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Cymbalta – an SSNRI antidepressant

Generic name: duloxetine.

Cymbalta (Duloxetine) is one of the newer antidepressants, approved by the FDA in 2004 and manufactured by Eli Lilly. Duloxetine is in a class of medications called selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SSNRIs). It offers relief from both the emotional and painful physical symptoms associated with depression, according to its maker. It works by increasing the amounts of serotonin and norepinephrine, natural substances in the brain that help maintain mental balance. Many antidepressants target only serotonin.

Cymbalta comes in a delayed release (long-acting) capsule and can be taken once a day. The target daily dose for Cymbalta is 60 mg. However, your doctor may prescribe a different dose based on his or her medical judgment. Cymbalta is available in 20 mg, 30 mg and 60 mg capsules. It can be taken with or without food and should be taken around the same time every day. Swallow the capsules whole; do not split, chew, crush or open them Cymbalta is not recommended for those under 18.

Duloxetine controls but does not cure depression. It may take one to four weeks or longer before you feel the full benefit of duloxetine. You should continue to take duloxetine even if you feel well. You should not stop taking duloxetine without talking to your doctor, who will probably decrease your dose gradually. If you suddenly stop taking duloxetine, you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as dizziness, upset stomach, vomiting, headache, pain, burning or tingling in hands or feet, irritability, and nightmares. You should tell your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms when your dose of duloxetine is decreased.

What side effects can Cymbalta cause?
In clinical studies for Cymbalta used for depression, the most common side effect was nausea. For most people, the nausea was mild to moderate, and usually subsided within one to two weeks.

Other most common side effects included (listed in order of frequency):

  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Decreased appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Sleepiness
  • Increased sweating

Most people were not bothered enough by these side effects to stop taking Cymbalta, according to the manufacturer.

Other possible side effects include the following (Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away):

Some side effects, although uncommon, can be serious. If you experience any of them call your doctor immediately.

A life-threatening condition can occur when Cymbalta, and some medicines used to treat migraine headaches (triptans) are used together. If you take migraine headache medicines, ask your healthcare professional if your medicine is a triptan.

Safety information
Before taking duloxetine, read the complete safety information about the drug, which deals with allergies, potential drug interactions and other important concerns. Always tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, herbal products and nutritional supplements you are taking as interactions with several drugs pose a risk. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking duloxetine.

You, your family, or your caregiver should call your doctor right away if you experience any of the following symptoms: new or worsening depression; thinking about harming or killing yourself, or planning or trying to do so; extreme worry; agitation; panic attacks; difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep; aggressive behavior; irritability; acting without thinking; severe restlessness and frenzied, abnormal excitement. Be sure that your family knows which symptoms may be serious so they can call the doctor if you are unable to seek treatment on your own.

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