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Fibromyalgia Drug Might Help Women with Provoked Vulvodynia

As noted above, gabapentin is used to treat fibromyalgia, a neurological disorder that causes pain throughout the body. Areas may be tender to the touch.

“Previous studies have suggested Gabapentin reduces the pain of fibromyalgia, a chronic condition that includes widespread pain in various parts of the body. Our theory was that reducing pelvic floor muscle pain might reduce vulvodynia pain overall and thus improve sexual function,” explained lead author Dr. Gloria Bachmann in a press statement.

For the 18-week study, 89 women with provoked vulvodynia were randomly assigned to take either gabapentin or a placebo. The women completed an assessment called the Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI). They were also evaluated for pelvic muscle pain. A group of 56 women without vulvodynia served as a comparison group.

Based on FSFI scores, women who took gabapentin had improved sexual function compared to the women in the placebo group. The drug seemed to be more successful in women with greater muscle pain. However, even with these improvements, the women with provoked vulvodynia had poorer sexual function than the women in the comparison group.

“We found that women with greater muscle pain responded better in terms of pain and improved arousal than those with less pain, which suggests that Gabapentin be considered for treatment in women who have significant muscle tightness and spasm in the pelvic region,” Dr. Bachmann said.


American College of Rheumatology


(Updated: March 2017)

American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology

Bachmann, Gloria A., MD, MMS, et al.

“Effect of gabapentin on sexual function in vulvodynia: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial”

(Full-text. Published online: October 23, 2018)

National Vulvodynia Association

“Vulvar Anatomy”

“Vulvodynia Treatments”

“What Causes Vulvodynia?”

“What is Vulvodynia?”

Rutgers Today

Verbanas, Patti

“Painful Intercourse in Women Improved with Fibromyalgia Drug, Rutgers Study Says”

(December 19, 2018)

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