerve terminals and subsequent reduction in the release of several neurotransmitters thought to play a role in pain processing. There is also evidence to support exercise, cognitive behavioral therapy, education, and social support in the management of fibromyalgia. It is likely that many patients would benefit from combinations of pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments, but more study is needed.