An update on pharmacotherapy for the treatment of fibromyalgia

Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2015 Jun;16(9):1347-68. doi: 10.1517/14656566.2015.1047343.


Introduction: Fibromyalgia is a syndrome characterized by chronic generalized pain in addition to different symptoms such as fatigue, sleep disturbances, stiffness, cognitive impairment, and psychological distress. Multidisciplinary treatment combining pharmacological and nonpharmacological therapies is advised.

Areas covered: Publications describing randomized controlled trials and long-term extension studies evaluating drug treatment for fibromyalgia were searched in PubMed and Scopus and included in this review.

Expert opinion: Different drugs are recommended for the treatment of fibromyalgia by different published guidelines, although only three of them have been approved for this indication by the US FDA, and none have been approved by the European Medicines Agency. According to the available evidence, pregabalin, duloxetine and milnacipran should be the drugs of choice for the treatment of this disease, followed by amitriptyline and cyclobenzaprine. Other drugs with at least one positive clinical trial include some selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, moclobemide, pirlindole, gabapentin, tramadol, tropisetron, sodium oxybate and nabilone. None of the currently available drugs are fully effective against the whole spectrum of fibromyalgia symptoms, namely pain, fatigue, sleep disturbances and depression, among the most relevant symptoms. Combination therapy is an option that needs to be more thoroughly investigated in clinical trials.

Keywords: drug efficacy; drug tolerability; drug treatment; fibromyalgia; review.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic Uptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Drugs, Investigational / therapeutic use
  • Fibromyalgia / drug therapy*
  • Fibromyalgia / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use


  • Adrenergic Uptake Inhibitors
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Drugs, Investigational
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors