How Prescription Duloxetine Helps Relieve Fibromyalgia Pain

A woman holding her shoulder because Fibromyalgia Pain

In 2008, the FDA approved Cymbalta for the treatment of fibromyalgia in adults. Before that, Cymbalta was generally used for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder, depression and diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain.  It is one of three prescriptions approved for the treatment of fibromyalgia, which include millnacipran and Lyrica.

How does prescription duloxetine work?

Duloxetine is an SNRI, which increases the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine. Scientists believe this helps suppress the sensations of pain in the body.  The result is more relief from pain and improved moods.

Learn more about fibromyalgia in our article Understanding Fibromyalgia 

How is prescription duloxetine taken?

Duloxetine comes in a tablet form and is taken once a day.  Your doctor will recommend the proper dose and regime for you as needed.  Generally, duloxetine is taken in gradually increased doses over time, starting with 30 milligrams the first day for a week and then increasing gradually to a full dose of 60 milligrams per day.   Currently there is no evidence that taking more than 60 milligrams per day is of any added benefit to the patient.

Duloxetine is the generic name for the brand name prescription Cymbalta

What are the side effects of prescription duloxetine?

Many medications have side effects, so it is always a good idea to speak with your pharmacist about what to expect from your prescription medication.  Some of the common side effects of duloxetine include: diarrhea, fatigue, dizziness, constipation, nausea and an increase in blood pressure.  Because blood pressure may increase while taking prescription duloxetine it is important to have your blood pressure monitored on a regular basis.

It is important not to stop taking or to reduce your dose of duloxetine without your doctor’s direction, as it may lead to uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal from duloxetine including:

  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Nervousness
  • Insomnia
  • Diarrhea

Because duloxetine is an antidepressant, it may come with the risk of suicidal thinking or behavior. If you experience this unfortunate side effect it is important to speak to your pharmacist and doctor immediately.

Drug interactions with prescription duloxetine

Some medications should not be taken in combination with duloxetine and may lead to health risks. Speak to your pharmacist about any other prescription and non-prescription medications you are taking before taking duloxetine.

How should I store prescription duloxetine

Duloxetine capsules should be stored at room temperature between 59F to 86F. 

Where to find support

If you are looking for more information about fibromyalgia, the following organizations may be able to help you find what you need.

National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA)  

Providing information, assistance, resources , education and support for over 20 years.

National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association 

Support groups, information, community, resources and more.

Did you find this article helpful? Other articles you may find helpful include:

Understanding Fibromyalgia

What is Prescription Milnacipran for the Treatment of Fibromyalgia Symptoms

If you have questions about your prescription medications or any other medication, please contact Canada Online Health by calling toll free 1-800-399-DRUG (3784). One of the representatives will be happy to assist you or transfer you to a licensed Canadian pharmacist for a free consultation.

This article contains medical information provided to help you better understand this particular medical condition or process, and may contain information about medication often used as part of a treatment plan prescribed by a doctor.  It is not intended to be used as either a diagnosis or recommendation for treatment of your particular medical situation.  If you are unwell, concerned about your physical or mental state, or are experiencing symptoms you should speak with your doctor or primary health care provider. If you are in medical distress please contact emergency services (such as 911).

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