Duloxetine and Ciprofloxacin Drug Interaction

A 77 year old female has been taking chronic duloxetine 60 mg daily for neuropathy and depression.  She has been experiencing increasing confusion, lower back pain, and painful urination.  A urinalysis is performed and she is diagnosed with a urinary tract infection.

The primary provider elects to start a seven day course of ciprofloxacin to treat the UTI.  Per Lexicomp, this interaction is listed as an “X” (i.e. do not use these medications together).  When assessing any drug interaction, it is really important to understand more than “there is a drug interaction”.  What we really want to know is what is going to happen (or likely to happen) if these drug are given together.

Ciprofloxacin is a potent CYP1A2 inhibitor.  Duloxetine is significantly metabolized via this pathway.  The end result of the duloxetine and ciprofloxacin drug interaction will be an increase in the systemic concentration of duloxetine.

So, now what?  Do we reduce the dose? Do we hold duloxetine? Do we leave it alone and monitor for duloxetine adverse effects?  Would your opinion be different if this patient was on 120 mg daily or 30 mg daily of duloxetine? It is always tough to make a blanket statement as each case should be assessed independently.  The severity of the depression (or other diagnosis like neuropathy) history and length of Cipro should also be considered.

One final point, and question to think about in assessing drug interactions in general.  Always remember to consider alternatives to the drug that might be causing the interaction.  In this case, how many other possible alternatives might exist to treat the UTI and avoid messing with the duloxetine altogether?

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Eric Christianson, PharmD, BCPS, CGP


Written By Eric Christianson

September 30, 2015

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