Although some people may experience relief from fibromyalgia symptoms with guaifenesin, this could be due simply to a placebo effect. Only one study has been conducted on this topic, and it did not show any positive results. However, if you are interested in using the guaifenesin protocol to treat this condition, formulate a plan with your healthcare provider that allows you to objectively measure your progress.
Does Guaifenesin Cure Fibromyalgia?
Guaifenesin is an expectorant medication used to treat chest congestion. It is most commonly available over-the-counter (OTC) as Mucinex®, Robitussin®, and many other products. Interestingly, there has been a long-standing belief that guaifenesin is an effective cure for fibromyalgia. However, this possible fibromyalgia treatment is a controversial one, with little scientific evidence to suggest that it really works.
Treating Fibromyalgia With Guaifenesin: What You Need to Know
It has been suggested that guaifenesin works to treat fibromyalgia by causing the kidneys to excrete more phosphate from the body. The basic idea is that fibromyalgia is caused by a genetic defect that prevents the kidneys from removing phosphate from the body properly.
A treatment regimen of guaifenesin 300 to 600 mg twice daily is sometimes recommended in conjunction with a strict protocol of avoiding all salicylates, such as aspirin. This even includes cosmetics or other skin products that contain salicylates. It has been proposed that these substances block the beneficial effects of using guaifenesin for fibromyalgia.
Proponents of the so-called "guaifenesin protocol" warn patients that they should expect symptoms to cycle, sometimes becoming worse, before they get better. They urge people to be patient and allow the medication time to work without giving up too quickly.
Fibromyalgia Network. Consumer alters: guaifenesin. Fibromyalgia Network Web site. Available at: http://www.fmnetnews.com/resources-alert-product6.php. Accessed January 13, 2010.
Bennett RM, Clark SR, De Garmo P, St. Amand P. Report on a randomized, prospective, 12-month study to compare the efficacy of guaifenesin versus placebo in the management of fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia Information Foundation Web site. Available at: http://www.myalgia.com/guaif2.htm. Accessed January 13, 2010.
St. Amand P, Marek CC. The guaifenesin protocol. Fibromyalgia Treatment Center Web site. Available at: http://www.fibromyalgiatreatment.com/GuaiProtocol.htm. Accessed January 13, 2010.
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