Fibromyalgia OTC treatments often include analgesics such as acetaminophen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Examples of these are:
- Tylenol and Panadol, which are acetaminophens
- Ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin)
- Naproxen sodium (Aleve)
- Ketoprofen (Orudis KT)
These oral medications reduce pain and inflammation but are less powerful than prescription drugs like narcotics. They work by blocking the production of prostaglandins in the body; these substances cause pain and inflammation as a reaction to injury, infection and stress. Although less potent, they are useful adjuncts to therapy and can be used together with most medications to relieve muscle and joint pains.
Common side effects include gastric irritation, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, rash, headaches and dizziness. They may also interact with other medications such as lithium, methotrexate, warfarin, antihypertensive drugs and diuretics. Caution must be observed, especially if they are to be taken chronically for fibromyalgia symptoms.
Natural remedies which are available as OTC treatments for fibromyalgia include herbal supplements and other homeopathic remedies. Some examples are:
- For anti-inflammatory and pain relief – turmeric, devil’s claw root, willow bark, licorice root, dandelion, pine-bark, cayenne
- For symptoms of fatigue - Siberian ginseng, valerian root
- For antioxidant and detoxifier effects to boost the immune system - garlic, cayenne, echinacea, goldenseal, astralagus, myrrh, grape seed extract, and chaparral
- To relieve anxiety, depression and nervousness – gorse, aspen and impatiens, St. John’s Wort
In using herbs and homeopathic remedies, one must be careful not to overdose or take these substances indiscriminately. Although they are considered natural and safe, they can also have potent effects and may have side effects.
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