Intended for healthcare professionals


Antidepressants lack evidence for treating chronic pain, says Cochrane

BMJ 2023; 381 doi: (Published 10 May 2023) Cite this as: BMJ 2023;381:p1056
  1. Abi Rimmer
  1. The BMJ

Most antidepressants used for chronic pain are being prescribed with insufficient evidence of their effectiveness, a Cochrane review has found.1

Of the most commonly used antidepressants studied—including amitriptyline, fluoxetine, citalopram, paroxetine, sertraline, and duloxetine—researchers found that only the latter showed some evidence for pain relief. But the evidence for long term efficacy was lacking as the average length of the studies was 10 weeks.

Lead author Tamar Pincus, from the University of Southampton, said, “Our review found no reliable evidence for the long term efficacy of any antidepressant, and no reliable evidence for their safety for chronic pain at any point.

“Although we found that duloxetine provided short term pain …

View Full Text

Log in

Log in through your institution


* For online subscription