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Duloxetine (By mouth)

Treats depression, anxiety, diabetic peripheral neuropathy, fibromyalgia, and chronic muscle or bone pain. This medicine is an SSNRI.

What works?

Learn more about the effects of these drugs. The most reliable research is summed up for you in our featured article.

Duloxetine is used to treat depression and anxiety. It is also used for pain caused by nerve damage associated with diabetes (diabetic peripheral neuropathy). Duloxetine is also used to treat fibromyalgia (muscle pain and stiffness) and chronic (long-lasting) pain that is related to muscles and bones. Duloxetine belongs to a group of medicines known as selective serotonin and norepinephrineRead more
Brand names include
Cymbalta, DermacinRx DPN Pak, Irenka
Drug classes About this
Antianxiety, Antidepressant, Central Nervous System Agent, Neuropathic Pain Agent

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Duloxetine versus other antidepressive agents for depression

Although pharmacological and psychological interventions are both effective for major depression, antidepressant drugs remain the mainstay of treatment in moderate to severe major depression. During the last 20 years, newer compounds (such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and dual action agents such as serotonin noradrenalin reuptake inhibitors) have progressively become the most commonly prescribed antidepressants. Duloxetine hydrochloride, one of the most recent antidepressants introduced in the market, is a selective serotonin noradrenergic reuptake inhibitor for oral administration. In the present review we assessed the evidence for the efficacy, acceptability and tolerability of duloxetine in comparison with all other antidepressants in the acute‐phase treatment of major depression. Sixteen randomised controlled trials (5735 participants) were included. Duloxetine was not more effective than some other new antidepressant agents in the acute‐phase treatment of major depression, and it was less well tolerated than escitalopram and venlafaxine as more patients allocated to duloxetine withdrew treatment before study end. However, due to the limited number of studies per comparison these results should be interpreted with caution.

Health Economic Evaluation of Venlafaxine, Duloxetine, Bupropion, and Mirtazapine Compared to Further Prescribable Pharmaceutical Treatments [Internet]

On the basis of the results of a benefit assessment of the test drugs venlafaxine, duloxetine, bupropion, and mirtazapine, the aim of the present investigation is to conduct a health economic evaluation of these test drugs in order to derive a recommendation for a reimbursement price. The relevant comparators of the therapeutic area (tricyclic antidepressants [TCAs] plus maprotiline, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors [SSRIs], agomelatine, and trazodone) were included in the health economic evaluation. The study population consisted of previously untreated adult patients with depression.

Urinary Incontinence in Women: The Management of Urinary Incontinence in Women

This guidance is a partial update of National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) clinical guideline 40 (published October 2006) and will replace it.

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Summaries for consumers

Duloxetine versus other antidepressive agents for depression

Although pharmacological and psychological interventions are both effective for major depression, antidepressant drugs remain the mainstay of treatment in moderate to severe major depression. During the last 20 years, newer compounds (such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and dual action agents such as serotonin noradrenalin reuptake inhibitors) have progressively become the most commonly prescribed antidepressants. Duloxetine hydrochloride, one of the most recent antidepressants introduced in the market, is a selective serotonin noradrenergic reuptake inhibitor for oral administration. In the present review we assessed the evidence for the efficacy, acceptability and tolerability of duloxetine in comparison with all other antidepressants in the acute‐phase treatment of major depression. Sixteen randomised controlled trials (5735 participants) were included. Duloxetine was not more effective than some other new antidepressant agents in the acute‐phase treatment of major depression, and it was less well tolerated than escitalopram and venlafaxine as more patients allocated to duloxetine withdrew treatment before study end. However, due to the limited number of studies per comparison these results should be interpreted with caution.

Duloxetine can improve the quality of life of patients with stress urinary incontinence, long‐term effects of the treatment are unclear.

Stress urinary incontinence is involuntary urine leakage on coughing or exertion. The trials reviewed compared duloxetine against dummy placebo tablets and also pelvic floor muscle training in women with predominantly stress urinary incontinence. Duloxetine reduced the frequency of episodes of incontinence and improved quality of life scores. However, it had little impact on the numbers cured and commonly had side effects, especially nausea. More studies comparing a serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor with placebo and surgery are required, especially if conducted independently of pharmaceutical companies.

Duloxetine for treating painful neuropathy, chronic pain or fibromyalgia

Duloxetine is a drug used to treat depression and urinary urge incontinence (leakage of urine) and it can be also be useful for certain types of pain. Pain can arise spontaneously when there is damage to nerves that carry pain information to the brain (neuropathic pain). When this damage is to nerves outside the spinal cord it is called a peripheral neuropathy. Another type of pain, nociceptive pain, occurs when the nerves sense damage to another tissue (for example, a pinprick in the skin). Some pain is of unclear origin and occurs without apparent nerve or tissue damage. This sort of pain happens, for example, in fibromyalgia. The objective of this review was to assess the benefits and harms of duloxetine for treating painful neuropathy and chronic pain of all sorts.

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