Short-Term Treatment Vs. Long-Term Maintenance
Of these medications, Skelaxin is the least likely to cause drowsiness making it more compatible with day time use.
Improve Sleep & Pain Relief
Although not FDA approved for long term use, rheumatologists will often prescribe Flexeril nightly on a routine basis to increase stage 4 sleep so patients feel more refreshed in the morning.
In addition to helping sleep in fibromyalgia patients, Flexeril is also felt to help with pain separate from the pain relief fibromyalgia patients get with better sleep.
The Central Nervous System
While marketed as a muscle relaxant, Flexeril is similar in its mechanism of action to some of the tricyclic anti-depresssants such as Elavil (amitriptyline).
In fact, the muscle relaxants in general, are felt to exert their beneficial effects on the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), as opposed to a direct effect on skeletal muscle.
More InformationSee: Muscle Relaxers (Muscle Relaxants)
See: Muscle Pain
Take the: Fibromyalgia Screening Quiz Also See: Fibromyalgia Medication Options
At present, there are no medications approved by the FDA for treating fibromyalgia, although a few such drugs are in development. Doctors treat fibromyalgia with a variety of medications developed and approved for other purposes. Also See: Arthritis Patients Need More ZZZZZ's
More attention needs to be paid to the often dismissed symptom of sleep disruption in people with arthritis. Interrupted sleep is equally as problematic as joint pain and limited mobility for many people with arthritis. Poor quality of sleep and waking pain can also create a vicious cycle affecting mood and fatigue levels.
Answer provided by Scott J. Zashin, M.D., clinical assistant professor at University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Division of Rheumatology, in Dallas, Texas. Dr. Zashin is also an attending physician at Presbyterian Hospitals of Dallas and Plano. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and the American College of Rheumatology and a member of the American Medical Association. Dr. Zashin is author of Arthritis Without Pain - The Miracle Of Anti-TNF Blockers. The book is a must-have for anyone on one of the biologic drugs (Enbrel, Remicade, Humira) or considering the biologic drugs. Read our review of the book.
Last update 12/06/05