What is the nervous system designed to do? Nerves make the arms and legs move. Nerves make the heart beat and the lungs breathe. Ultimately, the entire nervous system is designed to keep the body alive. That is its most primal function. If a lion is chasing, the body runs. If the hand touches something hot, it jerks away. Just like a built-in alarm system, this system of nerves will alert the body to danger and trigger automatic protective responses. Normally, this system works beautifully and life is preserved well into adulthood.
However, in some cases, this alarm system goes haywire. For example, some people are born with the inability to feel pain , a condition called the congenital insensitivity to pain . That condition is not a blessing, but a curse that leads to insurmountable body damage and a premature death. The nervous system can go haywire in other ways too. What happens if this alarm system is too sensitive? Now instead of feeling no pain, one is left to feel too muc...
On those days when we’re having a bad flare or wondering if we’ll ever find a pain medication that helps, it’s easy to get discouraged. It’s frustrating to have an illness that is often described as “mysterious,” for which there are no FDA-approved medications, and about which some doctors still question its very existence. When all we can see is how far we have to go, it helps to gain some perspective by looking at just how far we’ve come. Ten years ago, when I told people I had fibromyalgia, their response was usually, “What’s that? I’ve never heard of it.” Now they not only say they’ve heard of it, they usually tell me about someone they know who has it. Although it may not seem like it if you’re still trying to find a good doctor, we’ve also made progress with medical professionals. Today most doctors at least know what FM is. Unfortunately a few still don’t believe in it in spite of all the research proving that it is a real physi...
Although Xyrem (sodium oxybate) failed to gain FDA approval for the treatment of fibromyalgia, it is sometimes prescribed off-label to treat the sleep problems that commonly accompany FM. Thus far, Xyrem only has FDA approval to reduce attacks of muscle weakness (cataplexy) and treat daytime sleepiness in patients with narcolepsy.
This week the FDA reminded both healthcare professionals and patients that the combined use of Xyrem with alcohol or central nervous system (CNS) depressant drugs can markedly impair consciousness and may lead to severe breathing problems (respiratory depression). The use of alcohol with Xyrem is a new contraindication added to the Xyrem label.
In addition to alcohol, medications that should be avoided when taking Xyrem include:
Sedating antidepressants or antipsychotics
The use of Xyrem along with these products or other CNS depressants increase...
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