How Does Duloxetine Help Fibromyalgia?
Researchers believe that neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and serotonin play a role in analgesia in chronic pain. Hence, by increasing the levels of norepinephrine and serotonin, SNRIs like duloxetine can help to reduce pain.
However, it is still unclear exactly how duloxetine helps to reduce pain in fibromyalgia. This is partly because the cause behind fibromyalgia pain is still unknown. Many believe that fibromyalgia pain is due to abnormal changes in the nervous system causing nerve cells to fire signals along the pain pathways. Researchers suggest that duloxetine reduces fibromyalgia pain by calming down these pain signals.
As an antidepressant, duloxetine also helps to improve psychiatric symptoms such as depression and anxiety in fibromyalgia patients.
Various clinical trials found evidence that duloxetine provided pain relief and increased physical function in participants. In a 2015 study, duloxetine appeared to reduce two pain types in fibromyalgia: hyperalgesia and allodynia. However, like most fibromyalgia medications, there are some who did not respond to the drug.
Side Effects of Duloxetine
As with any medication, duloxetine comes with side effects. The more common side effects which may last 4-6 weeks include:
- Decreased appetite
- Dry mouth
Duloxetine can also cause more dangerous side effects which may be due to your medical condition or drug interactions with existing prescriptions. These side effects require your doctor’s attention. They include:
- Suicidal thoughts
- Allergy which can surface as rashes, swelling of face, eyes, lips or tongue
- Bleeding or bruising