A total of six trials was included (n=2,216). Overall the trials were judged to be of good methodological quality: most scored 3 or more on the Oxford/Jadad scale and all scored 13 or better on the Oxford Validity Score. No significant heterogeneity was reported for any of the analyses.
50% Pain Relief (six trials): Duloxetine of any dose overall provided significantly greater numbers of patients who reported better than 50% pain relief than placebo (RR 1.7, 95% CI 1.4 to 1.9, NNT=5.9, 95% CI 4.8 to 7.7). Analysis of these results by duloxetine dose and by patient group did not significantly alter the findings.
Average Pain Score (five trials): Duloxetine patients reported significantly lower 24-hour average pain scores when compared with placebo for both 60mg dose (WMD 0.98, 95% CI 0.72 to 1.23, p<0.001) and 120mg dose (WMD 1.12, 95% CI 0.87 to 1.38, p<0.00001) regardless of pain syndrome.
Adverse events: Withdrawals due to adverse events occurred significantly more frequently in duloxetine than placebo patients (RR 1.8, 95% CI 1.4 to 2.4, NNH=15, 95% CI 11 to 25). Serious adverse events were not always well reported, but appeared to be infrequent.