Guaifenesin Treatment For Fibromyalgia
What is Guaifenesin?
Guaifenesin is a uricosuric drug, which means it causes excretion of uric acid from the body. Due to this action uricosuric drugs are usually used in the treatment of gout. Guaifenesin is also a common ingredient in cough and cold medicines as it liquefies mucous.
Guaifenesin for Fibromyalgia
In recent years guaifenesin has become one of the most popular treatment options for fibromyalgia patients. This is due to the successful treatment of many patients by endocrinologist, Dr. St. Amand over a number of years. Dr. St. Amand discovered by accident that uricosuric drugs were helping symptoms of fibromyalgia in his patients. He noticed that many patients symptoms seemed to wax and wane in a cyclical fashion and that when treated with these drugs, the illness would reverse in the same way but at a faster rate and often with more intense symptoms. After using a number of these drugs over the years, Dr. St. Amand now uses guaifenesin as it is cheap and free of the side effects that accompanied the use of other uricosuric's. As a result of these benefits as well as its efficacy, many other doctors are now using the guaifenesin protocol that Dr. St. Amand has now refined.
Guaifenesin may well have benefits in other environmental illness sufferers who don't meet the strict fibromyalgia diagnosis requirements but there is currently little or no information to confirm this.
Theory of Action
Dr. St. Amand believes that fibromyalgia is the result of an inherited biochemical abnormality resulting in poor excretion of certain substances. When analyzing 24 hour urine samples from fibromyalgia patients, before and after treatment with guaifenesin, he found that after treatment, excretion of phosphate had increased significantly and there was also a moderate increase in oxalate excretion. This led Dr. St. Amand to theorize that fibromyalgia sufferers fail to process substances properly that should be excreted by the kidneys. He believes this is probably due to deficiency of an enzyme or enzymes involved in this process. According to Dr. St. Amand, the symptoms of fibromyalgia are a result of the accumulation of the excess of phosphate and oxalate within the body's cells. This leads to impairment of energy production within the mitochondria and may also directly cause the pain and stiffness in the muscles and soft tissue experienced in the illness. Dr. St. Amand does stress however that his theory is subject to further research and that other biochemical abnormalities in fibromyalgia patients have been noted by other researchers. Whatever the exact mechanism, the guaifenesin protocol is currently regarded as one of the most successful treatment approaches for fibromyalgia.
Details of Treatment
Therapeutic Dosage - The dosage of guaifenesin treatment depends on the patients response and can vary from 600mg to 3600mg per day divided into two doses. The progress of treatment is measured by symptomatic improvement and also by a special technique called 'Mapping'. Essentially, this technique involves scanning the body for hard patches, tender points or spasms in muscles and ligaments. The sizes and severity of these are then noted and regularly rechecked. As treatment progresses the size and/or severity of these patches should decrease and eventually disappear altogether. The rule seems to be that a period of 2 months at the correct dosage will reverse 1 year of the illness, so someone who has been ill for 5 years can expect to be feeling much improved after about a year of treatment if all goes to plan.
Maintenance Dosage - As guaifenesin does not cure fibromyalgia but rather controls it by artificially causing the excretion of the offending substances, it must be taken at a maintenance dose for the rest of the patients life. This dose is usually the same as the therapeutic dose but patients may be able to lower it slightly without symptoms returning. In practice, guaifenesin is so cheap and safe that there is no real reason to do this.
Salicylate Avoidance - An important part of guaifenesin treatment is the avoidance of substances called 'salicylates'. Avoidance is necessary as they completely block the action of guaifenesin. Salicylates are produced by all plants and are very high in products that contain concentrated plant extracts. Products to be avoided include aspirin, herbal health supplements and topical products such as cosmetics and deodorants as salicylates are easily absorbed through the skin.
Hypoglycemia - A complicating factor in guaifenesin treatment is hypoglycemia, commonly known as "low blood sugar". Low blood sugar occurs when the body has an exaggerated response to high sugar foods and secretes too much insulin, leaving sugar levels in the blood too low. This leads to symptoms such as dizziness, lightheadedness, pounding heart, panic, tiredness, weakness and headache.
Dr. St. Amand states that patients will not improve unless hypoglycemia is treated at the same time as the guaifenesin protocol is undertaken. The extra fatigue and other symptoms caused by hypoglycemia may also make guafenesin treatment unbearable.
Hypoglycemia is treated by eliminating sugar and refined carbohydrates from the diet and eating "slow releasing", unrefined carbohydrates in moderation. Caffeine must also be avoided.
Guaifenesin.com - Information and resources
Guaifenesin.net - Information and resources
Fibromyalgia Treatment - Dr. St. Amands website
International Guai-Support Group - Information and support
Guaifenesin protocol book - In association with Amazon
What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Fibromyalgia : The Revolutionary Treatment That Can Reverse The Disease