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A drug indicated to treat depression, fibromyalgia, and diabetic nerve pain may also provide relief from hard-to-treat chronic low back pain.
A new study shows patients with chronic low back pain treated with Cymbalta experienced a significantly greater comfort in average pain scores than those treated with a placebo. Those treated with Cymbalta also reported a greater decrease in their perception of their low back pain and its interference in their daily lives.
Chronic low back pain is defined as any pain in the lower back that occurs more than 12 weeks. Researchers say the problem is very difficult to treat because the cause is often unclear.
Chronic low back pain affects a large number of people. In fact, research suggests that the incidence of the condition may be as high as 48 percent, according to the researcher Vladimir Skljarevski, MD, senior medical director at Lilly Research Laboratories, in a news release.
Cymbalta is belongs to the class of antidepressants that affect both serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain.
In the study, presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pain Medicine in San Antonio, researchers compared the different effects of treatment with 60 milligrams of Cymbalta once a day or a placebo in 401 adults with chronic low back pain.
After 12 weeks of treatment, the results showed those treated with Cymbalta had a significantly greater decrease in average pain, as measured by the Brief Pain Inventory. They also experienced greater enhancement in their own perception of their low back pain and its severity and interference with their daily lives.
Treatment with Cymbalta also had a slight, but no significance, effect on disability scores.
The most common significant adverse effects of treatment with Cymbalta were nausea and dry mouth. Fifteen percent of those treated with Cymbalta goes out of the study due to adverse side effects compared with 5% of those who received a placebo.
Eli Lilly and Company, which markets Cymbalta, funded and participated in the study. Cymbalta is licensed by the FDA to treat major depression and generalized anxiety disorder as well as to manage diabetic nerve pain and fibromyalgia.