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Cymbalta is a commonly used medication belonging to the antidepressant class called Selective Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs). While Cymbalta is a brand name, the generic name of this drug is duloxetine. It is often prescribed for the treatment of depression, anxiety disorders, and neurological conditions associated with chronic pain. It has also been found helpful for relieving symptoms of peripheral nerve damage due to diabetes. 

Here are some of the most important properties of Cymbalta, including side effects and withdrawal symptoms.

Mechanism Of Action

Cymbalta blocks the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine by nerve endings, thus prolonging the effects of these neurotransmitters. This eliminates symptoms of depression, anxiety, and chronic pain, improves mood and stabilizes emotional state. The drug is administered orally and the treatment requires several weeks to take its full effect.

Side Effects

The most common side effects come from the gastrointestinal system and they include nausea, and discomfort in the abdominal area. Patients using Cymbalta often experience dry mouth, sleepiness, lightheadedness, and difficulty falling asleep. Other, rare side effects include: fainting, muscle spasms, loss of taste, joint pain and swollen joints, increased blood pressure, seizures, and diarrhea. As antidepressant drugs are usually taken for at least six months, it is common that side effects subside and disappear with time. It is recommended to replace the drug only if severe side effects are present or if the effectiveness is unsatisfactory.

Cymbalta, as any other drug, may also cause allergic reactions in patients allergic to some components of the drug.

Contraindications

It is not allowed to use Cymbalta with some other types of antidepressants, such as Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs), because their combined effects can cause serotonin syndrome (severe psychical and Somatic symptoms caused by excess of serotonin). In fact, even after stopping MAOIs, you should take a break of two weeks before you start taking Cymbalta. If you take any other medications, you should talk to your physician about potential interactions with Cymbalta. Alcohol consumption is not recommended while taking Cymbalta, although one glass of wine per day cannot do any harm. Excess drinking can interfere with the effectiveness of this drug.

It has been found that Cymbalta can cause worsening of some psychiatric conditions, so it should only be used for specific indications. If there is a suspicion that a person suffers from bipolar disorder, further investigations are required in order to include Cymbalta in the treatment.

In children and young adults, Cymbalta can sometimes cause suicidal thoughts, so parents and physicians should take additional precautions in younger patients.

Withdrawal

Discontinuation of Cymbalta use should be gradual in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Some of them include headaches, nausea, vomiting, difficulty to fall asleep, constant fatigue, lightheadedness, and anxiety. In some patients, these symptoms appeared even after gradual withdrawal, which is why there were several debates about the safety issues of this medication. If the symptoms of withdrawal persist more than 2 weeks after stopping the drug, hospitalization may be required in order to completely remove the symptoms in controlled environment.

Low doses of Cymbalta are less likely to produce harmful effects and serious withdrawal symptoms. Talk therapy can help a person to resolve psychiatric issues to some point, so they require lower doses of antidepressant drugs.

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