Cymbalta is a very common antidepressant used to treat a variety of disorders such as depression and anxiety. Like many other medications, Cymbalta is just the brand name; its common name is duloxetine.
Cymbalta is one of the most frequently prescribed medications at the moment, which makes it imperative that you know the side effects. It is important to look at side effects that may occur while taking the prescribed dose, potential side effects from an overdose, as well as the well-documented withdrawal effects that many patients experience when reducing or coming off from Cymbalta.
Cymbalta, or duloxetine, is a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, or SNRI. An SNRI antidepressant affects both the serotonin and norepinephrine amounts in your brain by slowing down the reabsorption process. 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 before you will 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 differences, then consider speaking to your doctor to see if a different SNRI or antidepressant is needed for your condition.
You might be surprised to know 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.
Many medications have side effects even used properly. The most common side effects from using Cymbalta include:
- Reduced appetite
- Lightheadedness and dizziness
- Dry mouth
- Increased sweating
These are the most common side effects. If you find yourself experiencing any other symptoms that started while using Cymbalta, then 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, there are still people who 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 what is 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. It is the result of too much serotonin building up in the body, which can dangerous or even fatal if not treated immediately.
The initial symptoms include unusual agitation, shivering, rapid heartbeat, and muscle rigidity. This can later become seizures, hallucinations, and even unconsciousness if not treated. This tends to occur more in higher doses of Cymbalta, if you are using multiple medications that affect serotonin or drinking alcohol in combination with Cymbalta.
At the same time, you should still pay attention to the warning signs even if you are 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 discontinuation of Cymbalta or a significantly reduced dose. Your doctor will typically use 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, then Harvard Health reports that your doctor will likely either increase the tapered dose somewhat, or they might go back 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 along with adjusting 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 make you worried about ever trying Cymbalta. It might also make you worried about potential long-term effects if your prescriber feels that 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 are using 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 occurred either during trials or from patients using them as prescribed. While it is possible that you might experience one of these side effects, keep in mind that these effects are rare and do not happen very 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 concentration, 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 the 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 therapeutic treatments for depression, anxiety, and a range of other disorders. 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 has been shown to be effective both with individual outpatient therapy and group therapy. You can feel comfortable telling us about your preference for either individual or group therapy. We can also take your case into consideration 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 it comes to discontinuing Cymbalta. While many doctors are adept at this, you might be facing more severe withdrawal symptoms, or your current doctor might have a difficult time 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 the event of 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 with compassion and help manage your withdrawal symptoms until you can safely discontinue your medication.
About Granite Recovery Centers
Granite Recovery Centers has been around for more than 10 years, and we help many clients in the New Hampshire and New England areas. While we are primarily focused on substance use and co-occurring disorders, or clients that present with both mental illness and substance use, we can also help with depression, anxiety, and many other conditions.
We offer a range of services that can help you take control of your life. Our lowest level of care would be outpatient individual treatment, where you speak with a therapist one on one to explore your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This typically occurs once a week, but some clients need to meet twice a week.
If you find that 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 sessions per week that each last 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 care as well in the form of partial hospitalization and residential treatment. Both of these allow you to get away from major stressors or cravings during the day so that you can focus on recovery.
No matter what you are suffering from, whether it be depression or severe substance use, we are here to help you recover and heal.
Cymbalta has side effects associated with its use, such as nausea, fatigue, reduced appetite, and more. There are also side effects associated with using a far higher dose than typically prescribed or withdrawal symptoms when discontinuing use. That being said, Cymbalta is not guaranteed to cause side effects, and it is considered safe for long-term use.
While Cymbalta is not known to cause cravings, there are some people who report using more than they should. If you find yourself having cravings, struggling with depression or anxiety while using Cymbalta, or need help with another substance, then we are here to help with your recovery. Contact us to tell us what your concerns are, and we will create a treatment plan that treats you with respect while guiding you on the road towards recovery.