Duloxetine side effects and efficacy


Hi. I'm enquiring to see if anyone else has had certain strong side effects from Duloxetine and, if you weathered these side effects and continued taking it, how much did the side effects reduce by and how quickly? I took one capsule of Duloxetine, couldn't sleep, head/mind very odd feeling, and felt very sickly and icy cold to the core for about 24 hours so stopped taking.

Also, if you struggle with OA type back pain, muscular/joint pain but without neve pain (mine's mainly upper back but I also have low back and some shoulder, hip and other pain and wonder if fibro is a possibility), whether Duloxetine helped?

The pain clinic now has me on a trial of buprenorphine (opioid) patch which does subdue the pain somewhat but I'm wondering if Duloxetine could be better long term if I could handle the side effects. I see the pain clinic in a few days' time.

If it helps with and feedback you may have, my pain/stiffness is horrendous for the first few hours of the day and then tends to improve marginally a the day goes on. I sometimes wake in the night (if I get some sleep) with my upper back in spasm and locked in pain. Simple things like leaning over without support such as doing the dishes, writing at a desk, or minimal cleaning the flat etc exacerbate the pain and can easily flare it up. Had spinal issues for 25+ years but the last 3 or so years has been horrendous.

Thanks if anyone has any feedback.


  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 29,414

    Good morning @Mickle07

    I am so sorry I have never heard of this medication even under it's other name. I see it's a serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor which is new to me. Once though many years ago I tried an antidepressant (for suspected post natal depression) took one and the world spun so much I never took another.

    Having said that i have supported others starting on them and they have struggled with them initially. One had pupils the size of teacups and couldn't drive for a few days another had a banging head for a few days. They were SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors)

    The medications I have tried for my back pains and other arthritis to relax things at night is amitriptyline? Now that works really well and really helps me and my muscles relax. Have you been prescribed that? It's an old tricyclic one I think. I few of us on here are on it I know.

    Do let us know how you get on at the pain clinic

    Take care

  • Ellen
    Ellen Moderator Posts: 1,628

    Good Morning @Mickle07

    Nice to meet you. I see you took Duloxetine (also known as Cymbalta) and really struggled with the effects, but are considering giving it another try if it has helped anyone else with their pain.

    I searched and managed to find this 'old' thread: Lyrica/Cymbalta - how long for side effects or help — Versus Arthritis

    Which might help?

    One or two have mentioned the medication in the past so hopefully someone will be able to share their experience soon.

    For definite many of our members have fibromyalgia and Osteoarthritis so you should find the forum useful and supportive do have a look around and join in wherever you feel comfortable.

    Best wishes


  • Mickle07
    Mickle07 Member Posts: 4

    Thanks for your quick feedback both, much appreciated.

    25 years or so ago I tried amitriptyline and it totally desiccated my mouth, i.e. it dried up to zero saliva, which doesn't sound too bad as a side effect but it affected my throat and breathing (a bit like putting a nose clip on all night and just breathing through your mouth but much worse). It is possible that over time I may now respond somewhat differently so there's a thought, or perhaps there's derivatives of amitriptyline which cause less side effects. I do take an old tricyclic called Dosulepin which certainly helps with sleep and also helps muscles relax a bit but this med may be eventually be phased out. I was hoping Duloxetine (Cymbalta) might replace it.

    I had a bad reaction to an SSRI a few years back, so was hoping the Duloxetine (SNRI) might be ok.

    It'd be great if someone with a similar(ish) pain profile issues to me had managed to get over the side effects of Duloxetine and after a week or two or even three then reported that they had minimal side effects together with a large reduction in pain and better functioning...? If anyone's out there!?

    Of course that's the Holy Grail for all of us...

    I will endeavour to look round the site and join in and give my two-pennies worth if I feel it may help someone else.

    Thanks again


  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 29,414

    Mike yes do put in your two pence worth! We all appreciate each others' opinion and experience here.

    Shame the amitrips dehydrated you so much because they are tolerated so well usually. I nearly tried nortrpltyline (sp) once but never needed to i had heard that was good, but suspect it's similar to amitrip being similar sounding!

    If you do decide to bite the bullet and try the Duloxetine do come on we'll support you🙂