Sunday, November 13, 2011

Fibromyalgia & Medication

I'm really frustrated & overwhelmed by the lack of good medication out there for Fibromyalgia.

I've been on Elavil {also known as Amitriptyline} so far for the entirety of my 5 plus years will this illness. My original doctor prescribed it to me in a low-dose since in the lower dosage, anti-depressant medication has proven to be effective with relieving pain and helping with sleep.

I'd increased from 5 mg to 10 mg a little over time, and then the next dose up was 25 mg but we cut it in half initially. Eventually I went up to 25 mg but it made me a little drowsier than I liked. {I'm pretty sensitive to drowsiness side effects...and medications in general.} I fought through that for a bit and found it seemed to help.

For at least a year or so I went on like that, but then started to second-guess its effectiveness. I wasn't convinced it was working at all. So I thought I'd try going off of it and just working on lifestyle changes instead.

That failed.

I couldn't sleep at all without that medication. Lack of sleep flares up the pain as well so I was absolutely miserable.

Then out came Lyrica and after a time on the market, my rheumatologist thought it best to put me on it. {This was combined with the Elavil.} I tried Lyrica for a short time and had an awful experience with it, in part because my drowsiness became soooo bad, I could hardly function. We decided to go back to just the Elavil. I left that rheumatologist and continued working with just my doctor instead.

Ever since then, I've continued with just using a half pill of the 25mg of Elavil. I sleep okay. My pain levels are relatively okay. That dosage doesn't make me drowsy anymore.

But I've been really frustrated by the side effects, and my increasing sensitivity to the sun is driving me absolutely bonkers.

Thursday morning I had my annual physical with my doctor. It was wonderful. I could rave forever about my amazing doctor and how thankful I am that she's a Christian... but I'll spare you. ;) Needless to say, we talked at length in June when I was there about medications, I did a lot of research, heard from others some good suggestions, did lots more research, and talked in even more length this visit with my doc about medication options.

The long and short of it is that I'm going to stay on Elavil. *sigh*

I've generally made my peace with it, except the sun sensitivity thing really bothers me. But the difficulty is that most of the Fibromyalgia specific meds out there are not good for pregnancy, if I were to get pregnant I'd need to immediately go back off of them. Since we're kinda trying to get pregnant [er, at least not preventing], changing at this time doesn't make a lot of sense. And some of the other meds that could be safe for pregnancy, I'm not really sure I'd want to do that anyway.

It's been determined that staying on this medication is the best thing for me. And the good outweighs the bad.

Another benefit of staying on Elavil is that it means I don't have to adjust any of my medications. Safe. Stable. Secure. No changes.

Ahhhh. Sometimes dealing with an illness like this we just need some things in our lives to remain stable. Stuff like medications, doctors, etc.

Despite my frustration with this current medication, adjusting to a new one also brings along other fears and concerns that I'm not sure I feel like dealing with right now. So alas, I play it safe and keep on keeping on.

For now.

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