The primary objective of this study is to review the efficacy of duloxetine in treating chronic pain using the Initiative on Methods, Measurement, and Pain Assessment in Clinical Trials (IMMPACT) recommendations for clinical significance across chronic pain states. These include pain intensity, patient ratings of overall improvement, physical functioning, and mental functioning. This review comprised the side-by-side analyses of 12 double-blind, placebocontrolled trials of duloxetine in patients with chronic pain (diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain, fibromyalgia, chronic pain due to osteoarthritis, and chronic low back pain). Patients received duloxetine (60 to 120 mg/day) or placebo. Average pain reduction was assessed over 3 months as the primary efficacy outcome. Other measures used were physical function and Patient Global Impression of Improvement. In 10 of the 12 studies, statistically significant greater pain reduction was observed for duloxetine- compared with placebo-treated patients. The response rates based on average pain reduction, improvement of physical function, and global impression were comparable across all 4 chronic pain states. Compared with patients on placebo, significantly more patients treated with duloxetine reported a moderately important pain reduction (≥30% reduction) in 9 of the 12 studies, a minimally important improvement in physical function in 8 of the 12 studies, and a moderately important to substantial improvement in Patient Global Impression of Improvement rating in 11 of the 12 studies. The analyses reported here show that duloxetine is efficacious in treating chronic pain as demonstrated by significant improvement in pain intensity, physical functioning, and patient ratings of overall improvement.
Keywords: Chronic low back pain, chronic pain, diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain, duloxetine, efficacy, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, central nervous system, norepinephrine
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