Brainstorming Brings About New Fibromyalgia Drug

Company looked for existing medication
By Terri Somers
Union-Tribune Staff Writer

January 18, 2009

The Food and Drug Administration’s approval last week of a new fibromyalgia drug, Savella, brought needed relief to the Massee family in San Diego’s Sabre Springs neighborhood.

Penny Massee, 59, the matriarch, chief cook, bottle washer and grandson spoiler, said she experienced “miraculous” results from the medication since first taking it in 2004 as patient No. 1 in a local clinical trial.

“My life is almost back to normal,” Massee said.

Fibromyalgia is a complicated and often debilitating chronic pain condition that afflicts an estimated 6 million Americans. It is largely misunderstood because it affects the central nervous system, but symptoms can include joint and muscle pain, sleep disruption, mood disorder and decreased physician function. When physicians look at their joints and muscles, they see nothing wrong.

The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, but researchers believe it involves a chemical problem in the brain and spine that increases pain perception. More…