Use of Duloxetine for Arthralgias Associated With Breast Cancer Treatment
Posted: Monday, January 15, 2018
Based on recently published results in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, N. Lynn Henry, MD, PhD, of the University of Utah, Huntsman Cancer Institute, Salt Lake City, and colleagues have found that the antidepressant duloxetine may prove to be an effective way to treat aromatase inhibitor–associated musculoskeletal symptoms in women with early-stage breast cancer. The use of duloxetine decreased these arthralgias in these women, but it resulted in more frequent low-grade toxicities.
The randomized, double-blind, phase III trial included 299 postmenopausal women with early-stage breast cancer. All had an average joint pain score of ≥ 4 out of 10 that had either developed or increased since aromatase inhibitor therapy.
After 12 weeks, 127 patients treated with duloxetine and 128 placebo-treated patients were evaluated. The average joint pain score was 0.82 points lower for patients who received duloxetine compared with those given the placebo. Other markers such as worst joint pain, joint stiffness, pain interference, and functioning yielded similar results.
However, the patients treated with duloxetine did experience higher rates of adverse events of any grade (78% vs. 50%). In addition, similar rates of grade 3 adverse events were observed.