Duloxetine is a nerve pain medication and antidepressant. It can help treat depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, diabetic peripheral neuropathy, and other conditions related to chronic muscle or bone pain. Common brand names include Cymbalta and Irenka. However, the oral capsule can be available for both a generic and brand-name drug.
This drug does have a Black Box Warning, which is a FDA warming that alerts both doctors and patients of dangerous effects. It is possible that this drug can make your depression worse. Please reach out to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.
What is Duloxetine?
Duloxetine is a prescription drug, and it can be used as an oral capsule. It can help treat anxiety, depressive disorder, nerve pain, fibromyalgia pain, and chronic muscle and joint pain. Duloxetine belongs to a class of drugs called serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). The drug acts by balancing the chemicals within the brain that can cause anxiety and depression. Because pain signals are interpreted in the brain, the drug also works to inhibit these pain signals through the balancing of these chemicals.
It is important to follow your doctor’s directions while taking the drug. Only take as directed, especially because it can be a long-term medication. Depending on what your condition is, how you first react to the drug, and the severity of your condition, your doctor can recommend a different dosage.
Fibromyalgia: Adults with fibromyalgia who are 18 years and older tend to have a starting dosage of 30 mg per day for one week. Then, it goes onto 30 to 60 mg per day.
Major Depressive Disorder: Adults can receive 30 to 60 mg per day at first. Then, the maintained dosage can be between 40 to 60 mg per day.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Similar to major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder can start with a dosage of 30 to 60 mg per day. Then, it is usually given as 60 mg per day. Children between the ages of 7 and 17 years old and adults 65 years and older can take this drug. However, they are given a lower dosage (about 30 to 60 mg).
Nerve Pain (Diabetes): Adults are given a 60 mg dosage per day.
Chronic Muscle and Joint Pain: Adults begin with 30 mg per day for one week, and then they tend to take 60 mg per day afterwards.
Important Information: Warnings and Side Effects
There are some concerns and warnings that can arise from duloxetine. Let’s first examine the warnings of duloxetine and precautions you need to be aware of.
- Alcohol: Do not consume alcohol while taking duloxetine. It can increase the risk of severe liver injury.
- Allergy: Be aware that the drug can cause a severe allergic reaction. Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room immediately if you believe you may be having a severe allergic reaction.
- Liver Disease: Do not take this drug if you have any medical or health conditions associated with the liver, such as chronic liver disease or cirrhosis of the liver.
- Kidney Disease: Avoid taking duloxetine if you have severe kidney disease. Your kidneys can have a difficult time responding to the drug and can lead to an increased risk of side effects.
- Pregnant: Women who are pregnant should not take this drug. If you are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant, contact your doctor for more information.
- Seniors: Adults 65 years and older can be at a greater risk for side effects, such as blood pressure changes. You can also experience low sodium in the blood.
- Children: This drug should not be given to children younger than 7 years old. Proceed with caution if you are under the age of 18 and seek the advice of your doctor.
- Difficulty making decisions
- Difficulty thinking clearly
- Dry mouth
- Loss of appetite
- Decreased weight
- Increased sweating
- Stomach pain
- Liver damage: Symptoms can include itching, dark-colored urine, yellow skin, dizziness, fainting, or pain in the right side of the upper abdomen.
- Serotonin syndrome: Symptoms can include agitation, hallucinations, coma, racing heart, high or low blood pressure, dizziness, muscle twitching, abnormal bleeding, vomiting, or seizures.
- Skin reactions: Severe skin reactions can have symptoms like skin blisters, sores in the mouth, hives, or rash.
If you are experiencing severe side effects contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Be aware of the possible side effects and warnings associated with duloxetine. The drug can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs. However, it is still important to inform your doctor of other medications you are taking in order to avoid any harmful interactions.
Please note: this article did its best to provide updated and correct information, but I am not a doctor. Contact your health care professional for suitable medical advice if you have any more questions or concerns.