(HealthDay News) — Duloxetine significantly improves osteoarthritis knee (OAK) pain, according to a meta-analysis published online June 5 in Pain Medicine.

Zhao Yu Wang, from the Guangdong Pharmaceutical University in Guangzhou, China, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review and meta-analysis to determine the efficacy and safety of duloxetine for management of OAK pain versus placebo.

Using data from three randomized controlled trials (enrolling 1,011 patients), the researchers found significant differences between patients taking duloxetine and those taking placebo with regard to the reductions in pain intensity (P < 0.0001), including both a moderate improvement (≥30 percent response rate) in pain intensity (P < 0.0001) and a substantial improvement (≥50 percent response rate) in pain intensity (P = 0.0004). While there were significantly more adverse events (AEs) and treatment-emergent AEs, there were no deaths or significant serious AEs tied to duloxetine.

“This analysis suggests duloxetine (60/120 mg quaque die), compared with placebo control, resulted in a greater reduction in pain, improved function and patient-rated impression of improvement, and acceptable adverse effects for the treatment of OAK pain after approximately 10 to 13 weeks of treatment,” the authors write.

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