BACKGROUND: The global burden of osteoarthritis (OA) is steadily increasing due to demographic and lifestyle changes. The nervous system can undergo peripheral and central neuroplastic changes (sensitization) in patients with OA impacting the options to manage the pain adequately. As a result of sensitization, patients with OA show lower pressure pain thresholds (PPTs), facilitated temporal summation of pain (TSP), and impaired conditioned pain modulation (CPM). As traditional analgesics (acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are not recommended for long-term use in OA, more fundamental knowledge related to other possible management regimes are needed. Duloxetine is a serotonin-noradrenalin reuptake inhibitor, and analgesic effects are documented in patients with OA although the underlying fundamental mechanisms remain unclear. The descending pain inhibitory control system is believed to be dependent on serotonin and noradrenalin. We hypothesized that the analgesic effect of duloxetine could act through these pathways and consequently indirectly reduce pain and sensitization. The aim of this mechanistic study is to investigate if PPTs, TSP, CPM, and clinical pain parameters are modulated by duloxetine.

METHODS: This proof of concept study is a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blinded, crossover trial, which compares PPTs, TSP, and CPM before and after 18 weeks of duloxetine and placebo in forty patients with knee OA. The intervention periods include a titration period (2 weeks), treatment period (60 mg daily for 14 weeks), and a discontinuation period (2 weeks). Intervention periods are separated by 2 weeks.

DISCUSSION: Duloxetine is recommended for the treatment of chronic pain, but the underlying mechanisms of the analgesic effects are currently unknown. This study will investigate if duloxetine can modify central pain mechanisms and thereby provide insights into the underlying mechanisms of the analgesic effect.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT04224584 . Registered on January 6, 2020. EudraCT 2019-003437-42 . Registered on October 22, 2019. The North Denmark Region Committee on Health Research Ethics N-20190055. Registered on October 31, 2019.

Udgave nummer1
Antal sider11
StatusUdgivet - 27 dec. 2021

Bibliografisk note

© 2021. The Author(s).


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