Published online Oct 22, 2018. doi: 10.5497/wjp.v7.i1.1
Peer-review started: July 29, 2018
First decision: September 3, 2018
Revised: September 5, 2018
Accepted: October 12, 2018
Article in press: October 13, 2018
Published online: October 22, 2018
Fibromyalgia is characterized by the primary symptoms of persistent diffuse pain, fatigue, sleep disturbance and cognitive dysfunction. Persistent pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia, are often refractory to current available therapies. An involvement of K+ channels in the pathophysiology of fibromyalgia is emerging and supported by drug treatments for this condition exhibiting action at these molecular processes. K+ channels constitute potential novel target candidates for pain therapy offering peripheral and/or central actions. The Kv7 channel activators, flupirtine and retigabine, have exhibited pharmacological profiles compatible to the requirements needed for use as a therapeutic approach to fibromyalgia. Clinical trials to address the multidimensional challenges of fibromyalgia with flupirtine and retigabine will provide important insight to the role of K+ channels in this condition.
Core tip: Fibromyalgia a multifaceted disorder remains a major unmet condition with current therapies providing limited control. An involvement of potassium channels in the pathophysiology of fibromyalgia and the related symptoms is emerging, and Kv7 channel activators, such as flupirtine and retigabine, exhibit pharmacological profiles compatible with the requirements of therapeutic approaches to fibromyalgia. Focused clinical trials with flupirtine and retigabine will provide important insight to the role of potassium channels and the utility of Kv7 channel activators in fibromyalgia.