Cymbalta: Uses, Dosage, and Side-Effects

April 21, 2023
Cymbalta for anxiety
Cymbalta: Uses, Dosage, and Side-Effects

People experience anxiety at some point as a natural stress response. However, sometimes, these feelings are on an extreme level and last for extended periods, which may indicate an anxiety disorder. In such cases, it can affect a person’s daily life and requires treatment, such as medications. In this post, we’ll review the specifics of using Cymbalta for anxiety — one of the most widely prescribed medicines for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

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What is Cymbalta?

Cymbalta’s generic name and the main active ingredient is duloxetine. This medication belongs to a class of drugs known as serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). They inhibit the reuptake of neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine, which play important roles in regulating mood. By doing so, they increase the availability of these neurotransmitters in the brain, resulting in mood enhancement. It can only be acquired with a prescription from a qualified physician.

Uses of Cymbalta

Clinical studies have demonstrated that Cymbalta is an effective treatment for people suffering from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). The symptoms of GAD vary widely from patient to patient but typically include excessive anxiety or worry, restlessness, insomnia, rapid heart rate, and trouble concentrating lasting for at least six months.

The exact root causes of GAD have not been pinpointed, but science tells us that one of them is an imbalance in certain neurotransmitters. Cymbalta works by altering the levels of those chemicals in the brain, which as a result alleviates the disturbing symptoms. Due to such effects, the medication is also FDA-approved for the treatment of the major depressive disorder (MDD).

While most people take Cymbalta for anxiety and depression, there are other Cymbalta uses for which it is prescribed worldwide. These include:

  • Fibromyalgia. A chronic condition characterized by bodily tenderness, insomnia, fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, and cognitive issues.
  • Diabetic peripheral neuropathy. It is a nerve disorder that causes pain and numbness in the extremities and is commonly experienced among patients with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
  • Chronic musculoskeletal pain. It presents as pain in the muscles, nerves, ligaments, bones, and tendons lasting more than 3-6 months.
Cymbalta dosage for anxiety

Appropriate Cymbalta Dosage

Cymbalta is available in capsules of strength 20 mg, 30 mg and 60 mg to be taken orally with or without food. The dosage that a doctor prescribes for a patient depends on various factors:

  • The patient’s medical condition and its severity.
  • Any other medical conditions that the patient might have.
  • Any other medication that the patient might be taking.

For adults below the age of 65 years, the appropriate Cymbalta dosage for anxiety is 60 mg once daily. Depending on your condition, a doctor might prescribe a starting dose of 30 mg once each day and increase it over time or as needed.

For severe cases of anxiety in adults, the maximum dosage of Cymbalta may be adjusted up to 120 mg per day, although this is rarely prescribed. These dosage guidelines remain relatively consistent across the various conditions physicians administer this drug for.

If you miss a dose for whatever reason, take it as soon as you remember, but skip it entirely if it is almost the scheduled time for the next pill. Whatever you do, do not take two doses to make up for the missed dose of Cymbalta.

If you accidentally overdose, seek immediate medical attention or contact the National Poison Helpline, which is 1-800-222-1222. Symptoms of overdosing include dizziness, vomiting, seizures, drowsiness, fainting, rapid heart rates, or comas.

See a doctor to know the diagnosis and get the most suitable medication prescribed.

Side Effects of Cymbalta

Depending on the individual, taking Cymbalta may cause mild, severe, or no side effects at all. Below are some of the most common side effects reported by this drug’s users.

Mild side effects may include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dizziness
  • Sleepiness
  • Fatigue or energy decrease
  • Digestive trouble (nausea, diarrhea, and constipation)
  • Headaches
  • Excessive sweating
  • Lower sex drive (libido) in men and women and erectile dysfunction in men

Most of these symptoms will gradually dissipate within a few days or weeks without any intervention. Should they persist or become more severe, patients should consult their pharmacist or a doctor.

Severe Cymbalta side effects come with potential risks. The first thing you should do if you experience a serious side effect or suspect your life is at risk is to call 911 or any local emergency number. These effects might include the following:

  • Liver damage. It manifests itself in itchy skin, dark-colored urine, and jaundice (yellowing skin and the whites of the patient’s eyes), pain in your liver area (upper right section of your abdomen).
  • Serotonin syndrome. Includes attacks of fever, rapid heart rate, sweating, agitation, tremors, muscle cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea.
  • Orthostatic hypotension. Fainting or dizziness when trying to stand up due to a sudden drop in blood pressure.
  • Abnormal bleeding. Cymbalta may increase the risk of bleeding events when taken with other medications such as aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, warfarin, and other anticoagulants. It includes gastrointestinal bleeding and hemorrhages.
  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome and other skin reactions. The symptoms include mouth sores, blisters, hives, and peeling rashes.
  • Glaucoma and other forms of eye trouble: eye pain, swelling around the eye, vision changes, and noticeable redness.
  • High blood pressure (hypertension). Monitoring of blood pressure is important throughout the treatment.
  • Low sodium levels (hyponatremia). These can be identified by confusion, weakness, trouble concentrating, and other signs.
  • Suicidal ideation. Characterized by a patient’s thoughts of taking his or her own life, which is a common side effect of taking antidepressants.
  • Allergic reactions. Seek out emergency medical attention if you experience reactions like breathing difficulties, burning eyes, fever, hives, swelling in the throat or face region, and skin rashes.

Dependence and Withdrawal

Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms may occur if you stop taking this medication suddenly. These symptoms include dizziness, headaches, fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, hyperhidrosis, and a prickling sensation in your limbs. Due to these risks, it’s suggested that patients wean off Cymbalta gradually and after consulting a medical professional.

While Cymbalta is generally considered non-addictive, it may cause physical dependence in some individuals. Although no instances of dependency are indicated in rats by the FDA, it’s important to note that the same may not apply to humans. Therefore, it’s essential to take the medication only as directed by a healthcare practitioner and to follow their guidelines to minimize the risk of developing dependence or experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

Cymbalta side effects

Drug Interactions of Cymbalta

There are several drugs that Cymbalta can interact with including:

  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Using Cymbalta together with them can lead to serious, and sometimes fatal, interactions including serotonin syndrome. Some of these drugs include isocarboxazid and phenelzine.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These can increase the risk of bleeding events such as gastrointestinal bleeding and hemorrhages. These drugs include ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin.
  • Anticoagulants. Taking anticoagulants including warfarin and heparin increases the risk of bleeding due to their blood thinning function.
  • Alcohol. Consuming alcohol can exacerbate the side effects of Cymbalta and the risk of liver injury.
  • Other antidepressants. Antidepressants from classes such as SSRIs, SNRIs, and tricyclic antidepressants may cause a risk of serotonin syndrome. Some drugs from these classes such as paroxetine and fluvoxamine may interfere with the metabolism of Cymbalta.

Final Thoughts

There are many benefits of taking Cymbalta for patients suffering from anxiety, depression, and other ailments. As long as it is prescribed for use by a qualified health professional, it has proven to be a good choice for countless patients, with severe side effects being very rare.

If you’re on any other medication or suffer any other condition, be sure your prescribing physician is aware of this. And to get personalized treatment and support for anxiety treatment with suitable medications, contact Mango Clinic today.


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