Does Fluoxetine help fibromyalgia? (+3 precautions)

In this article, we will discuss whether Fluoxetine helps fibromyalgia. We will also discuss the link between Fluoxetine and fibromyalgia and other treatment options for fibromyalgia.

Does Fluoxetine help fibromyalgia?

Yes, Fluoxetine helps fibromyalgia. However, it is not an FDA-approved medication for the treatment of fibromyalgia but it is sometimes prescribed off-label for treating fibromyalgia.

Fibromyalgia is a condition characterized by long-lasting muscular pains often accompanied by fatigue, sleep disturbances and mood swings. The pains of fibromyalgia are felt all over the body. It is considered neurosensory pain because the patient cannot process the pain in the brain (1).

Fluoxetine is an SSRI antidepressant that works by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin in the brain. It is a preferred choice for major depressive disorder and some other depressive conditions but is not a drug of choice for fibromyalgia (1).

Consult your doctor for the symptoms associated with pain and get yourself assessed for fibromyalgia. If your doctor recommends then start taking Fluoxetine at the prescribed dosage and frequency under your doctor’s supervision.

What is the link between Fluoxetine and fibromyalgia?

The link between Fluoxetine and fibromyalgia is not clear. Fluoxetine does not directly affect fibromyalgia but indirectly affects the associated conditions linked to fibromyalgia.

Sertraline, Citalopram, and Fluoxetine were given to a population for the treatment of fibromyalgia pain and the results varied significantly (2).

Fibromyalgia is linked with a decrease in brain chemicals such as norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine. The decrease in these neurotransmitters is not only associated with pain but also leads to anxiety and depression. Improvements in these conditions may indirectly impact fibromyalgia-associated pain perception (2).

What are the other treatment options for fibromyalgia?

The FDA-approved medications for fibromyalgia include (3,4):

Duloxetine and Milnacipran have shown affinity in improving pain and other fibromyalgia-associated symptoms by inhibiting serotonin and norepinephrine transporters.

Other drugs which are also used off-labelled for treating fibromyalgia and associated conditions include (4):

  • NSAIDs
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Opioids
  • Anticonvulsants

Non-pharmacological treatment

Physical therapy

A physical therapist can create exercise programs and teach relaxation techniques to improve strength, flexibility and mobility thereby reducing pain and enhancing overall function.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

CBT is effective in helping with the symptoms of fibromyalgia. CBT is effective in developing coping strategies to manage pain, enhance sleep and address the emotional aspects of the condition.

Lifestyle changes 

Improving sleep hygiene, maintaining a regular sleep schedule and managing stress are essential. A balanced diet, regular exercise and avoiding excessive caffeine and alcohol can also have a positive impact.

What to do if Fluoxetine does not help your fibromyalgia?

If Fluoxetine does not help your fibromyalgia, you should wait for at least two weeks. If you do not observe any improvement in your fibromyalgia symptoms, please reach out to your healthcare provider. You can try over-the-counter painkillers for temporary pain relief during this process.

Your healthcare provider may evaluate your current symptoms, underlying medical conditions, and response to the treatment. They may increase the dose to get the desired therapeutic benefit of Fluoxetine.

Fluoxetine is not an approved medication for fibromyalgia, so if Fluoxetine is not relieving fibromyalgia pain, you can contact your doctor to switch to an appropriate medication with better therapeutic outcomes for fibromyalgia pain.

Always remember not to stop taking Fluoxetine without medical supervision as it can cause withdrawal symptoms worsening your condition (5).

What precautions should be taken while using Fluoxetine for fibromyalgia? 

The following precautions should be taken while using Fluoxetine for fibromyalgia:

  • Tell your doctor if you are allergic to Fluoxetine or other SSRIs before taking it.
  • Inform your doctor about your family history, and underlying health conditions and if you are taking any other medicines.
  • Take Fluoxetine exactly as prescribed by your doctor and at the same time every day.
  • Avoid drinking while taking Fluoxetine as it may make you drowsy.
  • Reduce alcohol consumption.
  • Do not stop taking Fluoxetine abruptly as it can cause withdrawal symptoms.

In my perspective, Fluoxetine can be used to treat symptoms associated with fibromyalgia but the syndromw itself cannot be treated by the use of Fluoxetine alone.

Fluoxetine can help with mood disorders and anxiety issues associated with fibromyalgia. However, if your condition is not getting better, rech out to your healthcare provider for proper guidance and treatment plans.

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