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Efficacy of noradrenergic and serotonergic antidepressants in chronic back pain: a preliminary concentration-controlled trial.

AbstractOBJECTIVE:
Although antidepressants are widely prescribed as analgesics in chronic back pain, their clinical pharmacology is not well established. Norepinephrine transporter blockade seems to be essential for analgesia, but optimal concentrations are unknown. Fixed-dose studies of serotonin reuptake inhibitors are generally negative, but such studies cannot be interpreted clearly because efficacy might be detected if concentration-response relationships were known. We evaluated (1) the feasibility of conducting a controlled-concentration study of a norepinephrine (desipramine) and a serotonin reuptake (fluoxetine) inhibitor and (2) the relationship between achieved concentrations and analgesic response.
METHODS:
This single-center, 12-week, double-blind, prospective, controlled-concentration study randomized 121 chronic back pain patients without major depression to active placebo (benztropine mesylate) or to predetermined low, medium, or high concentrations of desipramine (targets were 50, 110, and 150 ng/mL, respectively) or fluoxetine (targets were 100, 200, and 400 ng/mL, respectively). Of these, 83 completed the trial: 38 withdrew primarily due to side effects.
RESULTS:
Manipulation check revealed significant overlap of assigned and achieved concentrations related to drug intolerability. Completers' analysis of achieved concentrations revealed reduction in pain intensity was significantly greater for low-concentration desipramine (<60 ng/mL, mean Descriptor Differential Scale [DDS], 4.5) compared with placebo (DDS 6.2), higher concentrations of desipramine (>60 ng/mL, DDS 7.9), and all concentrations of fluoxetine (P < 0.05, DDS 7.1). Significant improvement in everyday function mirrored findings for pain intensity.
CONCLUSIONS:
Preliminary evidence for a low-concentration "therapeutic window" for noradrenergic analgesia may warrant additional study.
AuthorsJ Hampton Atkinson, Mark A Slater, Edmund V Capparelli, Mark S Wallace, Sidney Zisook, Ian Abramson, Scott C Matthews, Steven R Garfin
JournalJournal of clinical psychopharmacology (J Clin Psychopharmacol) Vol. 27 Issue 2 Pg. 135-42 (Apr 2007) ISSN: 0271-0749 [Print] United States
PMID17414235 (Publication Type: Journal Article, Randomized Controlled Trial, Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural, Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.)
Chemical References
  • Adrenergic Uptake Inhibitors
  • Capsules
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors
  • Fluoxetine
  • Desipramine
Topics
  • Adrenergic Uptake Inhibitors (administration & dosage, adverse effects, therapeutic use)
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Back Pain (drug therapy)
  • Capsules
  • Chronic Disease
  • Constipation (chemically induced)
  • Desipramine (administration & dosage, adverse effects, therapeutic use)
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Fluoxetine (administration & dosage, adverse effects, therapeutic use)
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement (methods)
  • Patient Dropouts (statistics & numerical data)
  • Prospective Studies
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors (administration & dosage, adverse effects, therapeutic use)
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological (chemically induced)
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Xerostomia (chemically induced)

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