In a recent study duloxetine, a drug used to treat depression and anxiety is effective in reducing joint and muscle pain linked with breast cancer treatment.
The women in the University of Michigan study were taking aromatase inhibitors, a type of drug designed to block the production of estrogen, which fuels some breast cancers.
"Since women typically take these drugs for five years, it is important that the side effects not interfere too much with their quality of life, or they will be less likely to continue taking the medicine, which may lead to a greater chance of their breast cancer returning," said study author N. Lynn Henry.
The study looked at the drug duloxetine, or Cymbalta, which is used to treat depression and generalized anxiety disorder.
It's also been shown to work in multiple other chronic pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia and, more recently, osteoarthritis.
The study found that out of 29 patients evaluated, nearly three-quarters witnessed decrease in pain by at least by 30 percent.
On average, after eight weeks of treatment, pain scores declined 61 percent. Only one in five patients stopped taking duloxetine because of side effects.
"Duloxetine appears to be effective at reducing the muscle and joint pain many women experience from aromatase inhibitors, with only mild additional side effects," said Henry.
The findings were presented at the 33rd Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.