New Study: Duloxetine Effective in Treating Fibromyalgia

New Study: Duloxetine Effective in Treating Fibromyalgia

A study published this week in Arthritis Research and Therapy shows that duloxetine is a safe and effective treatment for fibromyalgia, and it also improves quality of life.

In the study, A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase III trial of duloxetine in Japanese fibromyalgia patients, 393 Japanese citizens with confirmed diagnoses of fibromyalgia were split into two groups: One group (n=196) received duloxetine and the other group (n=197) received a placebo.

Based on a Last Observation Carried Forward (LOCF) analysis, data showed that there was a statistically significant improvement in the change of average pain scores at 14 weeks.

Duloxetine treatment also showed improved outcomes in nearly all secondary and post hoc analyses, including quality of life.

According to the study, “the treatment was generally well tolerated. Somnolence, nausea, and constipation were the most common treatment-emergent adverse events in the duloxetine group. The discontinuation rates due to treatment-emergent adverse events were similar in both groups.”

Duloxetine, which is also known as Cymbalta, is commonly used to treat depression and anxiety. For people with chronic pain, Cymbalta is used to treat diabetic neuropathy, peripheral neuropathy (nerve pain), arthritis, back pain and, of course, fibromyalgia. The drug is associated with improving sleep, increasing energy, and decrease nervousness.

Duloxetine is a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI), which works by restoring the balance of certain natural substances (serotonin and norepinephrine) in the brain. For people with fibromyalgia, duloxetine may help manage widespread muscle pain, incredible tiredness and challenges with sleep.

While fibromyalgia is poorly understood, it is a common and sometimes debilitating condition. Many researchers believe fibromyalgia’s underlying problem is a neural one, where the nervous system fires signals inappropriately.  They believe duloxetine calms the nervous system by increasing the natural substances of serotonin and norepinephrine.

Authored by: Ed Coghlan

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I’ve been on Cymbalta for a few yrs, its very hard to get off of. I am being weaned very slowly because of the side effects. Also I’d like to mention it only comes in capsule form so you cant cut them in half and they only come in a few strengths. Again when you are trying to get off the stuff doesnt help.

Claire Gawinowicz

Was on Cymbalta for 3 days on recommendation from rheumotologist. They were some of the worst days of my life. The feeling it gave me was awful. For some maybe it works - for me it was a total disaster. I have a relative and a friend who had the same reaction.

Good to know about this medicine. This helps in overcoming health issues related to fibromylgia.


I can’t help thinking this was published in time for the Eli Lilly (cymbalta withdrawal trials) in the States. I can tell you that 1900 people in an on-line forum can tell you about the horrors of cymbalta and they aren’t lying about it….I’m one of them (we had more, but some of DIED)! It was horrible being on it; it was worse coming off!! I nearly died myself and my GP knows nothing about proper discontinuation of this horrible drug; the recommended way is too fast and creates protracted withdrawal symptoms (prescribed for fibromyalgia…made it worse!); very few medical professionals do! I wish the health profession would stop prescribing drugs that they truly don’t understand!


Wonderful drug until you try to get off it. Talk about sick….it was awful. I will NOT take again.

Brenda Flippen

I tried it 3 different times. Had the same reaction each time. After 5 days my body started feeling like it was in a total muscle spasm, then a burning stinging started. For the first time in my life I felt like I wanted to die. My doc just looked at me and shook his head. Why? He thought I should stay on it and wait out the side effects. So this is not happening. I have really tried to follow his suggestions, many times, but will not subject my self to that. But for all who have had good experiences I am happy for you. Just beware if you get to feeling strange and by all means start getting off this med..If you have been on it a while you need to taper off gradually, if it’s only been a few days just stop. Let your doc know so he hopefully won’t ask you to try it again.

Shawn S

I don’t understand when they say it’s BELIVED to stimulate the natural chemistry of the brain
I would like more proof of how a drug works
I wouldn’t take it when doc wanted to start me on it course I don’t have fibro either
I have chronic pain due to trauma to the head and shoulder and failed surgeries on my shoulder

Fibromyalgia is a condition that I know very little about, what I do believe is - its painful. After just a little looking its safe to say the medical community as a whole has a poor understanding of what causes Fibromyalgia.

Duloxetine is used to treat depression and or anxiety. So now we have 1 more antidepressant added to the NOPM ( non opiate pain med ) list - yea, one more for the good guys. Maybe next they will do a study to determine the side effects for long term use of the drug.

Why not go with the proven meds that are on the market and have been used for generations ? Yes OPIATES - they work. What scares me the most is the big push for antidepressants to treat chronic pain simply because its not an opiate. If so many are so afraid of opiate pain meds then do a long term study to determine just how effective they really are. For me, the first time I was given an antidepressant for pain I found myself on the bathroom floor, not vomiting but I was so dizzy and confused I was afraid to leave the room.

Depression does make pain worse and I know that for a fact but to only treat the depression is not the answer for all of us.

The dilemma is this: In the USA the goal is not to treat chronic pain with an type of opiate / but so far they have not come up with anything that even comes close to the success that opiate pain meds provide. ” Don’t pee down my back and tell me its raining ”

Thank you,


Rob Larson

This is Cymbalta. A lot of people have had serious problems with this drug. Check it out for yourself at Askapatient dot com.