Cymbalta is a common antidepressant for treating various disorders like depression and anxiety. Like many other medications, Cymbalta is just the brand name; its common name is duloxetine.
Because Cymbalta is such a frequently prescribed medication, it is important to the side effects. While knowing the most common side effects is good, there are other factors to consider. Recognizing potential overdose side effects and withdrawal effects that may present when coming off Cymbalta is also important.
Cymbalta, or duloxetine, is a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, or SNRI. An SNRI antidepressant affects the serotonin and norepinephrine amounts in your brain by slowing reabsorption. Slowing this down ensures that the neurochemicals can better balance your mood. Many people with depression and other conditions reabsorb these neurochemicals too quickly, which results in the low mood and worries associated with depression and anxiety.
SNRIs like duloxetine are usually prescribed as oral medications. It typically takes about two to three weeks to start feeling the effects. This is common for most antidepressants as your body needs to adjust to the new changes. If it is longer than three weeks and you are not feeling any difference, consider speaking to your doctor to see if a different SNRI or antidepressant is needed for your condition.
You might be surprised that Cymbalta treats more than depression and anxiety. It is also used to treat several types of pain, such as fibromyalgia and neuropathic pain associated with diabetes.
Common side effects associated with Cymbalta include:
- Reduced appetite
- Lightheadedness and dizziness
- Dry mouth
- Increased sweating
If you find yourself experiencing any other symptoms that started while using Cymbalta, talk to your doctor immediately to see if the symptoms might be connected to the medication.
Overdose of Cymbalta
Cymbalta and duloxetine, in general, are not recognized as being addictive since the medication should not produce cravings. However, some still use significantly higher doses than they should. Some people also mix Cymbalta with other antidepressants or alcohol.
As you might expect, there are symptoms and side effects from overdosing on Cymbalta. Some of the recognized symptoms include:
- High or low blood pressure
- Severe lethargy and sleepiness
If you find yourself taking more Cymbalta than prescribed, experiencing cravings, mixing this medication with alcohol, or any other troubling signs, then it would be best to contact your doctor and seek treatment to assist with Cymbalta addiction and overuse. You may also need assistance with Cymbalta tapering to ease the withdrawal side effects.
Cymbalta and Serotonin Syndrome
The National Institute of Health states that serotonin syndrome is a potential condition that can occur from any antidepressant, substance, or medication that increases serotonin. Too much serotonin builds up in the body, which can be dangerous or even fatal if not treated immediately.
The initial symptoms include unusual agitation, shivering, rapid heartbeat, and muscle rigidity. If not treated, this can later become seizures, hallucinations, and even unconsciousness. This tends to occur more in higher doses of Cymbalta if you use multiple medications that affect serotonin or drink alcohol in combination with Cymbalta.
At the same time, you should still pay attention to the warning signs, even if taking a low dose of Cymbalta. Talk to your doctor immediately if you experience these symptoms.
Cymbalta Withdrawal Symptoms
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI, there is the potential for Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop using the medication or dramatically reduce your dose without medical supervision.
NAMI reports that some of the common withdrawal symptoms include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Tingling in the limbs
Speak to your doctor if you feel any of these side effects following the discontinuation of Cymbalta or a significantly reduced dose. Your doctor typically uses a tapering schedule to help wean you off Cymbalta. You will typically reduce your dose by about a half or third, then by another half, and then you should be off the medication within two or three weeks. If you feel the withdrawal effects, Harvard Health reports that your doctor will likely either increase the tapered dose somewhat or they might return to your original dose and try a slower tapering schedule.
It could be useful to seek support and recovery services while reducing your dose. We at Granite Recovery Center are here if you need treatment to help you through the difficult side effects and adjust to life without Cymbalta. This can be a big change for you, even if you have been through treatment before for depression or anxiety.
Cymbalta Long-Term Effects
No one likes hearing about numerous side effects from prescribed use, using too much, or withdrawal symptoms from trying to stop the medication. Side effects like those described above might worry you about ever trying Cymbalta. It might also make you worried about potential long-term effects if your prescriber feels you need the medication for many months or years.
There are currently no known long-term side effects from using Cymbalta. It is considered safe to use for long periods as long as you use the prescribed dose.
While it is always a good idea to keep up with research as this could change, the current consensus is that Cymbalta is considered safe and effective even if it must be used for many months or years.
Rare and Serious Side Effects with Cymbalta
Many medications like Cymbalta have rare and serious side effects that occur either during trials or from patients using them as prescribed. While you may experience one of these side effects, remember that they are rare and do not happen often.
Some of the more serious and rare side effects from Cymbalta include:
- Orthostatic hypotension, or reduced blood pressure when standing up
- Increased urinary frequency or difficulty
- Elevated heart rate and increased risk for heart attack
- Low sodium, which can result in headaches, difficulty concentrating, trouble remembering events, and overall weakness
- Serotonin syndrome
As mentioned earlier, if you experience any of these symptoms or any other reactions while using Cymbalta, then tell your doctor immediately. They can help determine if it is really from Cymbalta and how to proceed.
Extra Support and Treatment
Many people have a hard time coming off Cymbalta, or they may find that their depressive symptoms do not decrease as much as they had hoped. While antidepressants take care of the biochemical side of depression and anxiety, they do not remove the behaviors and thoughts that may have built up over the years.
There are many treatments for depression, anxiety, and other disorders.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, is considered among the best for depression and anxiety as it helps connect feelings, thoughts, and behaviors and puts you in control by increasing your awareness. CBT is effective both with individual outpatient therapy and group therapy. You can feel comfortable telling us about your individual or group therapy preference. We can also consider your case and find the best treatment for you. While CBT is the most commonly used theory for these conditions, we offer many other types of treatment that can help with mood stabilization and coping.
You may also need additional support from a doctor when discontinuing Cymbalta. While many doctors are adept at this, you might face more severe withdrawal symptoms, or your current doctor might have difficulty managing the symptoms. For cases such as those, we offer a medical detox program that could be beneficial. Granite Recovery Centers provides medical detoxification for people who do not need immediate medical intervention, are not a danger to themselves, and are capable of self-evacuation in an emergency.
Our doctors are highly experienced at helping patients rehabilitate from the overuse of substances, whether it be safer medications like Cymbalta or difficult substances like heroin and opiates. Our doctors will treat you compassionately and help manage your withdrawal symptoms until you can safely discontinue your medication.
About Granite Recovery Centers
For over ten years, Granite Recovery Centers has been transforming the lives of our clients throughout New England and beyond. While we primarily focus on substance use and co-occurring disorders or clients with both mental illness and substance use, we can also help with depression, anxiety, and many other conditions.
We offer various services to help you regain control of your life. Our lowest level of care would be individual outpatient treatment, where you speak with a therapist individually to explore your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This typically occurs once a week, but some clients may meet two to three times a week.
If you are experiencing cravings with Cymbalta, using more than what is prescribed, or using other substances, then a higher level of care might be necessary. The next level would be intensive outpatient or IOP. This is an intensive group therapy with three weekly sessions lasting three hours.
IOP is one of the most common types of therapy used to treat substance use disorder, as it gives you enough time to explore your cravings and triggers while vicariously learning from your peers. Tell us about your current situation so we can create a treatment plan tailored to your needs.
Some clients need even higher levels of care. We provide inpatient residential treatment and partial hospitalization programs (PHP). Both options separate clients from major stressors or cravings during the day so that they can focus on recovery.
Our residential treatment center provides specialized and effective care to clients struggling with mental health and underlying substance use disorders.
Cymbalta has side effects associated with its use, such as nausea, fatigue, reduced appetite, and more. Additional side effects have been associated with higher doses and withdrawal symptoms when discontinuing use. That said, Cymbalta is not guaranteed to cause side effects and is considered safe for long-term use.
While Cymbalta is not known to cause cravings, some people report using more than they should. If you or a loved one is struggling with depression, anxiety, or substance use disorder, we are here to help. Contact us. Our expert staff can begin guiding you on the road to recovery today.