Guaifenesin for Fibromyalgia
What Does the Research Say?
One study has looked at treating fibromyalgia with guaifenesin. The main proponent for the guaifenesin protocol for fibromyalgia (Paul St. Amand, MD) was an advisor to this study. The study compared guaifenesin to a placebo (a "sugar pill" with no active ingredients).
All patients were instructed to avoid salicylates, and neither the patients nor the researchers knew during the study who was taking the guaifenesin and who was taking the placebo, making this a double-blind study.
Unfortunately, this study did not reveal any positive results. In addition, it did not find that guaifenesin affected phosphate excretion. It is important to note that this study has not been published in any peer-reviewed scientific journals, possibly due to the unsurprising results (unsurprising, at least, for the medical community).
Clearly, one study is not enough to disprove or prove the value of a treatment. Much more research is necessary to know with any certainty whether guaifenesin really is useful for treating fibromyalgia.
Other Important InformationPeople with fibromyalgia who are considering using the guaifenesin protocol should keep the following in mind:
- There is no evidence that fibromyalgia is caused by a defect in phosphate excretion
- There is no evidence that guaifenesin has any effect on phosphate excretion
- There is no published scientific evidence that guaifenesin can treat or cure fibromyalgia
- Many people claim to have been dramatically helped by the guaifenesin protocol
- Guaifenesin is relatively inexpensive, although it is not covered by insurance since it is available without a prescription
- Guaifenesin is a relatively nontoxic drug and is unlikely to cause serious side effects, unlike some of the other drugs used to treat fibromyalgia.
You may decide that you want to try the protocol. However, you should be aware that the "placebo effect" can be quite strong and convincing. Fibromyalgia, as well as other conditions that randomly worsen and improve and have somewhat subjective symptoms, may be particularly susceptible to the placebo effect.
If you decide to try treating fibromyalgia with guaifenesin, enlist the help of your healthcare provider to help you objectively track your progress.