Diabetes Drug Found To 'Eradicate Pain' For Fibromyalgia Sufferers
Fibromyalgia affects roughly 1.5-2 millon people in the UK, yet there is currently no cure for the pain and fatigue that characterises the disorder. However, there may be new hope for sufferers, as groundbreaking new research suggests that fibromyalgia and other forms of current pain may actually be caused by insulin resistance.
This means that the condition may actually be treatable using a common diabetes drug. A team of scientists from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston found that the discovery could lead to a big change in how chronic pain is treated, which could save people hundreds of pounds on painkillers.
The study separated patients with fibromyalgia from other patients with a blood test called A1c that tests for insulin resistance or pre-diabetes. They then treated those patients with common diabetes drug metformin - and found that it dramatically reduced the patients' pain.
The researchers found that the blood glucose levels of all of the fibromyalgia patients were significantly higher than in normal people, and neurology professor Dr Miguel Pappolla said that his group was "puzzled" as to why previous studies had overlooked that connection.
As well as pain, fibromyalgia results in a number of other symptoms, including:
Sensitivity to weather changes
According to Pappolla, the main reason for this oversight is that half of fibromyalgia patients have blood glucose in the normal range, but this changes throughout life. He said that "adjustment for the patients' age was critical in highlighting the differences between patients and control subjects."
Fibromyalgia is one of the most common chronic pain conditions, with Lady Gaga, Morgan Freeman and Sinead O'Connor all suffering from it. This development is absolutely huge, and could mean an improved quality of life for sufferers across the world. People with fibromyalgia often have to go years without a diagnosis or with being misdiagnosed, which could leave them living with excruciating pain and fatigue for their entire lives. The current method of diagnosis relies on patients reporting their symptoms, which isn't failsafe.
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