Effect of DMARDs onFibromyalgia and Inflammatory arthritis

in by luxguru

Hi there,

How effective are Disease-Modifying Drugs (DMARDs) on Fibromyalgia and Inflammatory arthritis? A friend who is also a doctor suggested that I see a rheumatologist to explore this further. I have been living with FM for the last 8 years and inflammatory arthritis for the last 2-3 months and the pain is debilitating.


About luxguru

Conditions: Chronic Fatigue, Endometriosis, Fibromyalgia, Inflammatory myopathies

Doctors seen: MD – specialist

Treatment: Prescription medication/shots, Other

Children: 2

Age: 35-44


1 Answer


The effectiveness of DMARDs on fibromyalgia and inflammatory (generally rheumatoid) arthritis vary from person to person. In general, DMARDs tend to work better for the arthritis symptoms and not as well for fibromyalgia symptoms.

For fibromyalgia, efficacy of disease modifying medications is inconsistent at best. Most people who begin medications for fibromyalgia will have to change or discontinue the medication several times throughout the course of their disease. Some studies have shown that certain patients with fibromyalgia have shown no change in symptoms after 6-8 years of being on certain medications for fibromyalgia. Treatment for fibromyalgia works best when tailored to the person and when combined with multiple forms of treatment including physical therapy and exercise, natural supplementation, and medications.

Treatment of inflammatory or rheumatoid arthritis with DMARDs on the other hand has been shown to be much more effective than treatment for fibromyalgia. There are generally 3 drugs that are used for treatment of inflammatory arthritis. They are hydroxychloroquine, sulfasalazine and methotrexate. They are generally used alone or in combination with each other and are relatively safe and effective for treatment of inflammatory arthritis and its symptoms. It is generally not recommended to use glucocorticoids as treatment for inflammatory arthritis as they have many more side effects than the other medications.

Overall, the best efficacy that you will see in treating these conditions comes with a combined therapy approach that includes dietary changes, exercise, physical therapy, and nutritional supplementation in combination with pharmaceuticals.

Jenny Bennett, ND LAc

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Answered on July 2, 2014

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