Drugs – Duloxetine (Cymbalta): Depression & Pain Relief


This detailed leaflet talks about anxiety, depression and pain in M.E. and how they can be managed. It features the drug duloxetine and reviews the evidence for its use as a symptom-relieving medication.

What is Duloxetine?

Duloxetine (trade name = Cymbalta) is a drug that has several uses. It is normally used to treat more severe cases of depression. But it is also sometimes used to treat a generalised anxiety disorder and for stress incontinence. It can also be helpful for pain relief.

How does Duloxetine help with pain?

As with other types of antidepressant medication – low dose  amitriptyline for example – duloxetine has been shown to help some people with pain, including both neuropathic/nerve pain and fibromyalgic pain.

Where there is evidence that a drug can be a safe and  effective option in FM, as is the case with duloxetine, it could also be of value for some people with ME/CFS. Like gabapentin and lyrica, duloxetine is therefore an option for pain management that your doctor may decide to consider.

Telephone Helpline

The ME Association telephone helpline – ME Connect – is available every day of the year, during the hours of 10am-12noon, 2pm-4pm and 7pm-9pm. Please phone: 0344 576 5326 if you have any questions or would simply like to talk to someone who is there to listen.

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