How Can I Use Duloxetine for Depression?

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  • Written By: Susan Abe
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 19 October 2019
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Duloxetine is a drug that is used primarily for depression and generalized anxiety disorder and is available only by prescription in some countries. It is a type of selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) and therefore increases the amount of these neurotransmitters in the brain. If a healthcare professional has recommended or prescribed duloxetine for depression symptoms you are experiencing, you could use this pharmacological therapy as one aspect of your overall treatment. Major components of successfully using duloxetine for depression include strict adherence to the instructions, keeping all medical appointments to monitor your status and maintaining the drug regimen even if it takes several weeks for your mood to improve.

If a healthcare professional has prescribed duloxetine for depression, follow all of his or her instructions. You might be started on a low dose that is slowly increased in the first few weeks of therapy. Take your medication daily and at approximately the same time each day. Swallow the medication capsule whole; do not open the capsule and attempt to mix the medication with food or fluids. Depending on the instructions, take duloxetine either with food or outside of regular mealtimes.


Many antidepressants, including duloxetine, have been found to cause significant alterations in the mood of some patients. Specifically, some patients have reported suicidal thoughts, increased depression, hostility, irritability, panic attacks and insomnia. For this reason, your healthcare professional probably will schedule frequent appointments with you at the beginning of your therapy and whenever your dosage is increased or decreased. It is important for you to keep all scheduled appointments with your doctor to allow for monitoring of your mental status. Having an objective professional assess your mood, mental status and the presence of any side effects during this time is important.

Duloxetine for depression typically requires one to four weeks to demonstrate improvement in your symptoms. In some cases, the time for improvement in depressive symptoms might be longer because of necessary adjustments in the dosage to reach therapeutic levels. Continue to self-administer your medication even if you subjectively feel no improvement in your mood or symptoms. Stopping the medication abruptly might not only cause you not to reach the necessary therapeutic levels in your body for improvement, it might cause withdrawal symptoms as well.

Pharmacological treatment — such as duloxetine for depression — is but one aspect of your therapy for this disease. Discuss with a healthcare professional other means of treating this disorder such as counseling, exercise, relaxation techniques for anxiety or self-help groups. The more tools you use to cope with your disease, the greater the chance that duloxetine therapy might be successful.


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