The concerns about Cymbalta cover a wide range of topics, which are covered in the FAQ’s below. These discuss the drug’s mechanics upon the brain and body, interactions with other substances that one should be aware of, side effects, pregnancy-specific data, and several other important health issues.
An SNRI type of antidepressant can often produce unexpected adverse effects, despite any failure on the part of the drug manufacturer to fully and clearly disclose these to the consumer.
Anyone considering taking such a drug is well advised to research the matter thoroughly so that the most optimally informed decision can be made.
If you are currently taking Cymbalta or a similar SNRI medication and are considering tapering off the drug, please remember the strong FDA warning against coming off too quickly, or all at once.
Please use the data here freely to assist you in the information gathering phase, which is essential to successful treatment planning.
The SNRI antidepressant Cymbalta (duloxetine) is most widely used to treat depression, anxiety disorders, and certain types of pain. Following is a timeline showing when the FDA approval for these uses came into effect:
An SNRI is sometimes prescribed for conditions that lay outside the above list, which practice is generally called “off-label” prescribing. Often, where a certain condition has not yet been successfully treated or managed with a particular medication, trials are done to explore medications that may be of some help. When enough positive results have been documented, such off-label use can eventually become FDA approved.
Some off-label uses for Cymbalta (duloxetine) in the USA include:
Duloxetine is the generic name for the brand or trade name Cymbalta. Other trade names include Yentreve, and the drug is sold in the EU as Xeristar and Ariclaim.
Care should be taken not to confuse Cymbalta or its generic name, duloxetine with “SALA” drugs, meaning drug names that sound alike or look alike. To avoid mistaking one drug for another, drug manufacturers often use specific colors, add markings, or use other distinctive features to help minimize this risk.
For example, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (4) lists Symbyax as a drug which is often confused with Cymbalta (duloxetine). Symbyax is an SSRI drug that compounds two drugs:
These similarities make Symbyax a drug which might be confused with Cymbalta, but are, in fact, much different from each other in how and when they would be prescribed, despite their similar sounding names.
Cymbalta primarily targets the serotonin and norepinephrine neurotransmitters, and to a lesser extent, dopamine. The drug has a blocking effect, so that these naturally occurring neurotransmitters are restrained from following their normal pathway, and remain suspended out in the synapse, instead of being reabsorbed as they normally would be. The pooling or building up of these substances can result in a wide variety of effects such as mood brightening or feelings of euphoria that speak to its popularity in the treatment of depression and pain relief.
However, after the neurotransmitters have been suspended out in the synapse they eventually degrade and become inactive. This can result in a deficit over time, as the drug does not create new stores of these naturally produced chemicals, but only purges and uses up existing resources in the body.
The result of this deficit might explain some of the more long-term negative effects of taking a drug like Cymbalta, where an initial perceived benefit can often be overshadowed by other troubling side effects that begin to appear after weeks or months. There are hundreds of reported side effects but we will focus on the most common ones here (1%-10% or higher) and a number of less common reactions that would signal a high health risk and potentially require swift medical intervention, should they occur.
While no one wants to suffer any longer than necessary, it is important to strongly reiterate that the process of withdrawal can be made more difficult if attempted too rapidly. Abrupt or “cold turkey” cessation is NOT recommended, as it can actually lengthen recovery time greatly. There are many treatment methods that have been found to lessen the discomfort, and to help ease the process in a much gentler manner, and these can be found explained in further detail in the below section on “Treatment”.
There can be many adverse effects felt when coming off Cymbalta. Some of the more common ones are listed here:
Because of the mechanics of SNRI antidepressants, there can be a significant measure of difficulty in stopping a drug such as Cymbalta. Some of the side effects of the drug while taking it can be hard to differentiate from those that can arise and even intensify when tapering off the drug. Working with an experienced medical practitioner who can help monitor the process is recommended.
In addition to drug side effects and the adverse effects of withdrawal, a person may also be struggling with their initial symptoms that led to taking an antidepressant in the first place. This can be an overwhelming process to embark on alone, especially where such problems may have arisen.
There are holistic treatment methods that may prove beneficial in regaining natural mental health, especially during the withdrawal and also recovery phases of treatment. This is a journey that may be best taken with caregivers who can provide encouragement and effective, compassionate care along the way.
Below are some of the most frequently requested points of information concerning Cymbalta (Duloxetine).
Because of the potentially overwhelming difficulties of coming off a drug like Cymbalta (duloxetine), it can be wise to choose treatment of a mild nature, to ensure a safe and comfortable withdrawal experience. Cymbalta addiction or dependency can be overcome. Residential treatment is often the best choice to significantly reduce any discomforts that otherwise may make withdrawal near to impossible to accomplish without step by step help.
Initial lab tests can be utilized in order to get a snapshot of existing neurochemical anomalies and deficits, as well as possible nutritional deficiencies and extant toxic body burden. Then, each of these areas can be addressed using a combination of protocols which work to safely and gently restore nutritive values, remove toxins, and stabilize a person’s neurochemistry.
The advantages of these steps are clear, especially when they are done prior to beginning the taper process:
Not only is it possible for the client feel better very early in the process, but the person can relax and complete the withdrawal process without unnecessarily harsh adverse effects, worry or strain. Choosing such a program can help focus on the benefits of regaining mental health naturally.
We can provide much more information concerning methods of treatment that might be able to provide a safer, gentler way to overcome dependency on and safely withdraw from prescription drugs such as Cymbalta (duloxetine). We can help where there is a desire to eliminate the adverse effects lingering after prescription drugs and regain better mental and physical health using methods which are both gentle and effective.
Dr Motl is currently certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in Psychiatry, and Board eligible in Neurology and licensed in the state of Arizona. He holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree with a major in biology and minors in chemistry and philosophy. He graduated Creighton University School of Medicine with a Doctor of Medicine. Dr. Motl has studied Medical Acupuncture at the Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine and at U.C.L.A.