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Cymbalta: Side-Effects and Risks

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A drug known as duloxetine, Cymbalta and a variety of other brand names, has just been approved by the FDA for the treatment of chronic low back pain and osteoarthritis and since its initial approval in 2004, some 30 million American’s have taken it.
In 2001 the drug was turned down by the FDA over concerns that it could cause liver failure and they suggested that all people taking higher doses of the drug be regularly blood tested to monitor for signs of liver failure.


Very common side-effects that occur in more than one in ten people taking the drug, are: nausea, dry mouth, sleepiness, dizziness and headaches.

Common effects that occur at incidences between one in ten and one in 100, are tremor, fatigue, weight loss, decreased appetite, ‘pins and needles’ feeling, blurred vision, sweating, muscle spasm, abdominal pain, vomiting, rashes, heart palpitations, tinnitus, insomnia, anxiety and agitation, hot flashes, disturbing dreams and erectile dysfunction of men.

Between one in 100 and one in 1,000 patients taking Cymbalta can experience potentially harmful side-effects like increased blood pressure and heart rate, difficulty passing urine, tight throat, photosensitivity of the skin (aversion to sunlight) and even hepatitis.

Rare effects occurring anywhere between one in 1000 and one in 10,000 involve complicated mental disturbances such as hallucinations, anger and aggression and mania. Some people taking Cymbalta can have convulsions.

Depression and Suicide

Somewhat ironically, since this drug is an anti-depressant, Cymbalta can cause depression and suicide , particularly in young people so the medicine is barred for use in those under 18 years of age. The official Cymbalta website says:

‘ Antidepressants can increase suicidal thoughts and behaviors in children, teens, and young adults. Suicide is a known risk of depression and some other psychiatric disorders. Call your doctor right away if you have new or worsening depression symptoms, unusual changes in behavior, or thoughts of suicide. Be especially observant within the first few months of treatment or after a change in dose. Approved only for adults 18 and over.’

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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