Benefit of Ribose in a Patient With Fibromyalgia

Benjamin Gebhart, Pharm.D.; James A. Jorgenson, M.S., FASHP

Disclosures

Pharmacotherapy. 2004;24(11) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Ribose was added to the existing treatment regimen of a woman with fibromyalgia, resulting in a decrease in symptoms. It has been postulated that patients with fibromyalgia may have an alteration in muscle adenine nucleotide metabolism, leading to depleted energy reserves and an imbalance in cellular adenosine-triphosphate:adenosine 5'-diphosphate:adenosine 5'-monophosphate (ATP:ADP:AMP) ratios with an abnormal energy charge. As a key component in adenine nucleotide synthesis, ribose supplementation may be useful in such patients.

Fibromyalgia is a syndrome that is manifested by generalized muscle pain and additional systemic symptoms of fatigue, tenderness and stiffness in multiple joints, sleep disturbance, and alterations in bowel activity. The specific etiology is unknown; however, changes in muscle histology, energy metabolism, oxygen utilization, and the neuroendocrine stress-response system have been postulated to play a role in the development and persistence of this disorder.[1] Low levels of muscle adenine nucleotides, reflected in depleted energy reserves and an imbalance in cellular adenosine 5'-triphosphate:adenosine 5'-diphosphate:adenosine 5'-monophosphate (ATP:ADP:AMP) ratios with an abnormal energy charge, have been reported.[2,3,4] The unknown cause and varying presenting symptoms make fibromyalgia a therapeutic challenge for practitioners.[5,6,7]

The management of patients with fibromyalgia requires the integration of both pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic approaches. Pharmacologic options have included tricyclic antidepressants, selective serotonin receptor antagonists, analgesics, benzodiazepines, antiinflammatory agents, and corticosteroids.[5,6,8] Routine daily exercise programs, dietary modifications, alternative therapies such as biofeedback and hypnotherapy, and nutraceuticals such as S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe) have also been explored.[9] Unfortunately, less than 50% of patients achieve any meaningful relief of their symptoms with use of those therapies.[5]

We describe the case of a patient with fibromyalgia who had symptomatic relief when ribose was added to her existing treatment regimen. There have been anecdotal reports on the benefits of ribose in patients with fibromyalgia in whom conventional therapies have failed; however, to our knowledge, this is the first published case of use of ribose for this syndrome.

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