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Duloxetine

Last updated on 24/03/2021.

Overview   |   Dosage   |    Side Effects   |   Precautions   |   Tips   |   Where To Buy  

GENERIC NAME: Duloxetine 

CHINESE NAME: 度洛西汀

BRAND NAME(S) IN HONG KONG: Apo-Duloxetine, Cymbalta 欣百達, Duloxetine Alvogen, Duloxetine Sandoz, PMS-Duloxetine, Sebata

DRUG CLASS: Antidepressant; Serotonin / Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor (SNRI)

USED FOR: Generalized anxiety disorder, major depression, neuropathic pain associated with diabetes, fibromyalgia, chronic musculoskeletal pain 

OTHER DRUGS IN THE SAME CLASS: Desvenlafaxine, Milnacipran, Venlafaxine

AVAILABLE DOSAGE FORMS: 30mg, 60mg (gastro-resistant capsules)

What is Duloxetine for?

Duloxetine belongs to a class of medications called Serotonin / Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor (SNRI). It treats depression by increasing the amount of certain neurotransmitters that correlate with better mood and feelings of satisfaction and calmness. It is also used in the management of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), diabetes-associated nerve damage, fibromyalgia (musculoskeletal pain all over the body) and long-term muscle and bone pain.

How to use it?

Duloxetine is given orally and available as delayed-release capsules. 

If you are taking Duloxetine for depression, the starting dose is 30-60 mg per day. The maintenance dose is 60 mg daily and the maximum daily dose for adults is 120 mg. 

If you are taking the medication for generalized anxiety disorder, the starting dose is 60 mg once daily. Your doctor may increase it up to 120 mg per day according to your response. 

For treatment of neuropathic pain associated with diabetes, the adult dose is 60 mg once daily.

For the management of chronic musculoskeletal pain such as low back pain, you will be first given 30 mg once daily for the first 1-2 weeks. The dose will then be increased to 60 mg once daily. 

For the treatment of fibromyalgia, the initial dose is 30 mg once daily for 1 week, then increased to 60 mg once daily. The maximum daily dose is usually 60 mg.

What are the side effects of Duloxetine?

Common side effects include headache, dizziness, drowsiness, insomnia, dry mouth, constipation, muscle weakness, weight loss, lower blood pressure when standing or sitting (orthostatic hypotension), and sleep disturbance.

Who should not take Duloxetine?

– Anyone who has an allergy to Duloxetine or any other components of the formulation.
– People who are currently taking monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors or within 14 days of discontinuing them
– Patients with moderate to severe liver function impairment, or uncontrolled narrow-angle glaucoma or high blood pressure.

Pharmacist Tips:

– To lower the chance of feeling dizzy, stand up slowly when you have been sitting or lying down.
– It might take a few weeks for DuloxetineDesvenlafaxine to reach its full effect.
– Do not stop taking Duloxetine suddenly, especially if you have been taking it for more than 3 weeks, as you may suffer from withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea and dizziness.
– Antidepressants can induce suicidal thoughts and behaviours in children, adolescents and young adults. Family members and caregivers should monitor closely any changes in their behaviours.  

Common dosing schedule:
Duloxetine can be taken with or without food.
Swallow the whole capsuletablet. Do not open, chew, break, crush or dissolve the capsule.
Do not drink alcohol as it may worsen your mood and depression.

This schedule is for reference only, adjustments may be made according to individual needs.

Some common medications Duloxetine may interact with:
Metoclopramide
– Monoamine oxidase inhibitors, e.g. Selegiline, Rasagiline
– Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, e.g. Diclofenac, Ibuprofen)
– Linezolid

Please notify your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking the above medication, dosage adjustments might be needed.

Where to buy Duloxetine in Hong Kong?

In Hong Kong, Duloxetine is a prescription only medicine, and requires a prescription from a doctor to be purchased in a pharmacy. It can also be obtained from doctors. To find a pharmacy near you, refer to the list of pharmacies (“Authorized Sellers of Poisons”) from the Hong Kong Department of Health.

For more information about drug names and ingredients, you can visit Hong Kong’s Drug Office at https://www.drugoffice.gov.hk

Need more information?

For detailed information about the use of Duloxetine in children, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and for questions about drug interactions, please check with your pharmacist or doctor.

Disclaimer: our goal is to provide you with the most relevant drug information and common dosage for Hong Kong. This information does not constitute medical advice. For specific treatment recommendations and advice, always discuss with your doctor or pharmacist, and follow the instructions included with your specific medicine.