Panel Recommends Cymbalta for Chronic Pain

WASHINGTON, Aug. 20 (UPI) — The makers of the antidepressant drug Cymbalta have narrowly won approval from a U.S. panel to market it for some chronic pain conditions, officials said.

In an 8-6 vote, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration scientific advisory panel recommended expanding approved uses of Eli Lilly’s Cymbalta for conditions such as chronic back pain, suffered by millions of Americans.

“I think it will be a very useful drug for a significant number of patients,” Dr. Jeffrey R. Kirsch, the chairman of the panel, said

If approved by the FDA, Cymbalta would compete with Tylenol, aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs, and painkillers like codeine and morphine.

But while the committee approved the drug for treatment for lower back pain, it voted against the drug’s use for osteoarthritis.

FDA staff earlier in the week opposed Lilly’s broader request to allow Cymbalta to be used for chronic pain resulting from a number of conditions.

The company would continue seeking FDA approval to market Cymbalta to treat all chronic pain, a spokesman said.

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