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A popular antidepressant treatment has been narrowly approved for use in chronic pain sufferers in the US.
Eli Lilly’s Cymbalta drug received the backing of a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel which voted 8-6 in favour of expanding its indication for its treatment of chronic pain conditions.
It is currently used to treat depression, diabetic nerve pain and fibromyalgia and is Eli Lilly’s second biggest selling drug behind its flagship anti-psychotic drug Zyprexa.
Despite the panel’s approval, drug regulators are not required to follow the recommendation and could still bring to a halt any ambitions to market the drug as a treatment for chronic pain.
There is still confusion over how the drug actually works and which conditions it effectively treats after the FDA found conflicting results for its effectiveness in different pain disorders across a variety of patient groups.
Even so, Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly is still pushing for formal approval for Cymbalta, which is classed alongside Effexor and Pristig as a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor.
Cymbalta’s maker believes decreases chronic pain symptoms by manipulating serotonin levels.
Copyright Press Association 2010