Fibromyalgia and bipolar — what’s the link? the drugs

July 2013: Update: I’ve learned and come to understand quite a lot more about the this now. See: Protracted psychiatric drug withdrawal syndrome, chronic illness, CFS, Fibromyalgia. Yeah, they all have things in common. and Limbic Kindling — hardwiring the brain for hypersensitivity

DRUGS FOR FIBROMYALGIA PAINThis is a repost of something I think needs to be made known more broadly. People need to be aware that if they’ve been taking psychiatric drugs for a long time it’s very possible the chronic pain they experience is iatrogenic. And before people are put on such drugs they need to be told this is yet another possible adverse reaction.

Fibromyalgia and bipolar are often  associated with one another and it’s undeniable that people with both diagnosis are common. What is not being looked at is the fact that many people develop fibromyalgia symptoms (chronic pain) as a result of psychotropic drug use and where I see it most often is among people who’ve made the connection in withdrawal groups online. It most often clears up after one is free and clean from the drugs for some time.

Bipolar Disorder Common in Fibromyalgia — PsychCentral

Many fibromyalgia patients may also suffer from bipolar disorder as well as depression.

New research suggests that just over 25 percent of patients with fibromyalgia also have symptoms of bipolar disorder.

at the end of the article is this:

The authors also point out that certain medications used in treatment of fibromyalgia may have the potential of triggering mania in some bipolar patients. ”We urge that bipolar disorder risk be carefully assessed in all patients with fibromyalgia prior to initiation of drug therapy, particularly since norepinephrine serotonin reuptake inhibitors may carry elevated risk for induction of mania.”

That is true. Antidepressants often trigger mania in people who would otherwise not have it. BUT!! Antidepressant withdrawal also, as most psychotropic drug withdrawal, triggers chronic pain in many people. Sometimes people call it fibromyalgia. So what comes first here? I’ve seen hundreds of people in withdrawal groups develop pain and recover from it once the drugs are out of their system and they have the time to recover from the withdrawal syndrome.

The drugs used to treat bipolar and depression often cause pain. Many people never realize it’s iatrogenesis, drug induced-illness, and they call it fibromyalgia instead. If a large number never figure out the meds are causing it they simply think they have another disease and rather than coming off the offending meds, end up adding even more meds to fight the pain.

I am by no means convinced there is any other significant correlation between bipolar and fibromyalgia. As long as we keep blaming things other than toxic drugs used to treat mental health issues more and more of the toxic drugs will continue to be used. It’s damn frightening.

It’s true that people with fibro develop it when they are drug naive, but in my circles I see far more people who’ve never suffered pain develop what gets called fibromyalgia in withdrawal or while taking medications. Most people never make that association.

Since I’ve seen hundreds of people’s pain resolve after successful withdrawal, this is a deeply disturbing correlation to make without understanding the role drugs play. Recovery may take time but it happens.

From the first time I posted this article, that day in the news Lilly got narrow backing from the FDA for approval for Cymbalta for fibromyalgia. The fact is these meds are being used off label all the time already. The first time I heard a story about Cymbalta was a woman I met on vacation who told me she took it to relieve fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue that predated any drug use. She ended up in far worse pain and had become ardently anti-drug as a result of her nightmare experience on it. This was 3 1/2 years ago at least and it was a random woman I met on vacation.

This is an old youtube video created by a victim of Cymbalta, Depression Hurts, Cymbalta Hurts More. The withdrawal pain has been known and talked about online for a long time. The below video, though, could be about any of the SSRIs as well as other psych drugs, all of which can cause pain as well as withdrawal syndromes.

UPDATE: my thoughts have developed quite a lot since I wrote this post. See these articles —

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About Monica Cassani

Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters