Apparently, some antipsychotics can be effective treatments for a variety of painful conditions, lessening pain as well as the anxiety or depression associated with pain. One of these is amisulpride which has been shown to be effective for pain in animal models, and in patients with burning mouth syndrome.

At the Universidad de Granada, Madrid, researchers undertook an exploratory 12-week study of the usefulness of amisulpride for pain in fibromyalgia, an illness which has a diagnostic and symptom overlap with ME/ CFS. Amisulpride was given to 40 patients alongside their current drugs, at an initial dose of 25 mg per day rising according to the clinical response and tolerability (the mean final dose was 87.5 mg per day). There was no significant change in the fibromyalgia score over the 12 weeks, and no change in the patients’ pain severity, although there was a mild improvement in sleep overall. Importantly, 26 of the 40 patients either withdrew from the study, mainly due to adverse reactions, or were lost to follow-up. So, despite its promising results in some chronic painful conditions, amisulpride did not seem to benefit these patients, and was poorly tolerated by them.

Science does not always throw up positive results, but the negative ones can be just as useful for excluding ineffective or even harmful therapies.

Reference: Amisulpride in the treatment of fibromyalgia: an uncontrolled study. Rico-Villademoros F et al. Clin Rheumatol 2012; 31(9): 1371-5.