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Real-world treatment patterns and opioid use in chronic low back pain patients initiating duloxetine versus standard of care

Authors Andrews J, Wu N, Chen S, Yu, Peng X, Novick D

Received 22 June 2013

Accepted for publication 12 August 2013

Published 26 November 2013 Volume 2013:6 Pages 825—835


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Jeffrey Scott Andrews,1 Ning Wu,2 Shih-Yin Chen,2 Xia Yu,2 Xiaomei Peng,1 Diego Novick1

1Global Health Outcomes, Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, IN, USA; 2Evidera, Lexington, MA, USA

Abstract: To describe the use of pain medications in patients with chronic low back pain (CLBP) after initiating duloxetine or standard of care (SOC [muscle relaxants, gabapentin, pregabalin, venlafaxine, and tricyclic antidepressants]) for pain management, pharmacy and medical claims from Surveillance Data, Inc (SDI) Health were analyzed. Adult patients with CLBP who initiated duloxetine or SOC between November 2010 and April 2011 were identified. Treatment initiation was defined as no pill coverage for duloxetine or SOC in the previous 90 days. Included patients had no opioid use in the 90 days before initiation. Propensity score matching was used to select patients with similar baseline demographic and clinical characteristics for duloxetine and SOC cohorts. Compliance with index medication was assessed via medication possession ratio (MPR) and proportion of days covered (PDC) for 6 months after initiation. The proportion of patients receiving opioids and days on opioids after index date were assessed, and regression models were estimated to compare opioid use between cohorts. A total of 766 patients initiated duloxetine and 6,206 patients initiated SOC. After matching, 743 patients were selected for the duloxetine (mean age 57 years; female 74%) and SOC (mean age 57 years; female 75%) cohorts, respectively. Of the duloxetine cohort, 92% started on or below recommended daily dose (≤60 mg). The duloxetine cohort had significantly higher MPR (0.78 versus [vs] 0.60) and PDC (0.50 vs 0.31), were less likely to use opioids (45% vs 61%), and had fewer days on opioids (median 0 vs 7 days) than the SOC cohort (all P < 0.001). After adjusting for demographic and clinical characteristics, the duloxetine cohort initiated opioids later than the SOC cohort (hazard ratio 0.77, 95% confidence interval 0.66–0.89). CLBP patients initiating duloxetine had better compliance with initiated medication and were less likely to use opioids than those initiating SOC.

Keywords: medications, duloxetine, low back pain, opioid

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