Dear Pharmacist: I've had fibromyalgia for the last eight years, and I take Lyrica, hydrocodone and citalopram. My local pharmacist said those are used to treat pain and depression, but I want to make sure with you. Also, I'd like to know what natural alternatives I have. — S.D., Gainesville
Dear S.D.: Lyrica (pregabalin) is used to soothe nerve pain and can make you drowsy. So can the hydrocodone, which is used to reduce a pain chemical called "Substance P." The citalopram (Celexa) is classified as an antidepressant, but that's not necessarily how it's being used. Sure, it lifts a brain neurotransmitter called serotonin, which improves mood and reduces pain. Antidepressants that improve levels of both serotonin and norepinephrine may be even more effective. My point is this class of drugs is often used to relieve pain, not necessarily for depression. All three require prescriptions.
The cause of muscle pain varies greatly from person to person. Try not to concern yourself too much with the name of your disease or your "diagnosis," because the labels you take on as an identity make it harder for you to overcome. Just think in terms of having symptoms, rather than diseases.
The following are some known causes for muscle pain. If you can find out the cause, you can address it. With the help of a conscientious practitioner and state-of-the-art blood tests, find out if you have:
Infections. Pathogens known as EBV, CMV and HSV are known to hide in the body and cause muscle pain. Some cause chicken pox and shingles. Lyme disease, Bartonella, Babesia, Hepatitis C, coxsackie and parvovirus also may cause terrible muscle pain.
Magnesium deficiency. This causes widespread muscle pain. This nutrient is depleted by coffee, the pill, certain menopause medications, antacids, acid blockers, steroids and 200 other drugs. Taking high-quality magnesium supplements along with malic acid (derived from green apples) can help support muscle health.
CoQ10 deficiency. More than 300 drugs are drug muggers, among them statin cholesterol-reducing medications. When you are CoQ10-deficient, your muscles can spasm, become weak and hurt badly. There are more causes (and solutions), so if you'd like to receive a more comprehensive version of this week's column, go to my website and sign up for my free newsletter. The take-home message today is that fibromyalgia may be correctable if you find out what the underlying cause is, so don't resign yourself.
This is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose your condition. Go to SuzyCohen.com.