Savella Decreases Pain and Fatigue Due to Fibromyalgia
Savella, a prescription medicine FDA approved in 2009, has been shown effective in a double-blind, placebo controlled trial to decrease pain and several other symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Milnacipran One of Three Approved Drugs for Fibromyalgia
The study, published in the September issue of Arthritis and Rheumatism, was conducted at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and sponsored by Forest Laboratories and Cypress Biosciences, the manufacturers of Savella. Dr. Lesley M. Arnold and colleagues recruited 1,025 patients with fibromyalgia who were randomized to receive either milnacipran (the generic name for Savella) at 100 milligrams per day – 50 mg twice daily – or a placebo.
During both 24-hour and weekly recalls, patients taking milnacipran reported significantly greater improvements in pain scores, pain severity and fatigue scores. Nausea was the most common side effect, though the drug was generally well tolerated by patients.
Savella is a selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) similar to drugs used for the treatment of depression. Studies have demonstrated that milnacipran may help to scale back the brain’s hypersensitivity to pain by altering neurochemicals associated with painful sensations.
Another study, conducted at Meridien Research in St. Petersburg FL, also found that Savella is also affective as a co-therapy with Lyrica (pregabalin). Patients who were on Lyrica monotherapy, but had inadequate responses to the drug, showed a mean decrease in pain scores of about 20 points when Savella was added.
This study, which included 351 “non-responders to pregabalin alone” was published in the journal Annals of Rheumatoid Diseases and also funded by Forest Laboratories and Cypress Biosciences.
Savella, Lyrica and the antidepressant medication Cymbalta are the only FDA-approved medications for the treatment of fibromyalgia in the United States.