Efficacy and safety of #antidepressants for the treatment of back pain and #osteoarthritis: systematic review and meta-analysis

.. 33 trials (5318 participants) were included. Moderate certainty evidence showed that serotonin-noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) reduced back pain (mean difference −5.30, 95% confidence interval −7.31 to −3.30) at 3-13 weeks and low certainty evidence that SNRIs reduced osteoarthritis pain (−9.72, −12.75 to −6.69) at 3-13 weeks. Very low certainty evidence showed that SNRIs reduced sciatica at two weeks or less (−18.60, −31.87 to −5.33) but not at 3-13 weeks (−17.50, −42.90 to 7.89). Low to very low certainty evidence showed that tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) did not reduce sciatica at two weeks or less (−7.55, −18.25 to 3.15) but did at 3-13 weeks (−15.95, −31.52 to −0.39) and 3-12 months (−27.0, −36.11 to −17.89). Moderate certainty evidence showed that SNRIs reduced disability from back pain at 3-13 weeks (−3.55, −5.22 to −1.88) and disability due to osteoarthritis at two weeks or less (−5.10, −7.31 to −2.89), with low certainty evidence at 3-13 weeks (−6.07, −8.13 to −4.02). TCAs and other antidepressants did not reduce pain or disability from back pain.

Conclusion Moderate certainty evidence shows that the effect of SNRIs on pain and disability scores is small and not clinically important for back pain, but a clinically important effect cannot be excluded for osteoarthritis. TCAs and SNRIs might be effective for sciatica, but the certainty of evidence ranged from low to very low.

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