Dr. med. Dirk Manski

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Duloxetine for Stress Urinary Incontinence

Mechanism of action

Duloxetine is a serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), which leads at the urinary tract to an increase in bladder capacity and to an increase in muscle tone of the striated sphincter muscle of the bladder (Thor and Donatucci, 2004).

Urological Indications for Duloxetine:

Duloxetine is most commonly used for the treatment of depressive disorders and generalized anxiety disorders. Duloxetine is in addition approved in Europe for the treatment of stress urinary incontinence of women, while it failed approval in the United States due to security concerns (see side effects). Duloxetine may achieve a reduction of incontinence episodes by 50–60% vs. 20–40% in the placebo group (Mariappan et al., 2007). The combination of duloxetine and pelvic floor exercises leads to improved results. Duloxetine is not approved for the treatment of male stress urinary incontinence, but it is somehow effective and sometimes used as off-label treatment (Cornu et al., 2004).

Pharmacokinetics of duloxetine:

Hepatic inactivation and renal excretion of inactive metabolites. Half life time is 12 hours. Liver insufficiency prohibits the administration of duloxetine. In chronic kidney disease, dosage adjustment is necessary below a GFR of 30 ml/min.

Side Effects of Duloxetine

Nausea, fatigue, insomnia, dry mouth, constipation, diarrhea, dizziness, headache, blurred vision, restlessness, hyponatremia, liver toxicity, increased risk of suicide. The risk of severe liver toxicity or suicide is debatable.

Interactions of Duloxetine:

Do not combine Duloxetine with MAO inhibitors or SSRI (serotonin reuptake inhibitors), there is a relevant risk for a serotonin syndrome. Do not combine duloxetine with ciprofloxacin, enoxacin or other inhibitors of CYP1A2.

Contraindications for Duloxetine:

Dosage of duloxetine:

20 mg p.o. twice a day (1-0-1). After 2 weeks, increase the dosage to 40 mg 1-0-1. If the medication with duloxetine is to be stopped, the dosage should be decreased slowly over two weeks.

Brand names of duloxetine:

Duloxetine is sold under various brand names like Cymbalta, Ariclaim, Xeristar, Yentreve and Duzela.

Index: 1–9 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Thor, K. B. & Donatucci, C. Central nervous system control of the lower urinary tract: new pharmacological approaches to stress urinary incontinence in women.
J Urol, 2004, 172, 27-33.

Cornu, J.; Merlet, B.; Ciofu, C.; Mouly, S.; Peyrat, L.; Sèbe, P.; Yiou, R.; Vallancien, G.; Debrix, I.; Laribi, K.; Cussenot, O. & Haab, F. Duloxetine for mild to moderate postprostatectomy incontinence: preliminary results of a randomised, placebo-controlled trial.
Eur Urol, 2011, 59, 148-154.

Mariappan, P.; Alhasso, A.; Ballantyne, Z.; Grant, A. & N'Dow, J. Duloxetine, a serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) for the treatment of stress urinary incontinence: a systematic review.
Eur Urol, 2007, 51, 67-74.

  Deutsche Version: Duloxetin