|Many fibromyalgia patients are
encouraged to use herbal medications and dietary supplements by well
meaning friends, encouraging advertisments and health care professionals.
In general the medical profession is now taking a more practical approach
to what it refers to as "complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)". Indeed, the government in
the form of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has created a special
section to scientifically test the claims of alternate medicine
The National Center for Complementary and
Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) (
However it is important to realize that just like regular drugs, alternate
medicines can cause serious side effects (sometime even fatalities).
The reassuring term "natural remedies", that is
often applied to herbal and some dietary supplements can be misleading.
The fact is that these alternative remedies are not controlled by the Food
and Drug Administration (FDA) in terms of purity, quality or quantity of
contents. To date there have been no controlled studies documenting the
usefulness of any alternative medications in the treatment of
fibromyalgia. Of course, absence of studies does not mean that alternative
medications are useless.
However, before you spend money on such
medications, it would be worthwhile to do some homework. In particular
check out the side effects of the medications you are taking or intending
to take, and in particular look for dangerous interactions with drugs you
are already taking.
This information can be found at HerbMed
See Dr. Bennett's literature review on
Complementary and Alternative
Carol Burckhardt's views
on this subject
Other useful websites are:
FDA Dietary Suplements
FDA Alerts and Warnings
Reporting a problem or misleading ad.
Facts about Vitamins and Minerals