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Treatments > Medications Used In MS

Brand Name Chemical Name

Cymbalta (U.S.)

Duloxetine hydrochloride Delayed-release

Primary Usage in MS

Generic Available
Pain (neuropathic)

Duloxetine hydrochloride is used in MS to treat mental depression and neuropathic pain. It belongs to a group of medications known as selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SSNRI).

Proper Usage
Duloxetine should be swallowed whole and not chewed or crushed. The medication can be taken with or without food.

While a person with a major depressive disorder may experience some relief in 1-4 weeks, the medication should be continued as directed by your physician.

Your physician should monitor your progress at regularly scheduled visits in order to adjust the dose and help reduce any side effects.

You and your family members should be alert to any abrupt emotional and/or behavioral changes (e.g., heightened anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, impulsivity, undue excitement or hypomania, worsening of depression or suicidal ideation, etc.) and report them to your physician.

You should not take this medication if you are taking or have recently taken a monamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), are taking thioridazine, or have uncontrolled narrow-angle glaucoma.

Any drug of this type can impair judgment, thinking, or motor skills. Although duloxetine has not been shown in clinical studies to impair these functions, it can cause sedation. Do not operate drive or operate any hazardous machinery until you know that the medication does not interefere with ability to engage in these activities.

In animal studies, duloxetine has been shown to have adverse effects on pre-and postnatal development. Studies have not been done in pregnant women. Be sure to notify your physician as soon as possible if you become pregnant or intend to become pregnant.

It is not known whether duloxetine is excreted into breast milk, but nursing while on duloxetine is not recommended.

Possible Side Effects
Side effects that may go away as your body adjusts to the medication and do not require medical attention unless they continue for several weeks or are bothersome: nausea, dry mouth, constipation, decreased appetitie, fatigue, sleepiness, and increased sweating, decreased sexual drive or ability, urinary hesitation.

Medication Index

Other Medications Used to Treat Depression

Other Medications Used to Treat MS-related Pain

About Depression

About Antidepressants

Depression and MS
Therapies, resources, and more.

About Pain in MS

Pain: The Basic Facts
Types of pain, therapies, self-help, resources, and more

Reprinted with permission from Rosalind C. Kalb (ed.), Multiple Sclerosis: The Questions You Have—The Answers You Need, 3rd Edition. New York: Demos Medical Publishing, Inc., 2004

Last updated January 13, 2005