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Drugs & Supplements for Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Which Ones are Right for You?


Updated May 24, 2012

A lot of people with fibromyalgia (FMS) and chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) sometimes wrestle with the decision of whether to take prescription drugs or supplements.

Some people think one of these choices is superior to the other, while others seek effective treatment by combining them. Whichever way you decide to go, it's important to be informed about everything you take.

Each medication or supplement has its own set of risks, including side effects and negative interactions. The better you understand them the better you'll be able to spot problems early. It's also important for you to work closely with your doctor and pharmacist to make sure you're taking things safely.

Getting Started: Drugs

Making informed treatment decisions takes some effort on your part. These articles can help you learn the basics about prescription medications for FMS and ME/CFS:

Each class of drugs works differently, and several are commonly used in these conditions. Learn about these prescription and over-the-counter drug classes, including the risks and benefits of each:

While drugs from the same class have a lot in common, each one is unique. You can find out about the drugs that are FDA-approved for FMS here:

Those are the only drugs approved for FMS, and so far no drugs are approved for ME/CFS. However, many drugs are prescribed off-label for both condition, including:

Doctors prescribe many other drugs for these conditions. You can find out more about them in About.com's Drugs A-Z.

Getting Started: Supplements

A common misconception about supplements is that because they're natural, they're safe. Actually, supplements do come with their own risks. Along with side effects, supplements can interact negatively with each other or with medications, and it may be possible to overdose on them.

It pays to educate yourself about supplements in the same way as medications. These articles can help you get started:

You can learn about some of the supplements recommended for these conditions, including their risks and what research shows about them, here:

People with FMS and ME/CFS may take many other supplements as well. You can learn about them at About.com's Natural Medicine A-Z.

Protecting Your Health

No matter what you're taking, be sure to follow dosage instructions, watch for problems, and report serious problems to your doctor.

Finding the right combination of drugs and/or supplements for you takes experimentation and communication with your doctor. It can be difficult and time consuming, but improved health can be the reward for your hard work.

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