A newly released observational study conducted by researchers from the Verona University Hospital in Italy has suggested that a substance currently classified as a food product could potentially offer hope to sufferers of Fibromyalgia.
In the study, data from 407 fibromyalgia patients who had been prescribed ultramicronized Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA) tablets between the years 2013 and 2016 was analysed. The data showed a statistically significant decrease in the study group’s Visual Analogue Pain Score as well as a statistically significant increase in their Quality of Life score. Only 36 patients reported adverse events and these comprised relatively minor side effects such as diarrhea, constipation and related gastrointestinal complaints.
PEA is an endogenous fatty acid amide produced naturally in the body and also found in foods such as meat, eggs, soybeans and peanuts. As a naturally occurring substance PEA supplements are classified in Australia, and many other countries, as a food product, not a drug. PEA has been shown to have antiinflammatory, antinociceptive, anticonvulsant and neuroprotective properties and is increasingly being used in the treatment of chronic pain. Previous studies also suggest that PEA rarely causes serious side effects and, as a natural food product, can be used in conjunction with many other drugs without causing a drug-drug adverse reaction.
While the exact mechanism behind PEA’s apparent therapeutic actions are not well understood, the researchers hypothesized that it’s well-documented antiinflammatory properties could prove beneficial in the treatment of Fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia syndrome is a chronic disease whose wide-ranging symptoms include muscle stiffness, extreme fatigue, sleep problems, ‘foggy thinking’, mood swings and sensitivity to cold, heat, light and smell. The cause of the disease is not known and currently there is no cure.
The researchers said the results of their analysis warranted further investigation into, “…the development of a new and well-tolerated therapy for fibromyalgia syndrome, mostly suitable for these patients who need long-term treatments.”
The researchers acknowledge that their study was statistically small and that, “…methodologically stronger studies will be necessary to validate our observation.”