Over the years, various medications have undergone evaluation for use in the treatment of fibromyalgia. Those medications include muscle relaxants, corticosteroids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), sedatives and tricylic antidepressants.
Tricylic antidepressants actually have some history in the treatment of fibromyalgia. In fact, several of these antidepressants are used in the treatment of the condition. Nortriptyline, doxepin and amitriptyline are all used in the treatment of fibromyalgia. When used for fibromyalgia, in particular, it has been demonstrated in studies to be the most efficient antidepressant for treating the condition.
About amitriptyline for fibromyalgia
Amitriptyline is, as mentioned, a type of tricyclic antidepressant (TCA) used for treating clinical depression. As a result, it’s considered the most common TCA used around the world.
The antidepressant was originally developed by Merck, and was first synthesized in 1960. It was later approved by the Food and Drug Administration in April 1961.
This medication works as an inhibitor of the brain chemicals serotonin and norepinephrine. The medication’s mechanism of action acts strongly on the serotonin transporter, while it causes a moderate effect on the norepinephrine transporter. It doesn’t do anything to affect the dopamine transporter, however.
Amitriptyline is used for several medical conditions, including its FDA approved use for major depressive disorder. That doesn’t stop other medical resources from claiming it plays a role in assisting recovery from other similar conditions.
Amitriptyline is even said to act more efficient than other antidepressants when treating disorders. Interestingly enough, it is actually passed over for other newer antidepressants, since it is known to cause side effects and can get very toxic if consumed to overdose.
Antidepressants and fibromyalgia
Various medications are used to treat symptoms from fibromyalgia. The most common medications include painkillers, sleeping pills and various antidepressants. Antidepressants are said to help treat fibromyalgia symptoms originating from the dysfunction of the brain’s regular functions.
Antidepressants, especially tricylic antidepressants, have been used in the treatment of fibromyalgia for years. Tricylic antidepressants are actually some of the oldest antidepressants on the market, and have been utilized in fibromyalgia treatments for years.
Tricylic antidepressants like amitriptyline work by boosting the levels of the brain’s chemicals or neurotransmitters. When the levels of neurotransmitters are boosted, it prevents the brain from succumbing to impairment in its natural function. These antidepressants mainly boost the neurochemicals serotonin and norepinephrine. After taking these antidepressants, people with chronic pain typically feel much better, since they are known to have lower levels of those aforementioned neurotransmitters present in their brain.
Tricylic antidepressants also play a role in helping relax pain-ridden muscles. It also boosts the body’s natural painkiller, also known as endorphins. Even though these medications have positive results for conditions like fibromyalgia, they have various side effects that might make them hard to take on a regular basis.
Interestingly enough, the tricylic antidepressants that are prescribed for fibromyalgia include duloxetine, milnacipran and venlafaxine. Both duloxetine and milnacipran are already approved by the Food and Drug Administration for fibromyalgia treatment.
Venlafaxine has less research and, therefore, evidence supporting it as an effective treatment. Other antidepressants that have been studied and proposed as potential fibromyalgia treatments include citalopram, paroxetine and fluoxetine.
Amitriptyline falls in the category of relative untested tricylic antidepressants without further support as a fibromyalgia treatment. Though, it hasn’t stopped researchers from studying it and its potential as an effective treatment for fibromyalgia.