Some hope for chronic pain sufferers

Researchers from The Arthritis Research UK Pain Centre based at The University of Nottingham City Hospital have found depression and anxiety treatments may be able to help people who suffer from chronic pain.

The researchers are asking volunteers to take part in a clinical trial to determine whether Duloxetine can be used to successful treat osteoarthritis, which is chronic knee pain.

The volunteers will be placed in to two separate groups. One of the groups will be given Duloxetine and the other group a placebo with no useful properties.
Diane Reckziegel from The University of Nottingham and chief investigator for the study said ‘As we get older or sustain injuries our joints, especially the knees, begin to show signs of deterioration. This causes pain that may become chronic over time.’
‘The most effective treatments for knee osteoarthritis are typically quite invasive, involving steroid injections into the joint or surgery to remove the diseased joint, which is then replaced with an artificial joint.’

Before taking the medication the volunteer patients will have MRI scans of their brain. After the six-week course of medication they will return and undergo another MRI scan where the effects of the medication will be assessed and complete questionnaires, imaging and sensory tests.

Diane added ‘Duloxetine has already been shown to be effective in relieving different types of chronic pain, however what we don’t know is how this drug works to reduce pain, and to whom it may be more useful.’

‘By comparing the brains of patients with osteoarthritis before and after the treatment we hope to achieve a better understanding of the mechanisms of pain relief. This will help us select patients who might benefit more from Duloxetine treatment, hopefully avoiding the need for invasive procedures.’

The trial started at the beginning of this year and is aiming to recruit 81 patients before May. 44 patients have been recruited so far. For further information please contact the team at The University of Nottingham.