Cough Remedy May Ease Fibromyalgia
A study done by the University of Florida (UF) suggests that an OTC cough medicine, dextromethorphan,may help patients with fibromyalgia quiet the overreacting nerves that amplify ordinarytouches into agony. The discovery was published in the May 2005 issue of The Journal of Pain.Researchers warn, however, that these are still early findings, and that patients should not take tomedicating themselves with OTC cough medicine for pain. Dextromethorphan is popular in coldremedies because it elevates the threshold for the coughing reflex, yet is not addicting. Rheumatologyexpert Roland Staud, MD, the principal author of the study, stated that the drug may eventuallybe an option for treating fibromyalgia and other conditions involving heightened pain sensitivity.He said that one of the mechanisms behind specific features of fibromyalgia is central sensitization,a condition in which the central nervous system somehow magnifies pain signals to abnormally highlevels. This is associated with "wind-up," a phenomenon in which repeated touches generate lingeringpain that increases with each new contact. The researchers learned that dextromethorphaneased fibromyalgia patients' wind-up pain to the same degree it soothed secondary pain induced inhealthy volunteers. Staud said that these findings "[have] refocused much of our research now," andthat future UF studies will attempt to pinpoint the origins of the pain impulses.