Cymbalta Drug Profile

Bipolar Medications Library

Cymbalta (duloxetine) is a serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) antidepressant used to treat major depression and the pain associated with diabetic peripheral neuropathy. According to the manufacturer, Eli Lilly, clinical studies showed that the maximum effective dosage of Cymbalta for treating depression was 60 mg per day; there was "no evidence that doses greater than 60 mg/day confer any additional benefit." The same dosage was also significantly more effective than placebo in decreasing neuropathic pain.

Lilly also noted that smoking reduced the bioavailability of Cymbalta by about one-third, but recommends against any dosage modification for smokers.

Cymbalta Precautions and Warnings

  • Cymbalta should not be used by nursing mothers.
  • Cymbalta should not be taken along with MAOIs.
  • Cymbalta should not be used by patients with uncontrolled narrow-angle glaucoma, and cautiously by those with controlled narrow-angle glaucoma.
  • You should not take Cymbalta if you are taking Mellaril (thioridazine). You must wait five weeks after stopping one before taking the other to avoid very serious cardiac complications.
  • Your doctor should know if you have liver or kidney problems before prescribing Cymbalta for you.
  • If discontinuing Cymbalta, a gradual reduction in dose is recommended to minimize withdrawal effects.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol while taking Cymbalta, as the combination may cause liver damage.
  • Do not chew, crush or open the capsules. They have an enteric coating to keep them from dissolving too soon in your system.

Cymbalta and Other Disorders

At present, Cymbalta is not approved for treating bipolar depression, but is being prescribed to people with bipolar disorder as an off-label use; therefore, patients who have experienced mania should be monitored carefully when taking this medication.

According to VeryWell Arthritis, "Cymbalta seems to be effective in treating the symptoms associated with fibromyalgia in women, but not in men." Using this drug for fibromyalgia is another off-label use.

From Crazymeds: "It appears that the discontinuation syndrome for Cymbalta ... might be as harsh as that of Effexor ... So if you have to stop taking, be careful and do slowly. 

Disclaimer: This profile is not intended to be all-inclusive or to replace information provided by your doctor or with the prescription from the manufacturer.

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