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Study: marijuana more effective than approved fibromyalgia drugs

Nearly all of us feel physical pain at some point in our lives. Sometimes it is relatively minor like overworked muscles. Sometimes it is much more serious, like a broken bone or a slipped disc. When we experience serious enough pain, most of us take a few days off, recover and go back to work. What about those living with chronic pain, those for whom there are not enough sick days to cover their pain?

Some of these people have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and many of them are unable to work because of their pain. While they are not in pain every single moment of every single day, the frequency and severity of their pain makes it impossible to hold down a job. As scientists continue to search for effective treatments and cures, many people with fibromyalgia will rely on disability benefits.

There seems to be one treatment that is working much better than the three drugs approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration: medical marijuana. And with New Jersey's medical marijuana law, it is possible that people living with fibromyalgia could find some relief.

The National Pain Foundation conducted a survey in which they asked 1,339 people to rate the efficacy of Lyrica, Savella and Cymbalta. The most effective of the three, Cymbalta, only helped 40 percent of people. Of that 40 percent, only 8 percent said that it was very effective.

The Foundation also asked individuals to rate the efficacy of medical marijuana. A staggering 62 percent of people said that it was very effective and 33 percent said it helped a little to relieve their chronic pain. That means that only 5 percent of people said it did not help at all.

How this survey can be used by physicians treating patients with fibromyalgia remains to be seen.

Source: American News Report, "Marijuana Rated Most Effective for Treating Fibromyalgia," Pat Anson, April 21, 2014

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