(HealthDay News) — Venlafaxine seems to be effective for the treatment of fibromyalgia, although studies are limited by small sample size and methodological concerns, according to a review published in the February issue of the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics.

Luke A. VanderWeide, PharmD, from the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in Aurora, and colleagues conducted a systematic review of venlafaxine for the treatment of fibromyalgia. The authors included data from five clinical studies (four open-label cohort studies and one randomized controlled trial) that investigated venlafaxine for the treatment of fibromyalgia. They then graded the studies according to the strength of evidence.

The researchers found that four of the published studies reported improvement in at least one outcome. There were generally consistent improvements in outcome measures related to pain, including the Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire, Visual Analog Scale, McGill Pain Questionnaire, and Clinical Global Impression scale. The studies were limited by small sample size, inconsistency of outcomes, and methodological concerns.

“Studies assessing the efficacy of venlafaxine in the treatment of fibromyalgia to date have been limited by small sample size, inconsistent venlafaxine dosing, lack of placebo control, and lack of blinding,” the authors write. “In the context of these limitations, venlafaxine appears to be at least modestly effective in treating fibromyalgia.”

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