BY STELLA JONES
Fibromyalgia sufferers also struggle with the feelings of chronic fatigue along with chronic pain. No matter how much fibromyalgia sufferers sleep, they may still get up feeling tired and it feels like their thinking is impaired as if they are in fog.
Luckily, various medications are there that have been designed to effectively treat the issues related to fatigue. Milnacipran is one of those medications.
What is Milnacipran?
It is an anti-depressant that is used for treating fibromyalgia. FDA has approved three drugs for treating this chronic condition and it is one of them.
Milnacipran works to help to reduce the feeling of chronic fatigue by lessening the pain. it also has some other positive effects on fatigue apart from the pain relief. Although scientists are not sure how this medication works effectively, they do know that it is effective for fibromyalgia treatment.
Functioning of Milnacipran
The activity of neurotransmitters in the brain increases by this drug. Both serotonin and norepinephrine are included in these neurotransmitters that work to filter pain signals traveling along the spinal cord. This means that the brain does not receive high pain signals, so that brain cannot signal the body to feel the pain.
This drug bolts onto the molecules and carries the neurotransmitters back across the nerve junction when these two neurotransmitters are at nerve endings. So, this permits them to be used again or can be recycled for fighting against pain and also preventing pain signals. Other medications like milnacipran who helped in increasing serotonin levels were also shown to be effective in pain relief and relaxing muscles.
How was this medication approved for fibromyalgia treatment?
Based on the three criteria, the approval of milnacipran was made. The first criteria were that the drug milnacipran was sold under the brand name Savella that permitted the patients to experience a 30% pain reduction at least.
The second criterion was that the patients were asked to rate their pain as “very much improved” or “much improved” by this medication. There had to be some significant progress in the patient’s physical working when taking milnacipran. Since this medication stood up on all these requirements so, FDA approved it.
People who took milnacipran also showed a marked improvement about a week after they started to take milnacipran. Many of the patients, in this case, took milnacipran of 100 to 200 mg on regular basis.
However, this medication is prescribed in the lowest dose of 12.5 mg at first. After that, the high dose is prescribed gradually. The highest recommended dose per day for milnacipran is 200 mg.
Milnacipran also helps in relieving the fatigue during daytime along with the pain relief. It can also help with some problems like poor memory or lack of focus.
Is Milnacipran effective?
It is not easy to tell either the drug is going to work effectively for a patient or will fail in relieving fibromyalgia symptoms in others. However, there are some ways that can help in telling if this drug has some possibility to relieve fibromyalgia symptoms.
For example, venlafaxine, also known as Cymbalta or Effexor helped in dealing with pain but caused weight gain, and then Milnacipran may be a better medication for fibromyalgia sufferers.
Moreover, the side effects like weight gain, feeling sleep the next day and dry mouth are usually not experienced by people while taking this drug, since it isn’t a tricyclic medication.
Side effects of Milnacipran
As every medication has some side effects, so milnacipran also has some side effects. The side effects occur with this medication ranges from mild to severe, depending on the person who is taking the medication.
Weight reduction is the favorable side effect that arises upon taking this medication. Some people who took this medication reported a decrease of one to two pounds in weight per month. However, this medication has increased levels of norepinephrine, so there is also a possibility of increased high blood pressure and heart rate.
Nausea, constipation, insomnia, dry mouth, headaches, hot flashes, palpations and profuse sweating are some other common side effects that are associated with this medication.
When this medication is used continuously, and especially when it is taken with food, most people feel reduced nausea usually. Few interactions occur with other medications and the medication takes at least two hours to be completely absorbed into the bloodstream.
Fibromyalgia symptoms can get even worse with some of the side effects of this medication. Milnacipran should not be taken at night especially if you have some difficulty in falling or staying asleep due to having restless legs, because this medication can worsen the sleep.
However, this medication can help in reducing pain during the day. But it can also worsen the daytime fatigue since it causes sleeping problems. Try to take this medication a few hours earlier if it causes problems with sleep and asks your doctor to help you from preventing fatigue issues.
As this medication causes high blood pressure, so people who are not able to manage their high blood pressure should not take this medication. However, your doctor may re-evaluate your blood pressure medication to manage it or change the dosage, if you find a reduction in your pain with milnacipran.
You may need to switch your medication if you are taking this and side effects are causing problems to you. In this case, you should reduce the dosage of this medication slowly because it can cause problems if quit abruptly.
Information about milnacipran
The medication sometimes reacts differently to each person. So it can be a frustrating guessing game of effectively treating your fibromyalgia. You and your doctor will decide which treatment suits you the best if you are being better informed about your treatment. it will help you in pain, fatigue and symptoms reduction.