A small number of children, teenagers, and young adults (up to 24 years of age) who took antidepressants (”mood elevators”) such as duloxetine during clinical studies became suicidal (thinking about harming or killing oneself or planning or trying to do so). Children, teenagers, and young adults who take antidepressants to treat depression or other mental illnesses may be more likely to become suicidal than children, teenagers, and young adults who do not take antidepressants to treat these conditions. However, experts are not sure about how great this risk is and how much it should be considered in deciding whether a child or teenager should take an antidepressant. Children younger than 18 years of age should not normally take duloxetine, but in some cases, a doctor may decide that duloxetine is the best medication to treat a child’s condition.
You should know that your mental health may change in unexpected ways when you take duloxetine or other antidepressants even if you are an adult over 24 years of age. These changes may occur even if you do not have a mental illness and you are taking duloxetine to treat a different type of condition. You may become suicidal, especially at the beginning of your treatment and any time that your dose is increased or decreased. You, your family, or caregiver should call your doctor right away if you experience any of the following symptoms: new or worsening depression; thinking about harming or killing yourself, or planning or trying to do so; extreme worry; agitation; panic attacks; difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep; aggressive or hostile behavior; irritability; acting without thinking; severe restlessness; frenzied abnormal excitement; or any other unusual changes in behavior. Be sure that your family or caregiver checks on you daily and knows which symptoms may be serious so they can call the doctor if you are unable to seek treatment on your own.
Your healthcare provider will want to see you often while you are taking duloxetine, especially at the beginning of your treatment. Be sure to keep all appointments for office visits with your doctor.
The doctor or pharmacist will give you the manufacturer’s patient information sheet (Medication Guide) when you begin treatment with duloxetine. Read the information carefully and ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions. You also can obtain the Medication Guide from the FDA website: http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/InformationbyDrugClass/UCM096273.
No matter your age, before you take an antidepressant, you, your parent, or your caregiver should talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of treating your condition with an antidepressant or with other treatments. You should also talk about the risks and benefits of not treating your condition. You should know that having depression or another mental illness greatly increases the risk that you will become suicidal. This risk is higher if you or anyone in your family has or has ever had bipolar disorder (mood that changes from depressed to abnormally excited) or mania (frenzied, abnormally excited mood), depression, or has thought about or attempted suicide. Talk to your doctor about your condition, symptoms, and personal and family medical history. You and your doctor will decide what type of treatment is right for you.