Consumer Reports Recommends Generics over FDA Approved Drugs for Fibromyalgia

Consumer Reports Recommends Generics over FDA Approved Drugs for Fibromyalgia 2016-07-07

"Since none of the medications have been shown to be clearly more effective than the others, it makes sense to start with the least expensive option" Consumer Reports

The FDA approved drugs for Fibromyalgia underwent extensive testing, and most doctors probably reach for them first, but Consumer Reports does not recommend their use in FM.

Instead based on cost and effectiveness criteria Consumer Reports asserted in 2014 that three generic drugs are probably the best choice for FM patients going the drug route.

In order to make the list of recommended drugs, a drug had to
  • Be as effective as or more effective than other medicines used to treat fibromyalgia.
  • Have a safety record equal to or better than other medicines used to treat fibromyalgia.
  • Have an average price for a 30-day supply that was substantially lower than the most costly
With regard to the FDA approved drugs, CR states that "studies show that the benefits of these medications are generally small. There is no clear evidence that one drug is better than another, and all of them probably lose their benefit over time."

They can also be quite expensive. While generics can cost as little as $6/month Lyrica typically costs about $250/month and other drugs can cost as much as $500/month. CR provides a table showing costs for the drugs typically used in FM.

CR believes these three drugs are the best bet for FM patients who wish to try drugs.
  • Generic amitriptyline
  • Generic gabapentin
  • Generic paroxetine-IR (immediate release)
Older vs Newer Medications

Are new medications necessarily better? Not necessarily....
Many people (including physicians) think that newer drugs are better. While that’s a natural assumption to make, it’s not always true. Studies consistently find that many older medicines are as good as, and in some cases better than, newer medicines. Think of them as “tried and true,” particularly when it comes to their safety record.

Newer drugs have not yet met the test of time, and unexpected problems can and do crop up once they hit the market. Of course, some newer prescription drugs are indeed more effective and safer.
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Meanwhile the only treatment option given a strong recommendation by a pan-European group called EULAR was exercise.
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