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Duloxetine is an Effective Relief for Chronic Back Pain

Duloxetine is an effective relief for chronic back pain and the associated depressive symptoms experienced by pain sufferers, according to a recent analysis.

Patients with chronic low back pain commonly experience comorbid depression and depressive symptoms. A post hoc path analysis of clinical studies sought to assess the direct analgesic effect of duloxetine for chronic low back pain, and how it might also remedy associated depression.

The analysis – the findings of which were published in the Journal of Pain Research – was conducted of three randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies of patients receiving duloxetine or a placebo for chronic low back pain. The primary outcome measure for pain was the Brief Pain Inventory, average pain score. A secondary outcome measure, the Beck Depression Inventory-II, was used for depressive symptoms. The changes in score from baseline to endpoint were determined for each index.

In total, 851 patients were included in this analysis. Four hundred received duloxetine and 451 received a placebo. The analysis found that duloxetine significantly improved both pain and depressive scores for patients in the duloxetine group compared with those who took a placebo.

The path analysis determined that more than 91 percent of the analgesic effect of duloxetine could be attributed to a direct analgesic effect and nearly nine percent to its antidepressant effect. Similar results were sustained after four and seven weeks, leading to the analysis’s conclusion that duloxetine significantly improves pain and depressive symptoms in patients with chronic low back pain.

Enomoto, H., Fujikoshi, S., Funai, J., Sasaki, N., Ossipov, M.H., Tsuji, T., Alev, L. & Ushida, T. (1 June 2017). Assessment of direct analgesic effect of duloxetine for chronic low back pain: post hoc path analysis of double-blind, placebo-controlled studies. Journal of Pain Research. Doi: 2017:10 1357–1368.

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