Lesley M. Arnold, MDWomen’s Health Research Program, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Lesley M. Arnold, MD, 222 Piedmont Avenue, Suite 8200, Cincinnati, OH 45219, USA. Tel: 513-475-8110; Fax: 513-475-8116; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Objective. To review the use of duloxetine, a new selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI), and other antidepressants in the treatment of patients with fibromyalgia.
Design. Two randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, parallel-group, 12-week trials of duloxetine in the treatment of fibromyalgia were reviewed. Other published, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trials, and meta-analyses of antidepressant treatment of fibromyalgia were identified by a PubMed search that was augmented by reference cross-check.
Results. Duloxetine has been shown to be an effective and safe treatment for many of the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia, particularly for women. Other selective SNRIs also show promise in the treatment of fibromyalgia. Until recently, tricyclic agents that have serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitory activity had been the most commonly studied group of antidepressants, and they are effective in treating pain and other symptoms associated with fibromyalgia, although their use may be limited by safety and tolerability concerns. There are few randomized, controlled studies of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in fibromyalgia, and the results have been mixed.
Conclusions. Antidepressants play an important role in the treatment of patients with fibromyalgia. Agents with dual effects on serotonin and norepinephrine appear to have more consistent benefits than selective serotonin antidepressants for the treatment of persistent pain associated with fibromyalgia.