Duloxetine vs. placebo in patients with painful diabetic neuropathy

Pain. 2005 Jul;116(1-2):109-18. doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2005.03.029.


The aim of this study was to examine the efficacy and safety of duloxetine, a balanced and potent dual reuptake inhibitor of serotonin and norepinephrine, in the management of diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain. Serotonin and norepinephrine are thought to inhibit pain via descending pain pathways. In a 12-week, multicenter, double-blind study, 457 patients experiencing pain due to polyneuropathy caused by Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes mellitus were randomly assigned to treatment with duloxetine 20 mg/d (20 mg QD), 60 mg/d (60 mg QD), 120 mg/d (60 mg BID), or placebo. The diagnosis was confirmed by a score of at least 3 on the Michigan Neuropathy Screening Instrument. The primary efficacy measure was the weekly mean score of the 24-h Average Pain Score, which was rated on an 11-point (0-10) Likert scale (no pain to worst possible pain) and computed from diary scores between two site visits. Duloxetine 60 and 120 mg/d demonstrated statistically significant greater improvement compared with placebo on the 24-h Average Pain Score, beginning 1 week after randomization and continuing through the 12-week trial. Duloxetine also separated from placebo on nearly all the secondary measures including health-related outcome measures. Significantly more patients in all three active-treatment groups achieved a 50% reduction in the 24-h Average Pain Score compared with placebo. Duloxetine treatment was considered to be safe and well tolerated with less than 20 percent discontinuation due to adverse events. Duloxetine at 60 and 120 mg/d was safe and effective in the management of diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Demography
  • Depression / drug therapy
  • Depression / etiology
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / blood
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / complications
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / drug therapy*
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / urine
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Duloxetine Hydrochloride
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement / drug effects
  • Pain Measurement / methods
  • Personality Inventory
  • Placebos / therapeutic use*
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / blood
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors / urine
  • Thiophenes / blood
  • Thiophenes / therapeutic use*
  • Thiophenes / urine
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Placebos
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Thiophenes
  • Duloxetine Hydrochloride