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Randomized Controlled Trial
, 105 (3), 371-6

Duloxetine Reduces Morphine Requirements After Knee Replacement Surgery

Randomized Controlled Trial

Duloxetine Reduces Morphine Requirements After Knee Replacement Surgery

K-Y Ho et al. Br J Anaesth.


Background: Multimodal analgesia is advocated for perioperative pain management to reduce opioid use and its associated adverse effects. Serotonin and norepinephrine are involved in the modulation of endogenous analgesic mechanisms via descending inhibitory pain pathways in the brain and spinal cord. An increase in serotonin and norepinephrine may increase inhibition of nociceptive input and improve pain relief. Duloxetine, a selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, has demonstrated efficacy in chronic pain conditions such as painful diabetic neuropathy and post-herpetic neuralgia. The objective of the study was to evaluate the efficacy of duloxetine in reducing morphine requirements in patients after knee replacement surgery.

Methods: Fifty patients received either two doses of oral duloxetine 60 mg (2 h before surgery and on first postoperative day) or placebo. All patients received patient-controlled analgesia with morphine for 48 h after operation. Pain and adverse effects were assessed at 0.5, 1, 2, 6, 12, 24, and 48 h after surgery on an 11-point numeric rating scale.

Results: Twenty-three patients in the duloxetine group and 24 patients in the placebo group completed the study. Morphine requirements during the 48 h after surgery were significantly lower in the duloxetine group [19.5 mg, standard deviation (sd) 14.5 mg] compared with the placebo group (30.3 mg, sd 18.1 mg) (P=0.017). There were no statistically significant differences between the groups in pain scores (at rest and on movement) or in adverse effects.

Conclusions: Perioperative administration of duloxetine reduced postoperative morphine requirements during the first 48 h after knee replacement surgery, without significant adverse effects.

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