Like Chronic Pain, Fibromyalgia Debate Persists

Doctors have turned to drugs like Lyrica, whose generic name is pregabalin, to treat such people with more success. These drugs work to stabilize some of the brain chemicals which are involved with pain perception, like epinephrine and serotonin. In the past, antidepressants and anti-seizure drugs have been used to successfully treat fibromyalgia, Cope said.

Hadler is not convinced, however, that drugs like Lyrica are the answer to fibromyalgia.

"It is not a very impressive drug for me," Hadler said, citing what he says are flaws in the study. "Unfortunately, they are waiting with bated breath [for a cure] and cannot get well until the thing is found."

Though Lyrica does have some serious side effects, including weight gain, difficulty concentrating, and swelling, it has been an effective treatment for many.

"While our understanding of this disease is poor, there clearly is a group of patients who benefit from this treatment and who should be allowed to use it while weighing the risks and benefits," said Dr. Carol Warfield, chief of anesthesia at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and a consultant to the ABC News OnCall+ Pain Management section.

Doctors agree that the best way to deal with fibromyalgia is to combine medication with exercise and stretching, behavioral modification, and relaxation techniques.

"If you treat it properly ... patients do very well," Bernstein said.

Bremer said she has learned to cope with fibromyalgia with a regime that includes Lyrica, a few other medications, light exercise, massage, and naps. But she added that the condition continues to affect her and her family.

"You kind of learn that it's not going to go away entirely," Bremer said. Still, she has decided to use her experiences for a positive cause. She and her husband are currently spokespeople for the National Fibromyalgia Association.

"This condition has made me a better person," she said. "I'm not sorry I got it."

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