Author(s): Lawson K
Fibromyalgia (FM) is a common, complex, and difficult to treat chronic widespread pain disorder, which usually requires a multidisciplinary approach using both pharmacological and non-pharmacological (education and exercise) interventions. It is a condition of heightened generalized sensitization to sensory input presenting as a complex of symptoms including pain, sleep dysfunction, and fatigue, where the pathophysiology could include dysfunction of the central nervous system pain modulatory systems, dysfunction of the neuroendocrine system, and dysautonomia. A cyclic model of the pathophysiological processes is compatible with the interrelationship of primary symptoms and the array of postulated triggers associated with FM. Many of the molecular targets of current and emerging drugs used to treat FM have been focused to the management of discrete symptoms rather than the condition. Recently, drugs (eg, pregabalin, duloxetine, milnacipran, sodium oxybate) have been identified that demonstrate a multidimensional efficacy in this condition. Although the complexity of FM suggests that monotherapy, non-pharmacological or pharmacological, will not adequately address the condition, the outcomes from recent clinical trials are providing important clues for treatment guidelines, improved diagnosis, and condition-focused therapies.