Duloxetine in OsteoArthritis (DOA) study: effects of duloxetine on pain and function in end-stage hip and knee OA - a pragmatic enriched randomized controlled trial

Tim Blikman*, Wietske Rienstra, TM van Raay, A J ten Hagen, Baukje Dijkstra, Wierd Pieter Zijlstra, Sjoerd K. Bulstra, Martin Stevens, Inge van den Akker-Scheek

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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BACKGROUND: Some osteoarthritis (OA) patients experience inadequate pain relief from analgesics like acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. This could be the result of experienced non-nociceptive centralized pain. Placebo-controlled randomized trials (RCT) have proven the effectiveness of duloxetine for OA and several chronic pain conditions where central sensitization (CS) is one of the key underlying pain mechanisms.

OBJECTIVES: Assess the efficacy of an 8-week duloxetine treatment compared to usual care in end-stage knee and hip OA patients with a level of centralized pain.

DESIGN: Pragmatic, enriched, open-label RCT.

METHODS: Patients were randomized to duloxetine or to care-as-usual. Primary outcome was pain in the index joint, measured with the pain domain of the Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS) or the Hip disability and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (HOOS). The intention-to-treat principle was used, with mixed-model repeated measures to analyze the effect.

RESULTS: One hundred eleven patients were randomized. Nearly 44% felt much to very much better after duloxetine usage compared to 0% in the care-as-usual group (p < 0.001). The duloxetine group scored 11.3 points (95%CI: 5.8, 16.8) better on the pain domain of the KOOS/HOOS (p < 0.001). Knee patients improved significantly more than hip patients (18.7 [95%CI: 11.3, 26.1] versus 6.0 [95%CI: - 2.6, 14.5] points better).

CONCLUSIONS: Adding duloxetine treatment seems to be beneficial for end-stage knee OA patients with neuropathic-like symptoms (at risk of CS). End stage Hip OA patients seem to be nonresponsive to duloxetine.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: Dutch Trial Registry with number NTR 4744 (15/08/2014) and in the EudraCT database with number 2013-004313-41 .

Original languageEnglish
Article number115
Number of pages14
JournalBmc Musculoskeletal Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2022


  • Duloxetine
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Hip
  • Knee
  • Pain

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