From the FMS News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton
NEW YORK (CBS) ― HEALTH
Courtesy © MMIX, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved
Millions of Americans suffer from Fibromyalgia, an illness that often leaves patients unable to function because of intense pain. Despite the severity of the condition, there are limited treatments available. But a new drug recently approved by the FDA is offering patients new hope.
Karen Morse remembers when making lunch for her two sons was nearly impossible. “It was a lot of pain. I’d wake up in the morning, can’t get out of bed; I couldn’t function,” Morse described. “I couldn’t take care of my kids.”
The 41-year-old mother suffers from Fibromyalgia, an illness that causes chronic, debilitating pain. Patients are more sensitive to pain, and feel it longer. The condition even forced Karen to quit her job.
Karen recently took part in a trial for the newly FDA-approved drug Savella. With the help of the medication, Karen is getting her life back.
“I feel so much better. I’m more alive. I am almost myself again, my old self again,” Karen said happily.
Nearly six-million Americans suffer from Fibromyalgia. Sufferers are often misdiagnosed because there is no obvious cause for the pain. There is no cure, though doctors say patients can manage the illness with medicine, in addition to sleeping right and exercising.
But the intense pain often triggers a vicious cycle. “If you have pain, it’s harder to sleep, and if you don’t have sleep, you wake up even more fatigued and more muscles still the next day,” explained Dr. Alan Manevitz, a Clinical Psychiatrist at New York’s Presbyterian Hospital and Weill Cornell Medical Center.
Doctors say the new drug could help patients take the steps they need to feel better. “Savella is a medication that impacts on the chemistry of the brain and helps with the chemicals that make the pain felt,” Dr. Manevitz clarified. The drug’s maker says Savella should be available, with a prescription, later in 2009.
After just a few weeks on the drug, Karen has begun working full-time. She went on a cruise with her husband and even attended a high school reunion at a roller rink. Now, she hopes her story will lead others to seek out the help they need to manage the pain and enjoy their lives.