Dear Pharmacist: I’ve had fibromyalgia for the last eight years and I take Lyrica, hydrocodone and citalopram for medicine. My local pharmacist said those are used to treat pain and depression, but I want to make sure with you. And also, I’d like to know what natural alternatives I have. — S.D., Gainesville, Fla.
Fibromyalgia affects millions of people worldwide. In Latin, the term describes pain in the muscles and fibrous tissue.
The muscle pain and tender points can become rather painful and sometimes disabling. But I believe there is an underlying cause.
Perhaps that cause is infection, nutrient deficiencies, mitochondrial dysfunction, the drug mugging effect of medicines or more. I’ll elaborate shortly, but you asked me to confirm the uses of your medicines.
The Lyrica (pregabalin) is used to soothe nerve pain and can make you drowsy. So can the hydrocodone, which is used to reduce a pain chemical called “Substance P.” The citalopram (Celexa) is classified as an antidepressant but that’s not necessarily how it’s being used. Sure, it lifts a brain neurotransmitter called serotonin, which improves mood and reduces pain. Antidepressants that improve levels of both serotonin and norepinephrine may be even more effective. My point is this class of drugs is often used to relieve pain, not necessarily for depression. All three require a prescription.
The cause of muscle pain varies greatly from person to person. Try not to concern yourself too much with the name of your disease or your “diagnosis” because the labels you take on as an identity make it harder for you to overcome.
The following are some known causes for muscle pain and if you can find out the cause you can address it. With the help of a conscientious practitioner and state-of-the-art blood tests, find out if you have:
Infections: Pathogens known as EBV, CMV and HSV are known to hide in the body and cause muscle pain. Some cause chicken pox and shingles. Lyme disease, Bartonella, Babesia, Hepatitis C, coxsackie and parvovirus may cause terrible muscle pain.
Magnesium deficiency: This causes widespread muscle pain. This nutrient is depleted by coffee, and “The Pill,” certain menopause medications, antacids, acid blockers, steroids and 200 other drugs! Taking high-quality magnesium supplements along with malic acid (derived from green apples) can support muscle health.
Selenium deficiency: This can cause thyroid disease as well as muscle pain. Improving selenium can reduce thyroid antibodies and support immune system health.
CoQ10 deficiency: Over 300 drugs are drug muggers, among them are statin cholesterol reducing medications. When you are CoQ10 deficient, your muscles can spasm, become weak and hurt badly.
The take home message today is that fibromyalgia may be correctable if you find out what the underlying cause is, so don’t resign yourself.
This information is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose your condition. Suzy Cohen is the author of “The 24-Hour Pharmacist.” For more information, visit www.dearpharmacist.com.