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Mayo Clin Proc. 2011 Jul;86(7):615-26. doi: 10.4065/mcp.2010.0681.

Duloxetine, pregabalin, and duloxetine plus gabapentin for diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain management in patients with inadequate pain response to gabapentin: an open-label, randomized, noninferiority comparison.

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  • 1Division of Endocrinology, Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, USA.



To determine whether duloxetine is noninferior to (as good as) pregabalin in the treatment of pain associated with diabetic peripheral neuropathy.


We performed a 12-week, open-label study of patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain who had been treated with gabapentin (≥ 900 mg/d) and had an inadequate response (defined as a daily pain score of ≥ 4 on a numerical rating scale [0-10 points]). The first patient was enrolled on September 28, 2006, and the last patient visit occurred on August 26, 2009. Patients were randomized to duloxetine monotherapy (n=138), pregabalin monotherapy (n=134), or a combination of duloxetine and gabapentin (n=135). The primary objective was a noninferiority comparison between duloxetine and pregabalin on improvement in the weekly mean of the diary-based daily pain score (0- to 10-point scale) at end point. Noninferiority would be declared if the mean improvement for duloxetine was no worse than the mean improvement for pregabalin, within statistical variability, by a margin of -0.8 unit.


The mean change in the pain rating at end point was -2.6 for duloxetine and -2.1 for pregabalin. The 97.5% lower confidence limit was a -0.05 difference in means, establishing noninferiority. As to adverse effects, nausea, insomnia, hyperhidrosis, and decreased appetite were more frequent with duloxetine than pregabalin; insomnia, more frequent with duloxetine than duloxetine plus gabapentin; peripheral edema, more frequent with pregabalin than with duloxetine; and nausea, hyperhidrosis, decreased appetite, and vomiting, more frequent with duloxetine plus gabapentin than with pregabalin.


Duloxetine was noninferior to pregabalin for the treatment of pain in patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy who had an inadequate pain response to gabapentin.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: Identifier: NCT00385671.

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