High-Risk Adverse Effects of Cymbalta
Cymbalta use is also associated with several high-risk effects that impact your ability to live a normal life. Worse, several of these effects may pose a significant danger to your life. When experiencing these concerning effects, it is crucial to seek medical attention immediately:
- Eye pain
- Vision changes
- Black or bloody stool
- Liver failure
- Bleeding events
- Orthostatic hypertension
- Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
High-risk effects for Cymbalta occur every day in the US. Research has found that short-term Cymbalta effects are generally found to continue and intensify after long-term Cymbalta use. Chronic and life-threatening adverse reactions include liver failure, which can increase with alcohol use.
Other serious effects include the increased risk of bleeding events. This could result in gums that bleed more easily, frequent nose bleeds, gastrointestinal bleeding, or other types of uncontrolled bleeding. These events can be hazardous and even life-threatening depending on the circumstances.
Cymbalta use can also result in orthostatic hypertension, which is a condition characterized by a sudden drop in blood pressure, often while standing or getting up from a sleeping position. This can result in dizziness which could cause a person to pass out. The risk of experiencing this effect increases when using medication for high blood pressure.
Long-term effects of Cymbalta on the brain vary, but many pose a serious risk to your health. As mentioned, Cymbalta blocks the normal function of the brain, impacting levels of important neurotransmitters.
One such condition caused by Cymbalta, though rare, is serotonin syndrome, which occurs when the drug forces the body to build up abnormally high levels of serotonin.5
Serotonin syndrome can cause dangerous changes in blood pressure and heart rate, loss of muscle control, and even seizures. Serotonin syndrome can occur when you start a new serotonergic medication or increase the dosage of one that is currently taken.
The risk of developing this syndrome increases with the use of other serotonergic medications concurrently, which can result in poisonous levels of serotonin being activated. Serotonin syndrome is also referred to as serotonin toxicity and the condition can be fatal. Symptoms of serotonin syndrome include:
- Fast heartbeat
- Muscle rigidity
- Spontaneous convulsions, spasms
- Confusion, disorientation
- Severe dizziness
- Fever over 100 degrees F or 38 degrees C
- Severe nausea or vomiting
Due to its laundry list of potentially dangerous effects on brain chemistry, Cymbalta use demands the careful guidance of an experienced medical professional who understands the various complications associated with prescribing this drug as an antidepressant. Unfortunately, Cymbalta overdoses can occur and are a severe risk to your health. The risk of overdose increases with alcohol and other CNS depressants.
Overdosing can cause:
- Extreme sleepiness
- Blood pressure dropping or rising
With all these potential risks, Cymbalta may not be ideal for either short-term or long-term use for many individuals. Worse, drug dependence can develop resulting in Cymbalta long-term effects that persist. When you stop Cymbalta use either suddenly or gradually without strategies in place, you are at risk for discontinuation syndrome, a set of symptoms that emerge after dependence has developed.
Long-Term Effects of Cymbalta and Withdrawal
One of the most serious complications associated with long-term Cymbalta use is the risk of discontinuation symptoms after the last Cymbalta dose leaves the body.6 Also referred to as discontinuation syndrome, these are serious and can be life-threatening. Cymbalta comes with a Black Box Warning,7 one of the most serious medicine label warnings the FDA can impose. It indicates that this drug can cause withdrawals, suicidal thoughts, and suicidal behaviors. Suicidality is especially prominent when Cymbalta is prescribed to teenagers and young adults.
For these reasons, users of Cymbalta are warned to never stop taking the medication without following a proper tapering schedule with the guidance of a medical professional who is familiar with the process. Both short-term and long-term effects of stopping Cymbalta can be severe. Individuals wishing to stop taking Cymbalta should consult with a qualified physician as soon as possible to begin a gradual taper to zero.
If a person tries to stop Cymbalta without the help of a professional, any conditions they may have been experiencing can reappear and worsen. Re-emerging symptoms may include:
- Mood swings
- Changes to sleep cycles
- Increased thoughts of suicide
- clinical worsening
Similar symptoms — as well as new symptoms — can emerge as a direct result of stopping Cymbalta. Discontinuation syndrome occurs in most users who try to quit after long-term Cymbalta use, and the symptoms can be intense. Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms include:
- Suicidal thoughts
- Dizziness, nausea, or vomiting
- Panic attacks
- Brain fog
- Muscles aches
- Sexual dysfunction
Users of Cymbalta can experience these symptoms over the course of weeks or even months and may linger even after Cymbalta use is completely stopped.8 These discomforts can persist regardless of how long it takes for Cymbalta to physically leave the system. The CNS and the entire body will need to correct neurotransmitter dysfunction, nutritional deficiencies and imbalances, and get back to normal for these symptoms to abate. Again, if you decide to stop using Cymbalta, begin a gradual reduction for safety.
Understanding Long-Term Effects of Cymbalta Use
Medications impact everyone differently. The list of long-term effects of Cymbalta continues to grow as more users report the ill effects they’ve experienced over time.9
Antidepressant drug addiction, though rare, is on the rise according to research that is ongoing on the topic.10 A person can develop a dependency on the way Cymbalta makes them feel. This dependency can also lead to the development of severe negative effects as well as potentially life-threatening cessation symptoms if a person tries to quit using Cymbalta too abruptly, and without proper guidance.
Much data on the long-term effects of Cymbalta and other antidepressants is derived from studies on rats, guinea pigs, and other animals, where 21 days is considered “long-term”. Research published in the International Journal of Risk and Safety in Medicine shows that on careful study, neither SSRIs nor SNRIs actually provided benefits over long-term use (months or years) to patients. The long-term effects of antidepressants are severely under-studied and rarely reported in the medical literature. The FDA lists many potential long-term effects on the package label and advises the medication to be discontinued if these emerge. Patients with cardio concerns should steer away from drugs such as SSRIs and SNRIs that may affect the heart adversely.12-15
Cymbalta long-term effects can include:
- Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
- Mania, hypomania
- Liver failure
- Abnormal bleeding, especially when NSAIDs or aspirin are taken concurrently
- Severe renal impairment
- Urinary hesitation, and retention
- Hyponatremia (low sodium levels in the blood)
- Severe weight gain
- Cardiotoxicity issues: tachycardia, QT prolongation, blood pressure issues
- Brain fog
- Low sex drive
While Cymbalta is advertised to help those dealing with severe depression, anxiety, or pain, its list of serious and life-threatening adverse effects may drastically outweigh any actual benefit.
Seeking Alternative Options to Cymbalta
Dealing with serious symptoms of depression or anxiety can be difficult. For individuals struggling with these conditions, typically a patient is advised that prescription medication is the best option for treatment. However, medications like Cymbalta have proven to be potentially dangerous and even life-threatening due to their wide range of adverse reactions. The risk of harm may continue even after deciding to stop using the medication. Cymbalta should be tapered extremely slowly with the help of a professional. When you’re considering taking a prescription medication to address symptoms of depression or anxiety, it is important to consider the risks. You might be surprised how little is still known about medications like Cymbalta.
Researchers study how SNRI drugs manipulate neurotransmitters but it is not known what the long-lasting effects of artificially altering the brain truly are. Pharmaceutical companies have promoted the ongoing theory that antidepressants can correct neurotransmitter deficiencies but have sold the theory as fact. The truth is that there is a lot more to be discovered about what antidepressants truly do to your brain and body.16
Fortunately, you may not need prescription medication to experience relief from your symptoms. There are several accepted non-pharmacological methods that can address depression and anxiety, and perhaps as well as, or more effectively than SNRIs. Clinically proven effective alternative therapies include correcting the diet, cleansing neurotoxins from the body, acupuncture, music and art therapy, physical exercise, life coaching, talk therapy, and stress-reduction techniques.
Similarly, rehabilitating the gut microbiome, and supplementing your diet with herbal remedies may help you find results like those you hoped to find with drug-based therapy, but without the long-term effects of Cymbalta and similar pharmaceuticals. 11
Avoid the Negative Long-term Effects of Cymbalta
Serious repercussions may impact an individual’s health, as a result of the long-term effects Cymbalta is associated with.
Want to see how ATMC can help? Check out this Cymbalta Withdrawal Success Story to see how we helped Becky withdraw from Cymbalta so she could feel like herself again.