Duloxetine is a type of prescription antidepressant known as a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI). It works by increasing the amount of certain chemicals in the brain known as neurotransmitters. It acts on serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine, which are all involved in mood regulation and feelings of well-being.
Duloxetine comes as tablets to take once per day. The usual starting dose is 10 mg taken once per day with the dosage being increased by 10 mg every other day until the daily dose reaches 30 mg or less. It can be taken with or without food but it is recommended that it is taken at the same time every day for best results.
The side effects of duloxetine may occur because it has more than one target in clinical tests. They can be categorized into those that are common, those that are minor, those that are dose-related and those that are more serious.
Common side effects of duloxetine
Common side effects of duloxetine are headache, dizziness, dry mouth, nausea and vomiting. These side effects may worsen with continued use or they may occur at the lowest dose.
Headache is the most common side effect of duloxetine. It occurs in about 60 percent of patients and it can be helped by decreasing the dose or by taking it at bedtime. Other types of pain in the head such as migraine headaches are also relieved by this medication. Dizziness and nausea have a lot in common with each other: they both happen more often when standing up than when sitting down and they both get better with time. Nausea is also alleviated by an increase of food intake or lightheadedness caused by increased fluid intake such as drinking water. Dry mouth happens a lot less often than the other two side effects but it usually gets better with time. If you experience any of these side effects, decrease the dose or try another medication for the same condition if possible; do not stop taking duloxetine without speaking to your doctor first.
Minor side effects of duloxetine
The minor side effects of duloxetine are usually only short-lived and mild in nature. These include dizziness, dry mouth, constipation, nausea, headache, fatigue and hypersomnia.
One of the most common side effects is drowsiness. People taking duloxetine may experience high levels of sleepiness or drowsiness which can cause them to fall asleep while at work or while driving.
People taking duloxetine should not drive until they have been given the all clear by their doctor and they are sure they won’t be distracted.
Duloxetine causes sexual dysfunction but this is not a common side effect. Sexual dysfunction can range from low libido to an inability to get or maintain an erection when a person takes it with alcohol (a condition called alcohol induced erectile dysfunction).
Some people find that after taking it for a few weeks, it stops working for them and they need to take another antidepressant to get relief from depression again. This doesn’t happen as frequently as other types of antidepressants but it does happen sometimes.
Some people who take duloxetine may experience weight gain; this includes body weight gain and fat gain around the waistline or hips. The dosage you take will also determine if you will have any weight changes as well as your risk for these problems.
Dose-related side effects of duloxetine
The most common side effects of duloxetine are dizziness and lightheadedness, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, sleep disturbances and tiredness. Most of these can be treated by gradually reducing your dosage or by switching to another antidepressant medication.
Dosage-related side effects may also occur with other antidepressants such as venlafaxine. These side effects usually go away after a few weeks of taking the prescribed dose.
Minor side effects that usually go away on their own include headaches, itching skin, dry nose and mouth and itchy eyes.
More serious side effects of duloxetine
The common side effects of duloxetine may include dry mouth, blurred vision, constipation, dizziness and nausea. The minor side effects may include diarrhea, headache, insomnia and anxiety. The dose-related side effects may include increased blood pressure on the upper body and a feeling of faintness or lightheadedness.
Duloxetine is important to use because it has antidepressant properties and can help alleviate depression in people who don’t respond well to other types of drugs.
Should you avoid taking duloxetine?
There is a list of side effects that can occur with antidepressants like duloxetine, but the most common are fatigue, dizziness, dry mouth, nausea and constipation.
If you experience any of these side effects over a long period of time or intensely enough to interfere with your daily life, discuss them with your doctor.
The recommended way for people to avoid these side effects is to take duloxetine at the same time every day.
Side-effects of duloxetine with caution
Some common side-effects can include nausea, vomiting, constipation and dry mouth. They are mostly mild and only occur if you take an excessive amount of duloxetine. The dose-related side effects are more serious and can include: