Innovations in Chronic Pain Therapeutics
Current treatments include opioids, NSAIDs, anti-depressants, benzodiazepines and other approaches.
Opioids are not normally recommended for treating chronic pain, but are still prescribed despite their serious adverse effects such as addiction, development of tolerance over time (which results in opioid-induced hyperalgesia (hypersensitivity to pain), and induction of androgen deficiency.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug analgesics (NSAIDS), when used on an on-going basis for chronic conditions, often causes significant GI tract irritation.
Anti-depressants (SNRI) which are FDA approved for treating fibromyalgia can have side effects that include sexual dysfunction and decreased libido in addition to sleepiness or insomnia, dizziness, nausea and constipation. Pregabalin, also FDA approved for treating fibromyalgia, commonly has side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness and weight gain.
The long-term use of benzodiazepines can result in loss of sex drive, affective and behavioral problems, increased anxiety and depression, cognitive impairment, decreased effectiveness and physical dependence.
Exercise, cognitive behavioral therapy, alternative medicine therapies and CNS neurostimulatory therapies can be helpful, but their efficacy is sub-optimal, and fibromyalgia remains difficult to treat.