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Psychiatr Pol. 2005 Jan-Feb;39(1):21-32.

[The effectiveness of antidepressants in the treatment of chronic non-cancer pain--a review].

[Article in Polish]

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Z Centralnego Szpitala Klinicznego Uniwersytetu Medycznego w Lodzi.


Antidepressants are often applied in the treatment of chronic pain. Analgesic action of tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) has been extensively studied and proven. TCAs are associated with a number of adverse effects which are inconvenient for patients. The newer antidepressants have fewer side effects and equivalent efficacy on mood disorders. This article reviews the available publications (mainly placebo-controlled trials) concerning the efficacy of these medications in the treatment of chronic pain. The data regarding selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) are conflicting. Trazodone (a serotonin-reuptake inhibitor as well as a postsynaptic serotonin receptor antagonist) does not appear to be effective for the treatment of chronic pain. No placebo-controlled studies are available for noradrenergic and specific serotoninergic antidepressant (NaSSA)--mirtazapine and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor (NaRI)--reboxetine. Bupropion, a noradrenaline and dopamine-reuptake inhibitor appears to be effective in the treatment of neuropathic pain. Venlafaxine--selective serotonin and noradrenergic reuptake inhibitors (SNRI) was shown to be effective in the treatment of different kinds of pain. Duloxetine (SNRI) is effective in relieving both the emotional and painful physical symptoms of depression. Additional randomized, controlled trials are necessary to fully evaluate the role of new antidepressants in the treatment of chronic pain.

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