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What Is the Relationship between Duloxetine and Fibromyalgia?

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  • Written By: Alicia Sparks
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 28 November 2016
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The relationship between duloxetine and fibromyalgia is the relationship between medication and health condition. Although it’s a common treatment for anxiety disorder and depression, duloxetine is often prescribed as a treatment for fibromyalgia. Duloxetine, a selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI), works to raise levels of serotonin and norepinephrine, making it an effect treatment for many patients who suffer from anxiety problems or depression. Since the SNRI also blocks the brain’s pain signals from moving, duloxetine can work to provide relief for fibromyalgia patients, who are marked with symptoms like chronic muscle pain, tension, and tenderness. A fibromyalgia patient’s doctor will consider factors like her specific symptoms and medical history before prescribing duloxetine.

As an SNRI, duloxetine not only increases serotonin and norepinephrine levels, but also blocks the brain’s pain signal movement. Simply put, this means the brain cannot process, or is hindered processing, the pain associated with fibromyalgia. Thus, putting duloxetine and fibromyalgia together often results in a patient who can better manage her physical pain.

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While the connection between duloxetine and fibromyalgia is one of treatment and illness, the fibromyalgia symptoms duloxetine can treat aren’t always directly associated with physical pain. For example, some fibromyalgia patients experience anxiety and depression. The anxiety and depression are direct symptoms of the fibromyalgia, or they develop after the patient has dealt with fibromyalgia for a certain length of time. Either way, the anxiety and depression exist for some patients, and can even increase the fibromyalgia pain. In such situations, doctors might prescribe duloxetine to manage both the physical pain of fibromyalgia as well as the mental health elements.

Before mixing duloxetine and fibromyalgia, a doctor most likely will talk with his patient about the severity and frequency of her physical symptoms, any mental health issues present, and her medical history. He will make her aware of all the common and less common side effects, including those that are mild, moderate, and severe. He will also talk with her about the kinds of behavior, such as drinking, she should avoid while taking duloxetine. Due to the nature of their symptoms, fibromyalgia patients must be especially careful to talk with their doctors about all treatments they use for pain management, anxiety, and depression, including prescription pain medications, antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications, and natural remedies. The doctor might want to adjust or change these treatments, as they could interfere or react negatively with the duloxetine.

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