Sodium Oxybate: Hope for People With Fibromyalgia

The medication sodium oxybate is a treatment option for people who have fibromyalgia and are experiencing significant levels of pain, disrupted sleep and generally quite cute symptoms. It is a powerful tool in the fight against fibromyalgia simply because it helps patients to achieve a very deep level of sleep, which they are probably not able to do without using this medication. However, many patients are quite anxious about taking this medication, simply because they have heard of others taking it who have experienced side effects, or they have researched it on the internet and have read about possible side effects and are concerned that they will experience some or all of the side effects. Hence they are reluctant to take it!

Sodium Oxybate and Side Effects:

There are risks of sodium oxybate causing side effects. These can include:

  • Feeling quite drowsy
  • Feeling light headed or dizzy
  • An upset stomach or diarrhoea
  • Increased anxiety
  • Bedwetting
  • Sleepwalking

Bed wetting and sleep walking are very rare side effects, but they can occur. The other side effects can be manageable and sometimes it is a case of balancing which is the optimum outcome. Is it better for patients to feel slightly nauseous but to have a decreased level of pain? Is the pain reduction significant enough to warrant the medication? If it is not then there is no point continuing with the medication over a long period. In short, if you are experiencing side effects that you feel are unacceptable then your medication can be reviewed and if, on balance, it is not seen as being of benefit then alternatives can be looked at.

Given that only a few people will experience significant levels of side effects, it is generally the case that the medication will work well for the vast majority of people, but in the very small number of cases where unacceptable side effects are experienced, then it can be stopped. So there is really nothing to lose by trying this medication. It is licensed for use and is recognised as safe, there are no long term health risks in terms of trying it and it really could help alleviate the pain and discomfort of fibromyalgia. So there should be no undue concerns about the potential for side effects.

Work With Your Pain Consultant!

When trying sodium oxybate, it may be helpful to keep a record of what pain you experience and also if you do feel ‘different’ in terms of light headed or dizzy. Sometimes it can simply take a few days to acclimatise to new medication. So don’t worry if you do feel a little bit different at first. The record of how you felt and how your pain levels were, even of how you slept will help both you and your pain consultant to assess effectively whether the medication is working for you and to be sure that it is the right treatment for you. The details that are recorded are much more accurate than trying to remember how you felt a week ago, or how you slept a week ago.

By keeping a record you have something to present to your pain consultant so that you can work together to ensure that you have the very best treatment in terms of dosage and levels of sodium oxybate. But above all, do not fear it in terms of a medication; it can be of enormous benefit to people with fibromyalgia!