Diagnostic test nears for mysterious ailment


POSTED: Saturday, January 31, 2009

Researchers are getting closer to a test to diagnose fibromyalgia, says Dr. R. Paul St. Amand, who began treating himself for the often misdiagnosed disease more than 40 years ago.

St. Armand used gout pills to treat himself and other patients with symptoms of fibromyalgia until guaifenesin, an ingredient in Robitussin and other expectorants, became known. He says the over-the-counter medication reverses fibromyalgia 90 percent for people who avoid plant-based products with salicylates, which have a chemical that blocks guaifenesin.

“;It's a crime that these people are not getting help,”; he said in a telephone interview, referring to people suffering with the genetic muscular disease.

“;Our hope is for a single blood test for fibro, then to be able to do DNA on umbilical cord blood on newborns when fibro is in the family to warn families,”; he said. “;It is not too far away,”; he added, describing ongoing genetic research.




The Fibromyalgia Treatment Center


Fibromyalgia is found predominantly in women and overlaps many other diseases, which a doctor must be able to sort out, St. Amand said.

Like diabetes, there is no cure for fibromyalgia, but advances have been made in managing it in 48 years since he used gout pills used to treat his goutlike fibro symptoms, St. Amand said.

Thousands of patients are using his guaifenesin protocol, which has remained about the same since he developed it, he said. “;However, newer research will be helpful.”;

St. Amand is an internist, endocrinologist, fibromyalgia specialist and clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles.

He is working with a biochemist and geneticist on a major study of the biochemistry and physiology involved with the debilitating disease at the City of Hope in Los Angeles.