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Duloxetine: 12 Answers Inc. How it Works and Side Effects Explained

Answers to the most frequently asked questions about Duloxetine

Duloxetine is a medication used to treat major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, fibromyalgia, and neuropathic pain. It is taken by mouth once a day. It is most commonly sold under the brand names Cymbalta and Yentreve, among others.

This article contains information answering the most common questions asked by patients who have been prescribed Duloxetine.

The content on this page is provided for informational purposes only. If you have any questions or concerns about your treatment, you should talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or healthcare professional. This is particularly important if you are taking multiple medications or have any existing medical conditions.

  1. What is Duloxetine?
  2. What is Duloxetine used for? 
  3. Is Duloxetine available in the US and UK? 
  4. How does Duloxetine work? 
  5. What are the side effects of Duloxetine?
  6. What warnings and precautions are there for taking Duloxetine?
  7. How long does it take for Duloxetine to work? 
  8. Is it safe to drink alcohol while taking Duloxetine? 
  9. How long does Duloxetine stay in your system?
  10. What shall I do if I miss a dose of Duloxetine?
  11. How often do I take Duloxetine?
  12. What class drug is Duloxetine?

1. What is Duloxetine?

Duloxetine is a medication in the class of antidepressant drugs called serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) which is used to treat depression and provide relief from nerve pain or diabetic neuropathy. Duloxetine affects chemicals in the brain that may be unbalanced in people with depression. Its main use is treating depression in adults. Duloxetine is also used to treat general anxiety disorder in adults and children who are at least 7 years old.

Another use of Duloxetine is to treat fibromyalgia (a chronic pain disorder) in adults and children at least 13 years old.

2. What is Duloxetine used for? 

Duloxetine is an antidepressant medicine. It is used to treat depression and anxiety. It can also be used to treat chronic musculoskeletal pain in adults and nerve pain, such as fibromyalgia (a chronic pain disorder) in adults and children at least 13 years old.

What is Duloxetine? London Pain Clinic Disclaimer: This is a third-party video and may contain advertisements

3. Is Duloxetine available in the US and UK? 

Yes, Duloxetine is available as a generic medicine in the UK. It is available as a prescription. There are two brands of duloxetine in the UK – Cymbalta (30mg, 60mg) and Yentreve (20mg,40mg)

Duloxetine is approved for medical use in the United States. It is available as a prescription. It is most commonly sold under the brand name Cymbalta.

4. How does Duloxetine work? 

Duloxetine is a type of antidepressant known as a serotonin- norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). SNRIs are known to work by increasing the amount of mood-enhancing chemicals serotonin in the brain. SNRIs are also known for treating anxiety disorders and long-term (chronic) pain, especially nerve pain.

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5. What are the side effects of Duloxetine?

Common side effects include feeling sick, a dry mouth, headache, constipation and feeling sleepy. These side effects are usually quite mild and go away after a couple of weeks. Generally, these listed side effects of duloxetine will gradually improve as you adjust to therapy. Like most medicines, duloxetine can cause side effects in people.

If you experience troublesome side effects, talk to your doctor and do not immediately stop the treatment without consulting your doctor.

The following lists include some of the most reported side effects, but are not complete. Mild side effects typically subside within a few days or weeks of consistent medication-taking. However, if they persist or worsen, you should speak to your doctor.

Common side effects:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Blurred vision
  • Constipation or diarrhoea
  • Feeling or being sick (nausea or vomiting)
  • Dry mouth
  • Sweating
  • Tiredness
  • Less appetite than usual and weight loss

6. What warnings and precautions are there for taking Duloxetine?

Taking Duloxetine with some medicines is not suggested as they can interfere with each other and increase the chances of side effects.
It is recommended to consult with your doctor if:

  • You’re taking other medicines for depression 
  • You’re taking medication used to thin the blood, such as warfarin
  • If you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, talk with your doctor before taking duloxetine. Your doctor will work with you to determine if it’s safe to keep you on Cymbalta during pregnancy.

Ensure you do not take duloxetine if you have had an allergic reaction to it in the past. 

7. How long does it take for Duloxetine to work? 

It may take longer if you're taking it for nerve pain. Sleep or appetite may improve within the first 1-2 weeks and depressed mood may take 6 to 8 weeks for improvement. Source: Duloxetine

Scientists state that at first the higher levels of serotonin (and possibly norepinephrine ) have effects which do not aid relieve depression or anxiety. You are more likely to feel a bit more anxious or on edge for a couple of weeks. After some days of regular treatment, the brain adapts, which leads to improvements in mood and anxiety.

Your doctor might start you on a low dose and then increase it slowly over two to four weeks to your full dose. If there has been no good response after four weeks on duloxetine, it is advised to consult with your doctor, seek advice and talk about alternatives.

You will get the best effect from duloxetine if you take it regularly at the dose prescribed by your doctor.

8. Is it safe to drink alcohol while taking Duloxetine? 

Taking duloxetine alone does not affect motor and mental skills , but heavy alcohol consumption with the medicine can cause liver damage.

Speak with your doctor about your alcohol consumption to determine if you can drink while on duloxetine. Source: Cymbalta information

9. How long does Duloxetine stay in your system?

Once the last dosage of duloxetine has been taken, it can take up to two and a half days to leave the body almost completely (99 percent). However, 50 percent of the duloxetine will have left the body within approximately 12 hours, with a range between 8 and 17 hours.

10. What shall I do if I miss a dose of Duloxetine?

You should take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule.

Do not take a double dose. 

11. How often do I take Duloxetine?

For depression, anxiety and nerve pain, you will most likely take duloxetine once a day.

You can take duloxetine with or without food, but it's best to take it at the same time each day. Do not chew the capsule. Do not open the capsule and sprinkle its contents on food or mix with liquids.

12. What class drug is Duloxetine?

Duloxetine is in a class of medications called selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)

Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are a class of medications that are effective in treating depression. SNRIs are also sometimes used to treat other conditions, such as anxiety disorders and long-term (chronic) pain, especially nerve pain.

The content on this page is provided for informational purposes only. If you have any questions or concerns about your treatment, you should talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or healthcare professional. This is particularly important if you are taking multiple medications or have any existing medical conditions. 


The content on this page is provided for informational purposes only. If you have any questions or concerns about your treatment, you should talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or healthcare professional. This is particularly important if you are taking multiple medications or have any existing medical conditions.

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