By Jeanne Hambleton © Fibromite NFA Leader Against Pain

While I am a great believer in positive thinking, I have to accept that medication can be the only way that allows some people to live with pain and this impossible invisible condition called fibromyalgia. From this point of view I must say I am pleased that the drug companies are continuing to find ways of easing our pain and hopefully one day will find a cure.
This morning I received a press release from Pfizer who are working to help those of us with fibromyalgia and arthritic problems. I wanted to share this with you and the full report is listed below.

Having read this one of my greatest hopes is that the UK medical authorities will, in the near future, give its blessing to Lyrica, Cymbalata and now Esreboxetine.

Let us hope if these new drugs are approved in the UK that there will be no ‘post code lottery’ by the NHS for the prescription of these medications. Currently British fibromites are victims of the lack of approval of any specific fibromyalgia drugs. While American patients are able to gain relief from the new drugs, it seems the UK fibromites must suffer in silence.

In recent years I have read and signed numerous epetitions appealing to the Prime Minister Gordon Brown to bring some relief to those of us with fibromyalgia. The epetitions have asked for research, better education of doctors and specialists, fibromyalgia clinics and much more – but all have met with lame excuses. This has nothing to do with the current financial crisis. We have been writing to Prime Ministers – Tony Blair and Gordon Brown -for years. What do we have to do to get attention – camp out in our wheelchairs outside the Houses of Parliament? We might get more press coverage that way!

I am not surprised that Guy Fawkes chose to blow up the Houses of Parliament on November 5 if this was the only way he could get the attention of those working inside that building. Maybe we need a fictional Gun Powder Plot to enlighten the Government and spur the MPs into allocating funds for research to find a cure for fibromyalgia. But it does appear that nothing seems to stir those in the ‘corridors of power’.

A little correction here – according to Hansard and TheyWorkforYou on October 14 Dr John Pugh MP (Shadow Minister, Treasury; Southport, Liberal Democrat) is reported to have said, “…I was recently approached by someone in my constituency who suffered from a disease called Fibromyalgia, which had to be explained to me. That person found that there was wholesale ignorance of the disease in all parts of the NHS and many parts had been accessed about the condition.”

Hooray for John Pugh. Shall we all write to our MPs and talk about the ‘F’ word? You do know I mean F for fibromyalgia, I hope! I am not into writing about politics but for goodness sake if someone wants to win the next election they should become our champion – do something about the plight and despair of the fibromites. That should get them at least 2 million votes plus their families and friends. I wonder why are we treated as second class citizens? Just because we have an invisible disability it does not mean we have no feelings and do not deserve some respect. What do you say?

As a matter of interest something like 10 years ago the public were ignorant about ME. Today everyone has heard of it? We must spread the ‘F’ word – fibromyalgia. I have banned the other ‘F’ word in my house. Now we all say ‘fibromyalgia’ when we lose our temper and burst into fits of laughter.

Results from Clinical Trials Show Promise for Innovative Therapies in Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis Pain and Fibromyalgia

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Pfizer will present data on three investigational compounds that represent potential new mechanisms for targeting pain and inflammation. These data will highlight tanezumab, a molecule designed to target nerve growth factor, a key pain mediator; CP-690,550, a JAK-inhibitor that suppresses immune-related inflammatory response; and esreboxetine, a highly-selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor which plays a role in controlling the activity of this important neurotransmitter. These data will be presented at the 2008 American College of Rheumatology Scientific Meeting in San Francisco, California.

“Pfizer has an established track record of bringing innovative therapies to patients suffering with pain and inflammation,” said Martin Mackay, Ph.D., president, Pfizer Global Research and Development. “Data to be presented at ACR confirm our clinical approaches in developing these three compounds – CP-690,550, esreboxetine and tanezumab – as potential new medicines to provide relief from these serious medical conditions.”


Pfizer is a pioneer in the study of fibromyalgia, investing many years of research into treatment options for this complex pain condition. In June 2007, Lyrica (pregabalin) CV became the first FDA-approved treatment for the management of fibromyalgia. Data supporting that approval showed Lyrica patients experienced significant reduction in pain as early as week one in some patients.
While widespread pain is the cornerstone of fibromyalgia, the condition is also characterized by other hallmark symptoms such as fatigue and difficulty concentrating.

Data presented at ACR will highlight the results of a phase 2 proof of concept study with esreboxetine, a highly selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor in a fibromyalgia population.
Data from this study showed that esreboxetine may be effective in relieving in key fibromyalgia symptoms, including pain, function and fatigue and was generally well tolerated. In the study, 43 percent of patients receiving esreboxetine reported their condition was much improved or very much improved as compared to 23 percent of placebo-treated patients.

The most common side effects compared to placebo were constipation, insomnia, dry mouth, headache and nausea. The proportion of patients who discontinued as a result of adverse events was 8.2 percent in the esreboxetine group and 2.3 percent in the placebo treatment group.
Fibromyalgia has been recognized by the professional community for over 30 years as a common, chronic widespread pain condition and is now thought to affect up to six million Americans. Recent evidence suggests a neurological basis to fibromyalgia, as demonstrated by brain scans and altered levels of certain neurotransmitters.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Data is being presented from several clinical trials studying CP-690,550, an oral medication that inhibits the Janus Kinase enzyme (JAK). This enzyme plays a major role in controlling the activation and proliferation of white blood cells, key elements of the immune system, which play a major role in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). CP-690,550 has shown encouraging results for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis at doses that don’t appear to be associated with excessive immune suppression.

Investigators will present interim results from a late-breaking Phase 2B study evaluating the activity of CP-690,550 in combination with methotrexate, the most commonly-used RA treatment. Approximately 60 percent of patients on doses at or above 3 mg of CP-690,550 responded to treatment as compared to 37.7 percent on placebo. These data confirm and extend the promising data seen in an earlier phase 2A study to this longer, 12 week study, and to patients who are already taking methotrexate to treat their rheumatoid arthritis.

Also being presented is a pharmacokinetic drug interaction study which showed that CP-690,550 and methotrexate can be co-administered without dose adjustment. In addition, preliminary results from an open label extension study will be presented.

In these studies, the most commonly reported adverse events were nausea, headache, dizziness, disorientation, hot flushes, urinary tract infections, diarrhea and liver function tests. Larger and longer phase 3 studies are expected to start in 2009 to help further define the benefits and risks of CP-690,550 as a potential treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, 1.3 million Americans live with rheumatoid arthritis, a type of arthritis that can be severe, debilitating, deforming and even shorten life.

Osteoarthritis Pain

Pfizer continues to research new ways of treating osteoarthritis pain. Two studies to be presented highlight a new compound in development and new data for Celebrex (celecoxib) in the treatment of osteoarthritis pain.

Results from a Phase 2 study exploring the safety and efficacy of tanezumab, a novel biologic designed to block nerve growth factor, show that treatment once every eight weeks may significantly decrease pain in patients suffering from moderate to severe osteoarthritis pain in the knee. In the trial, approximately 75 percent of patients in both the tanezumab 100 and 200 μg/kg treatment groups experienced a 50 percent reduction in knee pain as compared to 26 percent of patients in the placebo group. In the study, the most common adverse events associated with tanezumab include headache, upper respiratory tract infection, paresthesia (abnormal sensations), hypoesthesia (decreased sensations) and arthralgia (joint aches).

Another late-breaking study evaluated continuous use of daily Celebrex treatment over a 22-week period compared to intermittent use of the medicine in preventing spontaneous OA flares. The study showed that continuous use resulted in 42 percent fewer OA flare episodes than the intermittent use. The results from the study also demonstrated that there were no significant differences in overall adverse events between the intermittent and continuous use groups.

According to the Arthritis Foundation, osteoarthritis affects 27 million Americans. Recent data show that one in two Americans are at risk for knee osteoarthritis over their lifetime. Loss of joint function as a result of osteoarthritis is a major cause of work disability.

About Celebrex

CELEBREX is indicated for the relief of the signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis in adults and ankylosing spondylitis, and for the management of acute pain in adults.

Cardiovascular Risk
All prescription NSAIDS, including CELEBREX, may cause an increased risk of serious cardiovascular (CV) thrombotic events, myocardial infarction, and stroke, which can be fatal. All NSAIDs may have a similar risk. This risk may increase with duration of use. Patients with CV disease or risk factors for CV disease may be at greater risk.

All prescription NSAIDs, including CELEBREX, are contraindicated for the treatment of perioperative pain in coronary artery bypass graft surgery.

Gastrointestinal Risk

All prescription NSAIDs, including CELEBREX, cause an increased risk of serious gastrointestinal adverse events including bleeding, ulceration, and perforation of the stomach or intestines, which can be fatal. These events can occur at any time during use and without warning symptoms. Elderly patients are at greater risk for serious gastrointestinal events.

About Lyrica

LYRICA is indicated for the management of Fibromyalgia, neuropathic pain associated with Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy, Postherpetic Neuralgia, and as adjunctive therapy for adults with Partial Onset Seizures. There have been post-marketing reports of angioedema and hypersensitivity. Treatment with Lyrica may cause dizziness, somnolence, peripheral edema or blurred vision. Other most common adverse events include dry mouth, weight gain, constipation, euphoric mood, balance disorder, increased appetite and thinking abnormally.

About Pfizer’s Investor Briefing at ACR (American College of Rheumatology)
On Tuesday, October 28 at 6:00 p.m. PCT, Pfizer will host a briefing for analysts and investors to review data presented at the meeting on candidates in Pfizer’s pain and inflammation portfolio

About jeanne hambleton

Journalist-wordsmith, former reporter, columnist, film critic, editor, Town Clerk and then fibromite and eventer with 5 conferences done and dusted. Interested in all health and well being issues, passionate about research to find a cure and cause for fibromyalgia. Member LinkedIn. Worked for 4 years with FMA UK as Regional Coordinator for SW and SE,and Chair for FMS SAS the Sussex and Surrey FM umbrella charity and Chair Folly Pogs Fibromyalgia Research UK - finding funding for our "cause for a cure" and President and co ordinator of National FM Conferences. Just finished last national annual Fibromyalgia Conference Weekend. This was another success with speakers from the States . Next year's conference in Chichester Park Hotel, West Sussex, will be April 24/27 2015 and bookings are coming in from those who raved about the event every year. I am very busy but happy to produce articles for publication. News Editor of FMS Global News on line but a bit behind due to conference. A workaholic beyond redemption! The future - who knows? Open to offers with payment. Versatile and looking for a regular paid column - you call the tune and I will play the pipes.
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