Matsuoka, H., Makimura, C., Koyama, A., Otsuka, M., Okamoto, W., Fujisaka, Y., . . . Nakagawa, K. (2012). Pilot study of duloxetine for cancer patients with neuropathic pain non-responsive to pregabalin. Anticancer Research, 32,1805–1809.http://ar.iiarjournals.org/content/32/5/1805.abstract
To investigate the effect of duloxetine for cancer-related neuropathic pain in patients for whom treatment with pregabalin was unsuccessful
Data were retrospectively reviewed for patients experiencing neuropathic pain who were treated with duloxetine because pregabalin could not be administered, was ineffective, or where the dosage could not be increased due to side effects. Patients were given 20 mg of duloxetine per day, increased to 40 mg/day if needed. Pain was assessed for two weeks.
A retrospective study design was used.
Numeric rating scale for pain
Pain was reduced in 7 of the 15 patients. Baseline pain ranged from 5 to 10. After two to four weeks, pain ratings ranged from 2 to 9.
Duloxetine may be effective for relief of neuropathic pain.
Findings suggest that duloxetine may be helpful for patients with neuropathic pain as an alternative to pregabalin. This study provides weak evidence due to multiple study limitations. Further well-designed research is needed to identify the most effective management for cancer-related neuropathic pain.