Duloxetine and Fibromyalgia

Eli Lilly’s new antidepressant duloxetine (Canadian Cymbalta™) has been found to be effective in reducing pain in women with fibromyalgia.

In a 12-week study, 354 women took either duloxetine once or twice a day; the others took a placebo. More than half of the patients treated with 60 mg of the drug responded to treatment after the 12 weeks, but only one third of those taking placebo responded. Researchers stated that 44% of the patients taking the medication reported a sustained reduction in pain, compared with 19% taking a placebo.

Duloxetine medication is a dual serotonin-nor-epinephrine reuptake inhibitor. Some researchers believe that norepinephrine is mainly responsible for the effect on pain. The drug was approved in September for pain related to diabetic neuropathy.

Fibromyalgia affects about six million Americans, most of them women.