Fibromyalgia risk in women increased with poor sleep habits, new treatment uses potential drug targets for poor sleep

By: Devon Andre | Fibromyalgia | Thursday, March 17, 2016 - 02:30 PM

Fibromyalgia risk in women increased with poor sleep habitsFibromyalgia risk in women is increased with poor sleep habits, but a new treatment uses potential drug targets for poor sleep to reduce the risk of fibromyalgia. The findings come from researchers in Norway who uncovered the association between fibromyalgia risk and poor sleep. The researchers found that the risk of fibromyalgia continued to rise with severity of poor sleep, and the association was strongest among middle-aged and older women.

Women are much more affected by fibromyalgia than men and the prevalence of the pain disorder is roughly three to five percent in the general population. Alternative studies have found that insomnia, nocturnal awakening and fatigue are common symptoms of fibromyalgia, but it has long been unknown if sleep problems could increase the risk of fibromyalgia.

The researchers examined women participants in a large health study, which included questionnaires and clinical examination. The researchers focused on 12,350 women free of musculoskeletal pain and movement disorders.

Dr. Paul Mork said, “Our findings indicate a strong association between sleep disturbance and fibromyalgia risk in adult women. We found a dose-response relation, where women who often reported sleep problems had a greater risk of fibromyalgia than those who never experienced sleep problems.”

The researchers suggest additional research is required to better understand the association between fibromyalgia and sleep disorders.

Fibromyalgia treatment with sleep-targeted drugs

In a new study, researchers recreated sleep patterns commonly observed in fibromyalgia patients in order to understand how abnormal sleep waves occur. The researchers focused on the molecular targets of sodium oxybate, which is intended to improve sleep in fibromyalgia patients. The researchers found that sleep patterns were restored with the alteration of three specific targets.

The researchers suggest that targeting parts of the thalamus may prevent sleep disruptions and offer relief to fibromyalgia patients.

The researchers wrote, “Since no animal models of fibromyalgia exist, our model provides a much-needed tool for understanding what makes current fibromyalgia drugs efficacious and for finding more effective drugs.”

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