Research by scientists from an Israeli School of Medicine has shone new light on potential new treatments for the crippling, life-long condition known as Fibromyalgia.
The researchers conducted a comprehensive review of current clinical research to develop a ‘big picture’ outlook of the treatments and therapies that show the most promise and the greatest potential for breakthrough success.
Currently only a handful of drugs across the world are officially approved by regulatory authorities for use in the treatment of Fibromyalgia and most have limited and varying effectiveness. There are, however, a number of drugs that are used ‘off label’, in combination with exercise and other non-drug therapies, in the treatment of Fibromyalgia. Cannabinoid and opioid drugs are one area of research that is currently attracting attention.
The review found that not all sufferers of Fibromyalgia responded to medications in the same way and that each individual responded best when their medication and treatment plan was specifically customised for them.
In recent years a number of clinical studies involving neural or functional brain imagery have found that Fibromyalgia affects each individual patient differently at a physical level. This would explain why certain drugs work for some, and not others.
A clinical study conducted by a Spanish University Hospital in 2018 found the reason why symptoms of Fibromyalgia varied so widely:
“Different, but related, areas of the central nervous system have been described as altering not only the functional but also the structural form, in patients with fibromyalgia. These involved areas extend beyond the pain circuits, which would explain the variety of symptoms in patients, in addition to the characteristic pain reported by them.”
The authors of the Israeli review concluded that “novel tailor-made” treatments, or in other words, personalised medicine, showed the most promise of offering hope for sufferers of Fibromyalgia.
“Future insights into the fields of cannabinoid and opioid research, as well as an integrative approach towards the incorporation of genetics and functional imaging combined with additional fields of research relevant towards the study of complex CNS (central nervous system) disorders, are likely to lead to new developments of novel tailor-made treatments for FMS (Fibromyalgia Syndrome) patients.
“…future clinicians will hopefully be able to treat specific patients based on their individual genetic (and pharmcogenetic) characteristics, together with an individualized analysis of connectivity patterns…”, the review’s authors reported.
A relatively new field of medicine, Pharmacogenetics is the study of how a person’s genes affect the way he or she responds to certain medicines. Pharmacogenetics is used to determine what the best drug combinations or the best dose of a drug will be for an individual patient.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is characterised by unexplained and chronic muscular pain as well as fatigue, brain-fog and sleep difficulties. It’s estimated that 3-6% of the world’s population suffer from Fibromyalgia.
The cause of Fibromyalgia is, as yet, unknown, however according to Fibromyalgia Australia:
“Research studies are investigating a wide range of issues including genetic components, brain inflammation, the role of stress hormones (e.g. cortisol) and neuro-chemical imbalances. Other studies are searching for biomarkers and diagnostic tests.
“Most of the research findings point to a malfunctioning of the central nervous system (CNS), which includes the brain and spinal cord, with resulting pain amplification.
“Various triggering events may precipitate the onset of Fibromyalgia including infection, trauma (e.g., physical injury, automobile accident, surgery, emotional trauma) or the development of another disorder, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
It is now thought that these triggering events awaken rather than cause an existing physiological abnormality.”
Note from National Custom Compounding: As specialists in personalised medicine, we regularly help Fibromyalgia patients and their physicians by making up unique medications in formulations specifically developed to treat the individual’s patient’s unique symptoms.
As fully licensed compounding pharmacists we can make up medications with unique combinations of active ingredients and in specific dosage amounts.
For more information on how we can help in the treatment of Fibromyalgia contact our head compounding pharmacist Matthew Bellgrove on 1300 731 755 for free and informal advice.