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Duloxetine is an antidepressant that raises the brain’s mood-influencing serotonin and norepinephrine levels. These types of antidepressants are known as serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). Not only can duloxetine treat depression, but it may also help a variety of other conditions.

What is Duloxetine Used to Treat?

Although this drug is most commonly used to treat depression, it can also help people with fibromyalgia and chronic pain. Patients with fibromyalgia must deal with reoccurring pain in their joints, tendons, and muscles, while those with injury-related chronic pain may experience discomfort in a number of areas. People who have generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) may also find duloxetine beneficial. This is because duloxetine helps balance the chemicals found in the brain.

To treat depression, duloxetine is taken once or twice a day. For other conditions, the medication is taken only once a day. Keep in mind that it may take up to four weeks for a patient to feel the effects of duloxetine. For this reason, patients should not end treatment without consulting their physician first. It’s important to note that duloxetine is not a cure for these conditions; however, it can be used on a recurring basis to help prevent pain from surfacing.

Common Duloxetine Side Effects

Similar to other antidepressants, duloxetine may cause a patient to experience the following side effects: change in appetite, weight loss, nausea, insomnia, and unsteadiness. Although duloxetine side effects are usually mild, they can become more serious. If you experience abdominal pain, impaired vision, itching, disorientation, flu symptoms, trouble breathing or swallowing, and unexplained bleeding or bruising, you should talk to your doctor as soon as possible. When taking this medication, also pay attention to any changes in demeanor, especially if you are under 25. This is because taking antidepressants, like SNRIs, can increase your risk for suicide.

Modifying one’s duloxetine treatment, such as reducing a patient’s dosage, may result in unwanted withdrawal side effects, including vomiting, diarrhea, headache, fatigue, and pain, numbness, burning or tingling in the extremities.

Although there’s been no evidence that using duloxetine leads to drug dependency, it’s still important to monitor one’s intake. Incorrectly taking one’s medication may lead to an overdose. If this occurs, the patient is more likely to experience a rapid heartbeat, fever, vomiting, fainting, and agitation. If these overdose symptoms persist for more than a couple of days, you should consult your physician.

Deciding if Duloxetine is Right for You

To learn more of the benefits associated with duloxetine, talk with your doctor. He or she can review your medical information to assess whether the medication can effectively treat your condition. If it’s determined that duloxetine is right for you, your doctor will prescribe the most suitable dosage for your specific ailment. Since certain duloxetine side effects may indicate a greater problem, let your doctor know of any serious side effects that have lasted for more than a couple of days.