FDA Approves Antidepressant Cymbalta for Back Pain

Cymbalta helps back pain

Lower back pain can strongly impair your everyday life—from having trouble lifting your groceries to impeding your workout regime. It seems relief might come from an unlikely source: the antidepressant duloxetine (commonly known as Cymbalta).  Based on the success of duloxetine in pain-related research, the  duloxetine for the treatment of chronic back pain. According to the FDA”s press release, “Since its initial approval, about 30 million patients in the United States have used Cymbalta. It was approved for the treatment of diabetic peripheral neuropathy in 2004; generalized anxiety disorder and maintenance treatment of major depression in 2007; and fibromyalgia in 2008.”

A new study conducted by Lilly Research Laboratories (the makers of Cymbalta) found that participants who took it had a significant reduction in lower back pain. Almost half of patients had a 50 percent reduction of lower back pain, plus a significantly improved quality of life compared to participants that took a placebo.

The random, double-blind study was conducted in multiple test sites around the world including the U.S. The subjects had experienced moderate lower back pain consistently for six months before the study but some were later disqualified if they were diagnosed with depression, taking potentially interfering medications, or had previously undergone back surgery.

The participants were randomly put in two groups for the duration of the 12-week study: 198 participants received a 60 mg dose of duloxetine daily, while 203 participants received a placebo. The participants also completed surveys that evaluated lower back pain severity, overall body functioning, mood, activity level and medication tolerability.

Participants who took duloxetine experienced a consistent reduction of lower back pain throughout the 12 weeks. They also reported a significant improvement in mood, body functioning and activity level compared to participants who took placebos. However, a significantly larger portion of participants in the duloxetine treatment group discontinued the medication because of adverse side effects: nausea and dry mouth were the most reported, although neither was severe. Results from a related study showed that duloxetine reduced the severity of depression and physical pain symptoms that often coincide with depression.

Of course, this method of treatment may not work for everyone. If you are experiencing physical pain, talk to a doctor or counselor about other types of medication and alternative treatments.

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