Cymbalta (duloxetin hydrochloride) is an antidepressant drug, approved in 2004 for the treatment of major depression disorder, and neuropathy. After being administered orally, this drug acts as serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). Similar to other SNRI class drugs, this drug aids in balancing the serotonin and norepinephrine levels in the brain. These two neurotransmitters play a crucial role in the mood and psychological state of an individual.
At present, this drug is used for the treatment of depression, anxiety disorder, fibromyalgia, and diabetic neuropathy. Nevertheless, the efficacy of this prescription drug is debatable for the affected people with an underlying liver problem. Also, it is unsafe for those who indulge in excessive consumption of alcohol. The main reason behind this is the elevation of certain liver enzymes after ingestion of this drug, which over time can lead to hepatitis and other liver conditions. Hence, understanding the side effects that may be caused, is imperative before relying on this antidepressant. Some of the common side effects are headache, insomnia, dizziness, mood swings, suicidal thoughts, and liver problems.
One is aware that the depression medications are associated with certain side effects, that are specific to the chemical nature of the drugs and medications. The major concern is the interaction with other therapeutic formulations. This antidepressant should not be taken with any drug belonging to the class, monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI). Another prerequisite of taking this antidepressant would be to refrain from the consumption of alcohol during the treatment. Here are some adverse effects of this drug that one ought to know prior to the consumption of this drug.
Common Side Effects
Some of the commonly manifested adverse effects of this drug are headache, influenza or flu-like symptoms, fever, itching, dizziness, upper abdominal pain, dry mouth, discolored urine, and yellow skin. Darker shade of urine color and yellowing of skin are signs of liver problems, which should be addressed immediately. The failure to stand properly and fainting are reported in rare cases.
About 16 percent of the affected people manifest sleeping problems and/or insomnia after the consumption of this drug, while others experience sleepiness. Avoiding caffeine intake and large meals will help in getting sound sleep. For the sleepiness due to this drug, one should refrain from other over-the-counter medications for allergy, cough, and pain during the treatment process.
With cymbalta or any other antidepressant, suicidal thoughts are commonly experienced especially by teenagers and adults below 24 years. Hence, close monitoring of the affected people belonging to these age groups is required to identify behavioral changes. A regular follow-up is necessary for at least 12 weeks after starting the treatment plan.
High Blood Pressure
Another side effect of this drug is the elevation in the blood pressure. Usually, the doctor examines the blood pressure of the affected people before recommending this antidepressant and also, during the treatment process. To be on the safer side, people with a medical history of hypertension should take extreme care while consuming the drug. This will help in avoiding life-threatening conditions.
According to a study, approximately 2 percent of the affected people experience weight loss, after continuing the use of this drug for an extended period. In another study, about 11 percent people experienced appetite loss related to this antidepressant drug. Thus, it can be concluded that side effects like loss of appetite, diarrhea, and vomiting contribute to weight loss.
Furthermore, the use of this drug has also been linked to hair loss. However, the reason for hair loss is unclear. For the existing health and behavioral conditions related to the oral administration of this drug, it is necessary to seek medical attention as soon as possible. The physician may recommend alterations in the dosage, or replace this drug with other prescription drugs, based on the overall health of the affected person.
Besides the aforementioned side effects, one should also have a thorough knowledge pertaining to discontinuation syndrome. The affected people may experience varied signs and symptoms, on discontinuing the drug abruptly. Fortunately, these side effects and withdrawal symptoms can be prevented effectually, if the treatment proceeds under the strict supervision of a qualified doctor.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.