Objective: Infections and other stressors have been implicated in the development of fibromyalgia. We hypothesized that these stressors could result in recurrent reactivations of latent herpes virus infections, which could lead to the development of fibromyalgia. This study evaluated a famciclovir + celecoxib drug combination (IMC-1), active against suspected herpes virus reactivation and infection, for the treatment of fibromyalgia.
Methods: A total of 143 fibromyalgia patients were enrolled at 12 sites in a 16-week, double-blinded, placebo-controlled proof-of-concept trial. Randomized patients received either IMC-1 or placebo in a 1:1 ratio. Outcome measures included a 24-hour recall pain Numerical Rating Scale, the Revised Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ-R), the Patient's Global Impression of Change (PGIC) questionnaire, the Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory, the NIH Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS), and the Beck Depression Inventory-II conducted at baseline and weeks 6, 12, and 16 of the study.
Results: A significant decrease in fibromyalgia-related pain was observed for patients on IMC-1 treatment versus placebo. PGIC response rates were significantly improved with IMC-1 treatment. Overall, patient self-reported functioning, as measured by the FIQ-R, was significantly improved. Fatigue was also significantly improved as measured by the PROMIS fatigue inventory. The safety profile was encouraging. Despite the celecoxib component of IMC-1, gastrointestinal and nervous system treatment emergent adverse events were reported less frequently in the IMC-1 group, and study completion rates favored IMC-1 treatment.
Conclusion: IMC-1 was efficacious and safe in treating symptoms of fibromyalgia, supporting the hypothesis that herpes virus infections may contribute to this syndrome. Improved retention rates, decreased adverse event rates, and evidence of efficacy on a broad spectrum of outcome measures are suggestive that IMC-1 may represent an effective, novel treatment for fibromyalgia.
Keywords: antiviral; celecoxib; famciclovir; fibromyalgia; herpes virus.