A small number of children, teenagers, and young adults (up to 24 years of age) who took antidepressants (''mood elevators'') such as duloxetine during clinical studies became suicidal (thinking about harming or killing oneself or planning or trying to do so). Children, teenagers, and young adults who take antidepressants to treat depression or other mental illnesses may be more likely to become suicidal than children, teenagers, and young adults who do not take antidepressants to treat these conditions. However, experts are not sure about how great this risk is and how much it should be considered in deciding whether a child or teenager should take an antidepressant. Children younger than 18 years of age should not normally take duloxetine, but in some cases, a doctor may decide that duloxetine is the best medication to treat a child's condition.
You should know that your mental health may change in unexpected ways when you take duloxetine or other antidepressants even if you are an adult over 24 years of age. These changes may occur even if you do not have a mental illness and you are taking duloxetine to treat a different type of condition. You may become suicidal, especially at the beginning of your treatment and any time that your dose is increased or decreased. You, your family, or caregiver should call your doctor right away if you experience any of the following symptoms: new or worsening depression; thinking about harming or killing yourself, or planning or trying to do so; extreme worry; agitation; panic attacks; difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep; aggressive or hostile behavior; irritability; acting without thinking; severe restlessness; frenzied abnormal excitement; or any other unusual changes in behavior. Be sure that your family or caregiver checks on you daily and knows which symptoms may be serious so they can call the doctor if you are unable to seek treatment on your own.
Your healthcare provider will want to see you often while you are taking duloxetine, especially at the beginning of your treatment. Be sure to keep all appointments for office visits with your doctor.
The doctor or pharmacist will give you the manufacturer's patient information sheet (Medication Guide) when you begin treatment with duloxetine. Read the information carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. You also can obtain the Medication Guide from the FDA website: Web Site.
No matter your age, before you take an antidepressant, you, your parent, or your caregiver should talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of treating your condition with an antidepressant or with other treatments. You should also talk about the risks and benefits of not treating your condition. You should know that having depression or another mental illness greatly increases the risk that you will become suicidal. This risk is higher if you or anyone in your family has or has ever had bipolar disorder (mood that changes from depressed to abnormally excited) or mania (frenzied, abnormally excited mood), depression, or has thought about or attempted suicide. Talk to your doctor about your condition, symptoms, and personal and family medical history. You and your doctor will decide what type of treatment is right for you.
Duloxetine is used to treat depression and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD; excessive worry and tension that disrupts daily life and lasts for 6 months or longer). Duloxetine is also used to treat pain and tingling caused by diabetic neuropathy (damage to nerves that can develop in people who have diabetes) and fibromyalgia (a long-lasting condition that may cause pain, muscle stiffness and tenderness, tiredness, and difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep). Duloxetine is also used to treat ongoing bone or muscle pain such as lower back pain or osteoarthritis (joint pain or stiffness that may worsen over time). Duloxetine is in a class of medications called selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). It works by increasing the amounts of serotonin and norepinephrine, natural substances in the brain that help maintain mental balance and stop the movement of pain signals in the brain.
Duloxetine comes as a delayed-release (releases the medication in the intestine to prevent break-down of the medication by stomach acids) capsule to take by mouth. When duloxetine is used to treat depression, it is usually taken once or twice a day with or without food. When duloxetine is used to treat generalized anxiety disorder, the pain of diabetic neuropathy, fibromyalgia, or ongoing bone or muscle pain, it is usually taken once a day with or without food. Take duloxetine at around the same time(s) every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take duloxetine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it, take it more often, or take it for a longer time than prescribed by your doctor.
Swallow the delayed-release capsules whole; do not split, chew, or crush them. Do not open the delayed-release capsules and mix the contents with liquids or sprinkle the contents on food.
Your doctor may start you on a low dose of medication and increase your dose after one week.
Duloxetine may help control your symptoms but will not cure your condition. It may take 1 to 4 weeks or longer before you feel the full benefit of duloxetine. Continue to take duloxetine even if you feel well. Do not stop taking duloxetine without talking to your doctor. Your doctor will probably decrease your dose gradually. If you suddenly stop taking duloxetine, you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as nausea; vomiting; diarrhea; anxiety; dizziness; tiredness; headache; pain, burning, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet; irritability; difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep; sweating; and nightmares. Tell your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms when your dose of duloxetine is decreased.
Duloxetine is also sometimes used to treat stress urinary incontinence (leakage of urine during physical activity such as coughing, sneezing, laughing, and exercise) in women. Talk to your doctor about using this medication to treat your condition.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Before taking duloxetine,
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
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 to make up for a missed one.
Duloxetine may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following side effects, or those mentioned in the IMPORTANT WARNING or SPECIAL PRECAUTIONs section, call your doctor immediately or get emergency medical treatment:
Duloxetine may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online ( Web Site ) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website ( Web Site) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. Web Site
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at Web Site. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can't be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include the following:
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.
Selected Revisions: July 15, 2018.