Generic name: Duloxetine
Cymbalta is an antidepressant medication. It has been approved for use in treating symptoms of depression and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). It is also used to treat fibromyalgia and diabetic neuropathy. Cymbalta is a selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SSNRI). Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the brain and depression has been linked to the inability to create enough serotonin. Norepinephrine is another neurotransmitter linked to depression. Cymbalta targets both serotonin and norepinephrine, unlike SSRIs, which only target serotonin. Both of these neurotransmitters can impact mood. The medication works to block the neurotransmitters from reentering the nerves, allowing more of the neurotransmitters to remain active.
Clinical trials have shown Cymbalta to improve mood, increase appetite and allow for better sleep. It can also increase energy and decrease nervousness.
Generally, this medication is started at a low dose and increased in increments, as needed. It should not be stopped except under the advise of a doctor. When stopping this medication, you can experience withdrawal symptoms and is often tapered off rather than suddenly stopping.
For many people, benefits of the medication can be felt after one to two weeks, however, the full benefit of the medication may take up to four weeks of continuous use. If you continue to feel depressed, or if your depression worsens, you should talk with your doctor.
Before Taking this Medication
As with all antidepressants, children and adolescents can experience an increase in suicidal thoughts and depression when taking this medication, especially when first beginning the medication or when dosage has been increased. You should talk with your doctor about this and be aware of the signs of depression and suicidal thoughts in order to help your child or teen while taking this medication. If you see a worsening of depression, contact your doctor immediately.
There are also a number of health conditions that may require an adjustment to your dosage. Therefore, you should tell your doctor if you have any of the following conditions:
- Liver or kidney disease
- Seizure disorders, such as epilepsy
- Bleeding or blood clotting disorder
- History of suicidal thoughts
- History of substance abuse
In addition, you should let your doctor know if you have taken medications that can thin blood (aspirin, ibuprofen or heparin), water pills, and high blood pressure medications.
Your doctor will decide if this medication is right for you, if you need medical tests to determine if you can safely take this medication or if your dosage needs to be adjusted based on your medical history.
Cymbalta should not be taken at the same time as a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI). If you are currently taking a MAOI, you will need to stop it at least 14 days before beginning Cymbalta. In addition, this type of medication should not be taken for at least 5 days after stopping Cymbalta.