More Information on Duloxetine
What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking this medication if you have:
- Bipolar disorder or a family history of bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression)
- A history of suicide attempts or suicidal thoughts
- Had a recent heart attack or if you have unstable heart disease
- Diabetic gastroparesis (a slowing of the digestive tract due to diabetes)
- High blood pressure (hypertension) or low blood pressure (hypotension)
- Seizures or epilepsy
- Glaucoma (a condition of the eyes)
- Liver disease, including liver failure or cirrhosis
- Kidney problems, including kidney failure (renal failure)
- A bladder problem
- Any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you:
- Are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant (see Cymbalta and Pregnancy)
- Are breastfeeding
- Drink alcohol regularly.
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all of the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
(Click Precautions and Warnings With Duloxetine for more information on this topic, including information on who should not take this drug.)
How Does It Work?Duloxetine is part of a class of drugs called serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, or SNRIs for short. SNRIs, such as duloxetine, affect specific chemicals within the brain known as serotonin and norepinephrine. Serotonin and norepinephrine are two of several chemicals used to send messages from one nerve cell to another.
As a message travels down a nerve, it causes the end of the cell to release serotonin or norepinephrine. The serotonin or norepinephrine enters the gap between the first nerve cell and the one next to it. When enough serotonin or norepinephrine reaches the second nerve cell, it activates receptors on the cell and the message continues on its way. The first cell then quickly absorbs any serotonin or norepinephrine that remains in the gap between the cells. This is called "reuptake."
Normally, this process works without any problems. But when the levels of serotonin or norepinephrine become unbalanced, it can cause a variety of conditions, including depression or anxiety. Duloxetine helps to block the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine so more remains in the space between the brain's nerve cells. This gives the serotonin and norepinephrine a better chance of activating the receptors on the next nerve cell.