How Effective is Cymbalta & What are its Side Effects?

Cymbalta or duloxetine works as a norepinephrine and serotonin reuptake selective inhibitor. The function of cymbalta or duloxetine has been not been made clear yet. Yet this medicine is used since it develops better communication between the nerve cells of the body and the central nervous system. Cymbalta or duloxetine also helps to restore and maintain the chemical balance of the brain

Cymbalta or duloxetine is prescribed by the doctors only when the person is going through depression. Depressive disorders in adults are treated with cymbalta or duloxetine. As for kids, only if the child is at least 7 years old and is suffering from anxiety disorder, he or she should be prescribed this pill.

Fibromyalgia, a type of chronic pain can be treated with cymbalta or duloxetine. Other chronic pain in the muscles, joints, low back pains and pain of osteoarthritis can be helped with it. Cymbalta can also be taken by an adult patient in pain caused due to diabetic neuropathy (diabetes which led to damage of the nerves).

How Does Cymbalta Work?

Cymbalta or duloxetine enhances the effects of serotonin and noradrenaline in the central nervous system. Cymbalta is a type of SSNRIs (Selective Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors) and its functions are not clearly deciphered.

How Effective is Cymbalta?

How Effective is Cymbalta?

Cymbalta or duloxetine is effectively used for relieving stress, pain and anxiety and treating chronic illnesses like diabetic peripheral neuropathy, fibromyalgia and chronic musculoskeletal pain.

  • You can take cymbalta or duloxetine with or without food.
  • The dosage should be up to 30 mg per week. If the dosage increases more than 60 mg then no additional effectiveness can be guaranteed.
  • While getting up from lying down or sleeping do not move fast.
  • Cymbalta or duloxetine kicks in slowly. It should be swallowed as a whole and not crushed or mixed with water or food while taking it. It may not work the same way and can back adverse effects.
  • If you notice any symptoms or the patients worsens then consult a doctor. Any kind of mood changes, agitation, anxiety attacks, sudden bleeding, light-headedness, breathless and self-harming possibilities should be reported to the doctor immediately. Avoid working with a machine or driving if you feel dizzy after taking the medicine.
  • Do not withdraw from the medicine suddenly. Consult your doctor on how to taper away the medicine slowly.

The response and effectiveness of cymbalta or duloxetine is extraordinary. After two hours of taking in cymbalta or duloxetine, the medicine kicks in. The concentration reaches at its peak after 6 hours of taking the dosage and full recovery may occur only after a few weeks of the mentioned dosage.

Caution Regarding the Use of Cymbalta

In case you are suffering from glaucoma which is not treated or is not controlled then you should not take cymbalta or duloxetine. If you are already consuming thioridazine, then avoid cymbalta or duloxetine.

You should also be careful about consuming cymbalta or duloxetine if you were already using a MAO inhibitor in the recent past. MAO inhibitors contain isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue injection, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine and other drugs which can cause serious drug and harmful drug reaction if taken just 14 days before consuming cymbalta or duloxetine. If you are taking a course of Cymbalta, wait for at least a 5 days to a week before you start taking a course of MAO inhibitor.

The medicine cymbalta or duloxetine can have adverse effect on the patients since young patients are sometimes observed to turn suicidal. One must continue regular visits with the doctor so that the progress report can be gained. If the patient’s parents or close ones notice any changes like unlikely mood swings, anxiety and panic attacks, disturbed sleep, feeling of agitation, uneasiness, hostility, restlessness, mental and physical hyperactivity, depression or self-harming possibilities, the doctor should be informed immediately.

What are the Side Effects of Cymbalta?

Common side effects of cymbalta or duloxetine include:

  • Sudden change in vision
  • Dryness of mouth
  • Feeling dizzy and drowsy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Extensive sweating.

As soon as you notice any signs of allergic reaction of cymbalta or duloxetine like rash or hives on skin, breathlessness, swelling of face, throat, tongue and lips consult a doctor immediately.

Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor, such as: mood or behavior changes, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or if you feel impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), more depressed, or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.

You must also report any sudden psychological change that you notice is occurring in the patient. If the symptoms of the patient like depression, anxiety attacks, mental and physical hyper activeness, troubled sleep, restlessness, aggressiveness, agitation, irritability, hostility and suicidal thoughts increase or worsens, then the patient shall be immediately taken to the doctor.

Stop the medicine and call the doctor if you notice symptoms like:

  • Light-headedness and feeling of passing out.
  • Blurry vision, tunnel visions, halos around light, swelling of eyes.
  • Bleeding unusually and getting bruised easily.
  • Finding it difficult and painful to urinate, dark urine.
  • Liver problems, pain in the upper stomach, feeling tired, clay-colored stool and jaundice.
  • Serotonin levels in the body are high causing hallucinations, faster heartbeat, over reactive reflexes, diarrhea, nausea and irritation.
  • High levels of sodium in body causing headache, confusion, slurry speech, extreme weakness, vomiting, unsteadiness, lack of co-ordination.
  • Adverse reaction on skin causing fever, soreness in throat, swelling of face and tongue, rashes on the skin, blisters and peeling of skin.

Older adults are more prone to these reactions when they consume cymbalta or duloxetine.

All ages from 18 to 60 should avoid cymbalta or duloxetine while he or she is on the dosage of any other antidepressant medicines.

  • Increased suicidal thoughts especially noticed in young adults.
  • Severe discontinuation syndrome causing diarrhea, abnormal irritability and sensations, profuse sweating, insomnia and headache if suddenly withdrawn.
  • Other common side effects of cymbalta or duloxetine are dizziness, drowsiness, fatigue, tiredness, loss of appetite, constipation, sexual dysfunction, pain in stomach.
  • If overdose occurs, it may lead to increased level of serotonin causing faster heartbeat, flushing, tremors, hallucinations, delirium, coma and stomach symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea.
  • May precipitate within you and give rise to bipolar disorder.
  • Unnecessary bleeding may occur when other medicine (NSAIDs and aspirin) is taken while under the dosage of cymbalta or duloxetine.
  • Lowering of blood pressure that you may feel while standing up from sitting or lying down.
  • Blood sugar level may vary and get disrupted if the patient suffers with diabetes.
  • It may lead to hyponatremia (lowering of sodium level in the body) in elderly people. It will further cause diuretics and if the patient’s sodium level is already very low then the risk is higher.


Even though cymbalta or duloxetine helps in effectively treating anxiety disorders and possess property to relieve a person in pain, the medicine has shall severe discontinuation syndrome if the withdrawal is done before the course ends and also if the course is tapered.

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 10, 2017

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