Cymbalta

Generic Name: Duloxetine

  • What is this medication and its most common uses?

    Cymbalta is a medicine called a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). It is used to treat major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, pain from diabetic peripheral neuropathy (a nerve disorder associated with diabetes that affects the hands, legs, and feet), fibromyalgia (a condition characterized by weakness and pain in the muscles and tissues surrounding the joints), and long-term osteoarthritis (a type of arthritis that involves the breakdown of cartilage in the joints) and low back pain.

  • What should I know when beginning and continuing on this medication?

    How does this medication work?

    Cymbalta is thought to work by increasing the activity of chemicals in your brain called serotonin and norepinephrine. By increasing serotonin and norepinephrine, Cymbalta may help improve your symptoms.

    What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?

    What:

    Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Cymbalta has been shown to relieve symptoms associated with these conditions, as measured by appropriate symptom rating scales that are commonly used by healthcare providers to evaluate the effectiveness of the medicine in people with such conditions.

    Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathic Pain, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Osteoarthritis Pain, and Chronic Low Back Pain: Cymbalta has been shown to reduce pain associated with these conditions.

    When: Everyone responds differently to treatment, so try to be patient and follow your healthcare provider's directions. It is important that you take Cymbalta exactly as your healthcare provider has prescribed, even if you do not feel better right away.

    How do I know it is working?

    Your healthcare provider may ask you a series of questions from time to time that will help assess how well your symptoms are controlled with treatment.

  • What are the possible side effects of this medication?

    The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.

    Cymbalta can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior in children, teenagers, and young adults. Your healthcare provider will monitor you closely for clinical worsening or suicidal/unusual behavior after you start taking Cymbalta or start a new dose of Cymbalta. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you experience anxiety, hostility, sleeplessness, restlessness, impulsive or dangerous behavior, thoughts about suicide or dying, or if you have new symptoms or seem to be feeling worse.

    More common side effects may include: nausea, dry mouth, drowsiness, constipation, decreased appetite, excessive sweating.

    Less common side effects may include:

    Serotonin syndrome (a potentially life-threatening drug reaction that causes the body to have too much serotonin, a chemical produced by the nerve cells) with symptoms such as mental status changes (such as agitation or hallucinations), an increase in your heart rate and temperature, lack of coordination, overactive reflexes, muscle rigidity, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

    Liver problems with symptoms such as nausea, fatigue, weakness, itching, yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes, right upper abdominal pain, and flu-like symptoms.

    Sudden fall in blood pressure with symptoms such as dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting when rising too quickly from a sitting or lying position.

    Abnormal bleeding or bruising, especially if you also take blood thinners (such as warfarin), nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (such as ibuprofen or naproxen), or aspirin.

    Manic episodes with symptoms such as greatly increased energy, severe trouble sleeping, racing thoughts, reckless behavior, excessive happiness or irritability, or talking more or faster than usual.

    Low blood sodium (salt) levels with symptoms such as headache, weakness, an unsteady feeling, confusion, problems concentrating or thinking, or memory problems.

    Serious skin reactions, with symptoms such as peeling rash, blisters, sores in your mouth, or hives.

    Problems with urination, such as decreased urine flow or an inability to pass any urine.

    Cymbalta may cause seizures or changes in blood pressure.

    Changes in your child's appetite or weight.

  • Who should not take this medication?

    Do not take Cymbalta if you are allergic to it or any of its ingredients.

    Do not take Cymbalta if you take another medicine called a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) (such as phenelzine, selegiline, or linezolid), a class of medications used to treat depression and other conditions. Do not start taking Cymbalta if you stopped taking an MAOI in the last 2 weeks, unless directed to do so by your healthcare provider.

    Do not take Cymbalta if you have uncontrolled glaucoma (high pressure in the eye).

  • What should I tell my healthcare provider before I take the first dose of this medication?

    Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Cymbalta. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have high blood pressure; heart, liver, or kidney problems; bipolar disorder or mania; diabetes; low sodium levels in your blood; delayed stomach emptying; a history of glaucoma, bleeding problems, or seizures; or if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.

    Adults: Your healthcare provider will prescribe the appropriate dose for you, based on your condition.

    It is important that you do not stop taking this medication abruptly. If you need to change or stop taking this medication, it is important that you only do this with the guidance of your healthcare provider.

  • How should I take this medication?

    Take Cymbalta exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not change your dose or stop taking Cymbalta without first talking to your healthcare provider.

    Swallow Cymbalta capsules whole. Do not open, break, or chew the capsule.

  • What should I avoid while taking this medication?

    Do not drive, operate heavy machinery, or engage in other dangerous activities until you know how Cymbalta affects you.

    Do not drink alcohol while you are taking Cymbalta.

  • What are the possible food and drug interactions associated with this medication?

    If Cymbalta is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. Cymbalta may interact with numerous medications. Therefore, it is very important that you tell your healthcare provider about any other medications you are taking.

  • May I receive this medication if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    Cymbalta may harm your newborn baby if you take it during the last few months of your pregnancy. Cymbalta can be found in your breast milk if taken while breastfeeding. Do not breastfeed while taking Cymbalta. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?

    If you miss a dose of Cymbalta, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at once.

  • How should I store this medication?

    Store at room temperature.

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