Tolerability aspects in duloxetine-treated patients with depression: Should one use a lower starting dose in clinical practice?
Wilhelm S, Boess FG, Hegerl U, Mergl R, Linden M, Schacht A, Schneider E.
Expert Opin Drug Saf. 2012 Jun 20. [Epub ahead of print]
Objective: This study questions whether a lower starting dose of duloxetine (DLX) could be beneficial for patients with depression, in terms of tolerability and safety in routine clinical care. Research design and methods: Post-hoc analyses of a multicenter, prospective, non-interventional, 6-month study in adult outpatients with a depressive episode was undertaken. Main outcome measures: Treatment-emergent adverse events (TEAEs), serious adverse events (SAEs), discontinuations due to TEAEs and hospitalizations due to depression, were all documented at 2 weeks, 4 weeks, 3 months and 6 months after treatment initiation/switch to DLX. Results: Of 4517 patients enrolled, 4313 were included for TEAE evaluation. TEAEs occurred in 17.2% of patients, and SAEs occurred in 0.79% of patients, including one case of suicidal ideation. 1404 patients discontinued within 6 months (TEAEs: n = 119). Starting treatment with 30 mg/day DLX (72.7%) was favored in females, or after inadequate efficacy of previous antidepressant treatment; 60 mg/day DLX was favored in more severe depression and patients receiving concomitant pain medication. Conclusion: Initiating treatment with 60 mg/day DLX was not associated with poorer tolerability in this study. Physicians may be guided by their clinical experience to carefully consider the individual benefit/risk ratio and TEAE susceptibility when deciding to start treatment with a higher or a lower dose of DLX.