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About duloxetine

Duloxetine is a type of antidepressant medicine known as a serotonin-noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). SNRIs are thought to work by increasing the amount of mood-enhancing chemicals, serotonin and noradrenaline, in your brain.

It's used to treat depression and anxiety.

It's also used to treat nerve pain, such as fibromyalgia, and can be used to treat stress urinary incontinence in women.

Duloxetine comes as capsules. It is only available on prescription.

Key facts

  • Duloxetine usually takes 2 to 4 weeks to work. It may take longer if you're taking it for nerve pain.
  • Common side effects include feeling sick, a dry mouth, headache, constipation and feeling sleepy. These side effects are usually mild and go away after a couple of weeks.
  • If you and your doctor decide to take you off duloxetine, your doctor may recommend reducing your dose gradually to help prevent withdrawal symptoms.
  • You may find you cannot concentrate properly while taking duloxetine. When you first start taking it, it's a good idea to stop driving and cycling, and avoid using machinery or tools, for the first few days until you know how this medicine makes you feel.

Page last reviewed: 14 February 2022
Next review due: 14 February 2025