Eli Lilly and Company
What Is Cymbalta (Duloxetine)?
Cymbalta is the brand name for duloxetine, an antidepressant prescribed to treat the symptoms of depression. In addition to depression, doctors can prescribe Cymbalta to treat anxiety that lasts for at least six months, pain from diabetic nerve damage, fibromyalgia, and long-term muscle or bone pain. Cymbalta is in a class of medications called serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). It works by increasing the levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine, which help regulate mood and may block pain signals traveling through the brain. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved duloxetine in 2004 under the brand name Cymbalta for the Lilly drug company. In 2013, the FDA announced that it had approved generic versions of duloxetine for several drug companies. Cymbalta could also help ease pain associated with osteoarthritis, according to a study published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice in 2012. The researchers noted that use of Cymbalta could result in fewer side effects than the drugs traditionally used for the condition, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, which can lead to gastrointestinal bleeding, and opioids like morphine, which often lead to constipation. They concluded that doctors may consider adding antidepressants, such as Cymbalta to the treatment regimens for patients with osteoarthritis. Cymbalta Suicide Warnings The FDA requires that Cymbalta carry a black-box warning about the risk of suicide among people who use the antidepressant. Cymbalta may increase the risk for suicidal thoughts or behaviors if you are 24 years old or younger. Doctors usually do not prescribe Cymbalta for anyone younger than 18. The risk is greatest when first starting treatment or increasing the dose of Cymbalta. Your depression may get worse before it gets better when you start taking Cymbalta. Let your doctor know if you have: Thoughts of suicide Symptoms of aggression Irritability Panic attacks Extreme worry Restlessness Acting without thinking Abnormal excitement Your doctor will monitor you carefully for any of these symptoms when you start Cymbalta. You should also let friends and family members know about these symptoms. If you have any thoughts of suicide or if a friend or family member thinks you are acting strange, call your doctor right away. Cymbalta Withdrawal Take Cymbalta as directed by your doctor. Don't stop taking Cymbalta on your own, because suddenly stopping can cause severe withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms of Cymbalta withdrawal may include: Nausea and vomiting Anxiety Dizziness Headache Tingling and numbness Insomnia Sweating Nightmares Cymbalta and Weight Gain Researchers have found that Cymbalta (like many antidepressants) can cause fluctuations in weight among people taking the drug. A 2011 study, published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice, found that weight loss was reported among some Cymbalta users at the start of their Cymbalta therapy. This may be explained by a loss of appetite, a common side effect of the drug. Some long-term users of Cymbalta, however, reported weight gain up to 16 percent over their initial weight (especially people who were taking Cymbalta for low-back pain or fibromyalgia). These findings, the study authors wrote, were consistent with earlier studies that had focused on weight changes among people taking Cymbalta for depression. Other Cymbalta Warnings You should also know that you cannot take Cymbalta if you have a condition called uncontrolled narrow-angle glaucoma. Cymbalta can worsen glaucoma symptoms. Tell your doctor if you have any eye conditions. Cymbalta may cause liver damage. You may not be able to take Cymbalta if you have liver disease or if you abuse alcohol. Alcohol may increase some serious side effects of Cymbalta. Cymbalta may make you feel drowsy until you know how the drug will affect you, do not drive or operate machinery. Cymbalta may cause high blood pressure, dizziness or lightheadedness, especially when you get up too quickly after sitting or lying down. Cymbalta has many side effects and can interfere with many medications and can cause problems. Always tell your doctor if you have allergies to any medications, including antidepressants. You will need to discuss all the risks and benefits of Cymbalta with your doctor. Let your doctor know if you are taking a type of drug called a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI). Brand names for MAOIs include Marplan, Nardil, Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar, and Parnate. Use this drug with caution if you have certain medical conditions. Tell your doctor about any history of these conditions: Liver problems Eye problems Frequent use of alcohol Heart problems High blood pressure Seizures Drug abuse Bipolar disorder Kidney disease Abnormal bleeding Family history of suicide Pregnancy and Cymbalta Cymbalta might harm a developing fetus. If you are pregnant or may be pregnant, you should discuss with your doctor the relative risks of taking Cymbalta while pregnant. Cymbalta is known to pass into breast milk, and it's therefore recommended that you talk with your doctor before breastfeeding while taking Cymbalta. Back to Top Cymbalta Side Effects The most common side effects of Cymbalta are: Nausea Dry mouth Sleepiness Fatigue Constipation Loss of appetite Sweating Other possible side effects include: Headache Muscle ache Diarrhea Vomiting Heartburn Stomachache Loss of interest in sex Increased urination Dizziness Weakness Tremor Serious side effects can occur. If you have any of these side effects, call your doctor right away or call 9-1-1: Unusual bruising or bleeding Loss of appetite Abdominal pain Yellowing of the eyes or skin (jaundice) Dark-colored urine Fever with sweating, confusion, racing heart, and muscle stiffness Extreme weakness Swelling of the face, lips, or tongue Swelling in other parts of the body Trouble breathing or swallowing A blistering or peeling rash Chest pain Difficulty breathing Worsening depression Panic attack