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Central nervous system abnormalities in fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome: new concepts in treatment

Ali Gur, Pelin Oktayoglu
Current Pharmaceutical Design 2008, 14 (13): 1274-94
18537652
Fibromyalgia (FM) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) are poorly understood disorders that share similar demographic and clinical characteristics. The etiology and pathophysiology of these diseases remain unclear. Because of the similarities between both disorders it was suggested that they share a common pathophysiological mechanisms, namely, central nervous system (CNS) dysfunction. Current hypotheses center on atypical sensory processing in the CNS and dysfunction of skeletal muscle nociception and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Researches suggest that the (CNS) is primarily involved in both disorders in regard to the pain, fatigue and sleep disturbances. Many patients experience difficulty with concentration and memory and many others have mood disturbance, including depression and anxiety. Although fibromyalgia is common and associated with substantial morbidity and disability, there are no US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved treatments except pregabalin. Recent pharmacological treatment studies about fibromyalgia have focused on selective serotonin and norepinephrine (NE) reuptake inhibitors, which enhance serotonin and NE neurotransmission in the descending pain pathways and lack many of the adverse side effects associated with tricyclic medications. CFS is a descriptive term used to define a recognisable pattern of symptoms that cannot be attributed to any alternative condition. The symptoms are currently believed to be the result of disturbed brain function. To date, no pharmacological agent has been reliably shown to be effective treatment for CFS. Management strategies are therefore primarily directed at relief of symptoms and minimising impediments to recovery. This chapter presents data demonstrating CFS, abnormal pain processing and autonomic nervous system (ANS) dysfunction in FM and CFS and concludes by reviewing the new concepts in treatments in CFS and FM.

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