Drug and Talk Therapy for Fibromyalgia

2014-08-27 03:17:05 | BioPortfolio


Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) afflicts 2% of the U.S. population and have huge individual and societal costs in terms of quality of life, social and work functioning, health care use, and lost productivity. Although single therapy approaches such as medication, graduated exercise, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) are well-established treatment approaches, the majority of FMS continue to report significant levels of pain and pain-related disability. Testing the efficacy of using combination therapies such and CBT with medication has considerable potential to maximize treatment response. Also, exploring the biological and psychological mechanisms underlying combination treatment may pave the way for developing new treatments for FMS sufferers.

We chose to study drug and CBT for several reasons: 1) the scarcity of trials that manipulate medications along with CBT in FMS, 2) the prohibitive nature of adding an exercise treatment arm in a study that has both time and budgetary constraints, 3) the complexity in understanding the mechanism of actions of 3 different modes of intervention in one clinical trial, and 4) the desire to explore mechanisms in this program of research, in particular the potential effects of a biological intervention (drug) on what is traditionally considered a psychological outcome (pain-related attributions and cognition) and the potential effects of a psychological intervention (CBT) on what is traditionally considered a physiological outcome (pain sensitivity).


Qualified participants will take part in a 21-week clinical research study entitled, "Drug and Talk Therapy for Fibromyalgia". We are doing this study to better understand how talk therapies, such as education and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), can improve the therapeutic benefits of drug for fibromyalgia.

Savella ®, (milnacipran) is an FDA approved drug for fibromyalgia. The safety and efficacy of Savella has been established in two US-based clinical studies involving over 2,000 patients with fibromyalgia. Because Savella has already been shown to be effective when used in isolation to treat fibromyalgia, we are conducting the study to determine whether combination treatment (Savella + talk therapy) is more efficacious than just Savella alone or talk therapy alone.

Volunteers will be randomized (like flipping a coin) on two different levels:

1. Each participate will be randomized into one of two groups for medication:

One group will receive Savella and the other group will receive a placebo (no medicinal value). Both the medication and the placebo will look identical and subjects will not be told into which group they have been placed until the completion of the study. Each participants has 66% chance of receiving Savella and 34% chance of getting the placebo.

2. The second level of randomization will be to determine which type of talk therapies you will be assigned to. Subjects will be randomly assigned to receive educational instruction relevant to fibromyalgia, OR cognitive behavioral therapy which includes a workbook. Both talk therapies will be provided over the phone once a week for 8 weeks. Each phone session may last for 30 minutes. Importantly, both talk therapies can provide coping tools and information designed to help manage fibromyalgia symptoms.

Study Overview:

Subjects will be asked to visit the Fibromyalgia Clinical Research Center on five separate occasions: Initial Screening (today's visit), Week 1, Week 2, Week 9, and Week 21.


1. Informed consent and initial screening questionnaire,physical assessment

2. Issue a 'pain score' wrist monitor with instructions to record current pain level three times a day for one week


1. Submit your pain recording

2. Complete the self-assessment questionnaires via computer

3. Vital signs check

4. Undergo pain sensitivity testing

5. If qualified, subjects be randomized to receive Savella or placebo AND to receive education or cognitive behavioral therapy


1. We will assess the subject's willingness to continue participation.

2. Review medication diary and medication side-effect checklist.

3. Schedule PHONE Therapy sessions: 8 thirty minute calls


1. One week prior to this visit, subjects will receive a 'pain score' monitor in order to enter current pain levels three times a day for one week. Then report for this visit.

2. Review side effect checklist, medication diary.

3. Completion of self-assessment questionnaires via computer

4. Undergo pain sensitivity testing


1. One week prior to this visit, subjects will receive a 'pain score' monitor in order to enter current pain levels three times a day for one week. Then report for this visit.

2. Review side effect checklist, medication diary.

3. Completion of self-assessment questionnaires via computer

4. Undergo pain sensitivity testing

5. Upon visit completion, participants will receive a reduced dose regimen of the medication along with written and verbal instructions to safely discontinue the study medication.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Control: Dose Comparison, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Factorial Assignment, Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor), Primary Purpose: Treatment




CBT and milnacipran, CBT with a placebo, Educational with milnacipran


Clinical Research Center for Pain, 250 University Blvd
United States




Indiana University

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-08-27T03:17:05-0400

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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

A common nonarticular rheumatic syndrome characterized by myalgia and multiple points of focal muscle tenderness to palpation (trigger points). Muscle pain is typically aggravated by inactivity or exposure to cold. This condition is often associated with general symptoms, such as sleep disturbances, fatigue, stiffness, HEADACHES, and occasionally DEPRESSION. There is significant overlap between fibromyalgia and the chronic fatigue syndrome (FATIGUE SYNDROME, CHRONIC). Fibromyalgia may arise as a primary or secondary disease process. It is most frequent in females aged 20 to 50 years. (From Adams et al., Principles of Neurology, 6th ed, p1494-95)

Systematic identification, development, organization, or utilization of educational resources and the management of these processes. It is occasionally used also in a more limited sense to describe the use of equipment-oriented techniques or audiovisual aids in educational settings. (Thesaurus of ERIC Descriptors, December 1993, p132)

A syndrome characterized by persistent or recurrent fatigue, diffuse musculoskeletal pain, sleep disturbances, and subjective cognitive impairment of 6 months duration or longer. Symptoms are not caused by ongoing exertion; are not relieved by rest; and result in a substantial reduction of previous levels of occupational, educational, social, or personal activities. Minor alterations of immune, neuroendocrine, and autonomic function may be associated with this syndrome. There is also considerable overlap between this condition and FIBROMYALGIA. (From Semin Neurol 1998;18(2):237-42; Ann Intern Med 1994 Dec 15;121(12): 953-9)

Educational attainment or level of education of individuals.

The assessing of academic or educational achievement. It includes all aspects of testing and test construction.

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