About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Research Explains Why Painkillers are Ineffective on Fibromyalgia

by VR Sreeraman on September 28, 2007 at 3:41 PM
Font : A-A+

Research Explains Why Painkillers are Ineffective on Fibromyalgia

People who have the common chronic pain condition fibromyalgia often report that they don't respond to the types of medication that relieve other people's pain. New research from the University of Michigan Health System helps to explain why that might be: Patients with fibromyalgia were found to have reduced binding ability of a type of receptor in the brain that is the target of opioid painkiller drugs such as morphine.

The study included positron emission tomography (PET) scans of the brains of patients with fibromyalgia, and of an equal number of sex- and age-matched people without the often-debilitating condition. Results showed that the fibromyalgia patients had reduced mu-opioid receptor (MOR) availability within regions of the brain that normally process and dampen pain signals - specifically, the nucleus accumbens, the anterior cingulate and the amygdala.

Advertisement

"The reduced availability of the receptor was associated with greater pain among people with fibromyalgia," says lead author Richard E. Harris, Ph.D., research investigator in the Division of Rheumatology at the U-M Medical School's Department of Internal Medicine and a researcher at the U-M Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center.

"These findings could explain why opioids are anecdotally thought to be ineffective in people with fibromyalgia," he notes. The findings appear in The Journal of Neuroscience. "The finding is significant because it has been difficult to determine the causes of pain in patients with fibromyalgia, to the point that acceptance of the condition by medical practitioners has been slow."
Advertisement

Opioid pain killers work by binding to opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord. In addition to morphine, they include codeine, propoxyphene-containing medications such as Darvocet, hydrocodone-containing medications such as Vicodin, and oxycodone-containing medications such as Oxycontin.

The researchers theorize based on their findings that, with the lower availability of the MORs in three regions of the brains of people with fibromyalgia, such painkillers may not be able to bind as well to the receptors as they can in the brains of people without the condition.

Put more simply: When the painkillers cannot bind to the receptors, they cannot alleviate the patient's pain as effectively, Harris says. The reduced availability of the receptors could result from a reduced number of opioid receptors, enhanced release of endogenous opioids (opioids, such as endorphins, that are produced naturally by the body), or both, Harris says.

The research team also found a possible link with depression. The PET scans showed that the fibromyalgia patients with more depressive symptoms had reductions of MOR binding potential in the amygdala, a region of the brain thought to modulate mood and the emotional dimension of pain.

The study subjects were 17 women with fibromyalgia and 17 women without the condition.

Source: Newswise
LIN/C
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Advertisement
News Category
What's New on Medindia
International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2021 - Fighting for Rights in the Post-COVID Era
Effect of Blood Group Type on COVID-19 Risk and Severity
Woman with Rare Spinal Cord Defect from Birth Sues Doctor
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Fibromyalgia Endorphins Painkiller Addiction Top 15 Natural Painkillers Prescription Drug Abuse 

Recommended Reading
PET Scan Reliably Identifies Patients Who Have Poorer Prognosis
The study conducted by Washington University School of Medicine researchers reveals that PET 'can .....
Endorphins
Endorphins are natural painkillers produced in response to stimuli, like laughter, pain, stress, sex...
Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic health condition charecterized by widespread pain and stiffness in th...
Painkiller Addiction
Painkiller addiction is the use of prescription painkillers in a way not meant by the prescribing do...
Prescription Drug Abuse
Prescription drug abuse is consuming prescription medications in a way different from that as prescr...
Top 15 Natural Painkillers
Natural painkillers, such as herbs and spices can relieve pain too. They can be as potent and effect...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use