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Duloxetine may reduce joint and muscle pain tied to aromatase inhibitor use

Monday, December 13, 2010 (Last Updated: 12/14/2010)

MONDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Duloxetine (Cymbalta) appears to reduce joint and muscle pain commonly associated with the use of aromatase inhibitors in the treatment of breast cancer, according to a study presented at the annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, held from Dec. 8 to 12.

In an open-label, phase II study, N. Lynn Henry, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues evaluated 29 postmenopausal women with breast cancer who developed new or worsening pain after treatment with an aromatase inhibitor for at least two weeks. Patients were treated with duloxetine 60 mg every day, with the option of increasing to duloxetine 60 mg twice daily, for eight weeks.

The investigators found that 21 (72.4 percent) of the patients achieved at least a 30 percent decrease in average pain, and 18 of 23 (78.3 percent) who completed protocol-directed treatment continued duloxetine treatment. The investigators also found that the mean percent reduction in average pain severity from baseline to eight weeks was 60.9 percent and in maximum pain severity was 59.9 percent. Toxicity was the reason for discontinuation in 20.6 percent of treated patients.

"Since women typically take these drugs for five years, it is important that the side effects not interfere too much with their quality of life, or they will be less likely to continue taking the medicine, which may lead to a greater chance of their breast cancer returning," Henry said in a statement.

Abstract No. PD08-06
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Specialties Pediatrics
Family Practice
Pulmonology

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