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Duloxetine May Affect Blood Glucose

By January 21, 2007

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Duloxetine is a medication used to treat the pain associated with diabetic periperal neuropathy. Diabetic peripheral neuropathy is a complication of diabetes usually affecting people who have had diabetes for many years. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it affects 62% of all Americans with diabetes. Symptoms include numbness, burning or tingling sensations in the extremities, most commonly the feet and legs.

Duloxetine (which is marketed under the brand name, Cymbalta) was approved by the FDA in 2004. There has been some evidence that it may raise blood glucose levels. As reported in the journal, Diabetes Care, January 2007, results were gathered from three clinical trials, to compare the affects of duloxetine on fasting blood glucose levels, cholesterol levels and possibility of weight gain. Treatment with duloxetine did appear to raise blood glucose a small amount in both short and long-term studies. A1C levels were not affected in the short term, but did seem to increase with long-term use, indicating that duloxetine does raise glucose levels over time. Cholesterol levels were slightly affected by duloxetine use but not significantly. Weight loss was experienced by some in the clinical trials during short-term use, but weight gain was noticed with longer usage.

People should not be discouraged from taking duloxetine, especially if they are experiencing good pain control while on it. But it's important to be aware that their blood glucose levels may go up higher than usual. It is recommended not to abruptly stop taking duloxetine, because unpleasant side effects may occur. If your doctor determines that duloxetine is not right for you, he/she will help you gradually decrease the dose. It's essential to always talk to your doctor about any side effects of any medication and discuss concerns, pros and cons, and/or alternative options for your medications.

Photo by Philippe Ramakers


"Duloxetine." Medline Plus. 31 Oct. 2005. National Institutes of Health. 21 Jan 2007.

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