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Milnacipran in the Treatment of Widespread, Non-Joint Pain in Rheumatoid Arthritis

Information source: Brigham and Women's Hospital
ClinicalTrials.gov processed this data on August 23, 2015
Link to the current ClinicalTrials.gov record.

Condition(s) targeted: Arthritis, Rheumatoid

Intervention: Milnacipran (Drug); Placebo (Drug)

Phase: Phase 4

Status: Completed

Sponsored by: Brigham and Women's Hospital

Official(s) and/or principal investigator(s):
Yvonne C Lee, MD, MMSc, Principal Investigator, Affiliation: Brigham and Women's Hospital


The purpose of this study is to determine whether milnacipran reduces widespread, non-joint pain in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The investigators will conduct a double-blind randomized crossover trial in subjects with RA to test the hypothesis that milnacipran improves widespread, non-joint pain. The investigators will also use data from the trial to determine whether response to milnacipran is associated with pain-modulating mechanisms from the central nervous system. The investigators hypothesize that response to milnacipran will be greater among patients with impaired central pain mechanisms than among patients with intact central pain modulating mechanisms.

Clinical Details

Official title: Milnacipran in the Treatment of Widespread, Non-Joint Pain in Rheumatoid Arthritis

Study design: Allocation: Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Crossover Assignment, Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Caregiver, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor), Primary Purpose: Treatment

Primary outcome: Brief Pain Inventory (BPI) Change

Secondary outcome:

Change in Conditioned Pain Modulation (CPM)

Symptom Intensity Scale (SIS)

Thumbnail Pain Threshold

Trapezius Pain Threshold

Wrist Pain Threshold

Knee Pain Threshold

Detailed description: Despite the development of effective medications to treat inflammation, pain remains a priority for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients. The pain that persists despite anti-inflammatory treatment is usually widespread and non-articular; it may lead to diminished quality of life and high medical, psychological and social costs. To develop better treatments for pain and prevent disability, it is critical to obtain a better understanding of widespread, non-joint pain in RA. Milnacipran is a selective serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). No studies have examined the effect of SNRIs on pain in RA. However, several studies have examined the role of SNRIs in fibromyalgia and related pain conditions. Treatment with milnacipran has been associated with improvements in clinical pain severity in Phase 2 and Phase 3 randomized placebo-controlled trials of fibromyalgia patients. In animal models, milnacipran appears to moderate the pain-inducing effects of inflammation and central sensitization. Thus milnacipran may be an ideal drug to treat pain in RA. A clinical trial of an SNRI in the treatment of widespread, non-joint pain in RA will provide more information regarding pain mechanisms and may lead to more targeted, effective ways of treating pain in RA.


Minimum age: 24 Years. Maximum age: N/A. Gender(s): Both.


Inclusion Criteria:

- Age 24 years or older

- Primary diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis from a board-certified rheumatologist

- Willing to maintain stable doses of concurrent non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

or other acceptable medications or therapies for the duration of the study

- Brief Pain Inventory Average Pain >= 4 at the screening visit

- Widespread Pain Index >= 5 at the screening visit

- Able to give informed consent

Exclusion Criteria:

- Diagnosis of primary fibromyalgia

- Diagnosis of cold sensitive conditions such as Raynaud's syndrome, cryoglobulinemia

and paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria

- Diagnosis of psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder,

delusional disorder and shared psychotic disorder

- Patients being treated with SSRIs, MAO inhibitors or tricyclic, tetracyclic or

atypical antidepressants for pain may participate in this study if they are washed off these medications before study entry. Patients currently receiving therapy with SSRIs or tricyclic, tetracyclic or atypical antidepressants for depression may be washed off these medications before study entry pending permission of the prescribing physician and if they have never received a diagnosis of major depressive disorder or had a history of suicidal ideation.

- Patients on thioridazine or MAO inhibitors

- Patients taking codeine or other opioids/opiates. Patients who are taking medications

such as pregabalin (Lyrica) and gabapentin (Neurontin) for pain may be enrolled in this study.

- Known hypersensitivity to milnacipran

- Patients with a significant risk of suicide as assessed by the Beck depression

inventory form

- Patients with a history of suicide

- Pregnant or breast-feeding women

- Patients with an actively pending worker's compensation claim or auto no-fault claim;

patients with current worker's compensation, auto no-fault compensation, or litigation; or any patient with significant secondary gain issues per discretion of the researchers.

- Patients with myocardial infarction within the past 12 months, active cardiac disease

(chest pain or evidence of ischemia on stress test), acute congestive heart failure requiring hospitalization in the past 12 months, clinically significant cardiac rhythm or conduction abnormalities requiring hospitalization in the past 12 months

- Patients with severe liver impairment (AST or ALT > 3 times the upper limit of


- For patients 2-3 times the upper limit of normal, we will obtain enrollment

permission from the patient's hepatologist and monitor values at each study visit. If values increase above 3 times the upper limit of normal, the patient will be discontinued from the study.

- For patients 1-2 times the upper limit of normal, we will obtain enrollment

permission from the patient's physician and monitor per request of the physician.

- Patients with severe or end stage renal disease, defined as a GFR < 15 ml/min or on


- Patients with a recent (≤ 12 months) history of seizures.

- Patients with uncontrolled narrow-angle glaucoma.

- Patients who have been treated with an experimental agent within the last three


Locations and Contacts

Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, United States
Additional Information

Related publications:

Lee YC, Chibnik LB, Lu B, Wasan AD, Edwards RR, Fossel AH, Helfgott SM, Solomon DH, Clauw DJ, Karlson EW. The relationship between disease activity, sleep, psychiatric distress and pain sensitivity in rheumatoid arthritis: a cross-sectional study. Arthritis Res Ther. 2009;11(5):R160. doi: 10.1186/ar2842. Epub 2009 Oct 29.

Starting date: January 2011
Last updated: November 7, 2014

Page last updated: August 23, 2015

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