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Response to duloxetine in chronic low back pain: exploratory post hoc analysis of a Japanese Phase III randomized study

Authors Tsuji T, Itoh N, Ishida M, Ochiai T, Konno S

Received 28 March 2017

Accepted for publication 9 August 2017

Published 4 September 2017 Volume 2017:10 Pages 2157—2168


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Katherine Hanlon

Toshinaga Tsuji,1 Naohiro Itoh,1 Mitsuhiro Ishida,2 Toshimitsu Ochiai,3 Shinichi Konno4

1Medical Affairs Department, 2Clinical Research Development, 3Biostatistics Department, Shionogi & Co. Ltd, Osaka, 4Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Fukushima Medical University, Fukushima, Japan

Purpose: Duloxetine is efficacious for chronic low back pain (CLBP). This post hoc analysis of a Japanese randomized, placebo-controlled trial (, NCT01855919) assessed whether patients with CLBP with early pain reduction or treatment-related adverse events of special interest (TR-AESIs; nausea, somnolence, constipation) have enhanced responses to duloxetine.
Patients and methods: Patients (N = 456) with CLBP for ≥6 months and Brief Pain Inventory (BPI) average pain severity score of ≥4 were randomized (1:1) to duloxetine 60 mg/day or placebo for 14 weeks. Primary outcome was change from baseline in BPI average pain severity score (pain reduction). Subgroup analyses included early pain reduction (≥30%, 10%–30%, or <10% at Week 4) and early TR-AESIs (with or without TR-AESIs by Week 2). Measures included changes from baseline in BPI average pain severity score and BPI Interference scores (quality of life; QOL), and response rate (≥30% or ≥50% pain reduction at Week 14).
Patients with ≥30% early pain reduction (n = 108) or early TR-AESIs (n = 50) had significantly greater improvements in pain and QOL than placebo-treated patients (n = 226), whereas patients with 10%–30% (n = 63) or <10% (n = 48) pain reduction did not; patients without early TR-AESIs (n = 180) had significant improvements in pain at Week 14. Response rates (≥30%/≥50% pain reduction) were 94.4%/82.4%, 66.7%/49.2%, and 25.0%/18.8% for patients with ≥30%, 10%–30%, and <10% early pain reduction, respectively, 74.0%/64.0% for patients with early TR-AESIs, 67.2%/54.4% for patients without early TR-AESIs, and 52.2%/39.4% for placebo.
Conclusion: Early pain reduction or TR-AESIs may predict which CLBP patients are most likely to respond to duloxetine with improvements in pain and QOL.

Keywords: Brief Pain Inventory, responder, adverse events, duloxetine, low back pain, quality of life

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