A new study, presented at the 29th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Pain Society in Baltimore earlier this month, gave doctors one more treatment option to consider for fibromyalgia patients. The study found that FM patients who did not have particularly good results from taking Lyrica alone experienced significantly reduced pain and greater overall improvement when taking Savella in addition to the Lyrica.
Since Lyrica is effective for only about one third of FM patients, and since Lyrica and Savella have different mechanisms of action, the researchers wanted to see what happened when they were combined.
Study Methods and Results
In this study 173 patients were given just Lyrica and 179 were given Lyrica plus Savella for 11 weeks. The dosages used were 150 or 225 mg of Lyrica twice a day and 50 mg of Savella twice a day.
By week 11, the pain scores of the Lyrica group dropped four points as measured by the Visual Analog Scale, while the pain scores of the Lyrica plus Savella group dropped 18 points. The Lyrica plus Savella group also showed a significantly greater improvement in overall severity of illness.
I've often wondered whether combining Lyrica, classified as an anticonvulsant, with either Savella or Cymbalta, classified as antidepressants, might be more effective for some FM patients, so I was glad to see this study. Since both anticonvulsants and antidepressants can be effective pain relievers, it makes sense that combining them could significantly increase their effectiveness. The results of this study offer us another possible treatment option to discuss with our doctors.
Laino, Charlene. Adding Milnacipran to Pregabalin Improves Response Rates in Patients With Fibromyalgia: Presented at APS. Doctor's Guide. May 15, 2010.