New data for Eli Lilly’s Cymbalta (duloxetine) has shown that the treatment is capable of reducing chronic low back pain for as long as 41 weeks.

A total of 181 patients were enrolled in the open-label 41-week extension phase of the study, which was designed to evaluate long-term maintenance of the drug’s effect in patients with chronic low back pain taking duloxetine 60mg or 120mg once daily.

Cymbalta is a balanced and potent reuptake inhibitor of serotonin and norepinephrine that is believed to regulate the activity of serotonin and norepinephrine, two chemicals in the brain that are believed to mediate and regulate the perception of pain.

In patients who initially responded to duloxetine, this maintenance of pain reduction was accompanied by a further reduction in pain that was statistically significant as measured by the Brief Pain Inventory average pain rating.

Lilly Research Laboratories lead study author and a neurologist and medical fellow Vladimir Skljarevski said that chronic low back pain is a painful and debilitating condition and this study is an important step in the fight against it.

The most common adverse events in the study included headache, nausea, upper abdominal pain, excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis), back pain, diarrhoea and fatigue and were similar to those seen in previous duloxetine studies.