Cymbalta - National Multiple Sclerosis Society

Skip to navigation Skip to content



About this Medication
  • Brand Name: Cymbalta (U.S.)
  • Chemical Name: duloxetine hydrochloride delayed-release (doo-LOX-uh-teen)
  • Usage in MS: Depression|Pain (Neuropathic)
  • Generic Available: No


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, increased sweating, decreased sexual drive or ability, urinary hesitation.