Eur J Pain. 2022 May 31
BACKGROUND Duloxetine is indicated in the management of pain in osteoarthritis. Evidence suggests that duloxetine modulate central pain mechanisms and cognitive factors, and these factors are assumed contributing to the analgesic effect. This proof-of-mechanism, randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover, double-blinded trial evaluated the effect of duloxetine on quantitative sensory testing (QST), cognitive factors, and clinical pain in patients with osteoarthritis and to predict the analgesic effect.
METHODS Twenty-five patients completed this cross-over study with either 18-weeks duloxetine (maximum 60 mg/daily) followed by placebo or vice-versa. Pressure pain thresholds, temporal summation of pain, and conditioned pain modulation were assessed using cuff algometry. The Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and the Pain Catastrophizing Scale evaluated cognitive factors. Clinical pain was assessed using Brief Pain Inventory and Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index. Linear regression models were used to predict the analgesic effect of duloxetine.
RESULTS Depending on the clinical pain outcome, 40-68% of patients were classified as responders to duloxetine. Linear regression models predicted the analgesic effect (predictive value of 45-75% depending on clinical pain outcome parameter) using a combination of pre-treatment QST parameters, cognitive factors, and clinical pain. No significant changes were found for QST, cognitive factors, or clinical pain on a group level when comparing duloxetine to placebo.
CONCLUSION A combination of pre-treatment QST, cognitive factors, and clinical pain was able to predict the analgesic response of duloxetine. However, in this relatively small study, duloxetine did not selectively modulate QST, cognitive factors, or clinical pain intensity when compared with placebo.
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