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Efficacy of Venlafaxine for the Long Term Treatment of Chronic Pain With Associated Major Depressive Disorder

Bradley, Ronald H. *; Barkin, Robert L.1,2; Jerome, John1; DeYoung, Kevin; Dodge, Charles William1

Original Articles

Background This was an open-label, single-center study of the long-term efficacy and effectiveness of venlafaxine extended release (XR) in the treatment of chronic pain and depression in outpatients. All patients have been diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD) of various types, with or without chronic pain, and had previously failed treatment with either tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

Methods Efficacy of treatment was determined using the 21-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAMD-21), the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) for the evaluation of pain, and a 12-item quality of life scale (QOL). Patients were treated in an unblended open trial for 1 year with 150 mg or more of venlafaxine XR once daily.

Results After 1 year of treatment, 21-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, Visual Analogue Scale, and quality of life scores were significantly improved from permanent baseline scores.

Conclusion These data show long-term efficacy and effectiveness of venlafaxine XR, a serotonin (5-HT) and norepinephrine (NE) and dopamine (DA) reuptake inhibitor antidepressant agent, having analgesic properties.

1Total Health Care of Michigan, P.C., East Lansing, MI; and 2Associate Professor, Rush Medical College, Faculty: Anesthesiology, Family Medicine, Pharmacology, Psychiatry, Rush Presbyterian St. Lukes Medical Center Chicago, IL; The Rush Pain Center, Chicago, IL; and The Rush North Shore Pain Center, Skokie, IL.

*Address for correspondence: Total Health Care of Michigan, P.C., 2900 Hannah Blvd., Ste. 200, East Lansing, MI 48823, USA. E-mail:

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.