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Duloxetine is used in adults to treat depression, generalized anxiety disorder, uncontrolled leakage of urine (stress urinary incontinence), diabetic neuropathic pain (pain associated with nerve damage), fibromyalgia (chronic pain) and chronic muscle or joint pain such as osteoarthritis.

How it works

Duloxetine belongs to a class of drugs called as selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SSNRIs). It increases the levels of chemicals serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain that usually decrease in diseases like depression.

Common side effects

Night sweats, Frequent urge to urinate, Drowsiness, Altered libido, Constipation, Diarrhoea, Fatigue, Dizziness, Dry mouth, Difficulty in urination, Headache, Heartburn, Increased sweating, Loss of appetite, Muscle cramp, Pain in muscles, Nausea, Stomach pain, Tremor, Vomiting, Weakness


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Expert advice

Take the medicine with food to avoid stomach upset. Do not stop taking this drug suddenly as you may get withdrawal symptoms. Tell your doctor if you notice sudden mood changes or unusual thoughts. Do not take the medicine:
  • If you are allergic to it or to any other content in the medicine.
  • If you are less than 18 years old.
Inform your doctor before taking duloxetine, if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant or breast-feeding a baby.
Do not take alcohol while taking this medicine as it may increase drowsiness.
Do not drive a vehicle or operate heavy machinery after taking this drug as it may cause dizziness/drowsiness.

Frequently asked questions


Q. Is duloxetine an SSRI, tricyclic antidepressant, opoid, or a pain-killer?
Duloxetine is not a SSRI/tricyclic antidepressant/opoid analgesic or pain-killer. It is a SSNRI (selective serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor).

Q. Does it contain MAOI?
 Duloxetine is a MAO inhibitor (MAOI).
Q. Is duloxetine the same as Cymbalta?
Yes. Cymbalta is the branded version of duloxetine available in the market.
Q. Is duloxetine addictive?
Duloxetine is not addictive; but it can produce withdrawal symptoms when treatment is stopped abruptly. Please consult your doctor, if you experience any withdrawal symptoms after stopping the therapy.
Q. Can I take Cymbalta forever?
It is advisable to take this drug only for the duration prescribed by your doctor.
Q. Can I take duloxetine with tramadol, paracetamol, naproxen, Nytol, amitryptyline, citalopram, ibuprofen, or codeine?
Duloxetine should not be taken with tramadol, amitriptyline, citalopram, diazepam, codeine or naproxen. It can be taken with paracetamol or ibuprofen only if prescribed by your doctor.
Q. Does duloxetine cause weight loss, acne, sweating, or hairloss?
Duloxetine may cause weight gain instead of weight loss. It can also cause, sweating, hairloss or acne. If you experience any such symptoms, please consult your doctor.
Q. Does duloxetine contain gluten?
No. Deloxetine is gluten-free. However, please refer to package insert of the prescribed brand before use.

Content on this page was last updated on 15 October, 2016, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)