Does Cymbalta help fibromyalgia? (7 precautions)

In this article, we will explore whether Cymbalta helps in fibromyalgia. Furthermore, we will discuss related research findings, the time taken by Cymbalta to treat fibromyalgia, users’ experiences, what to do if it does not help, and precautions while using Cymbalta. 

Does Cymbalta help fibromyalgia?

Yes, Cymbalta helps fibromyalgia. Cymbalta, also known as duloxetine, is FDA-approved to treat fibromyalgia and other disorders, such as depression, anxiety, neuropathic and chronic muscular pains. 

Cymbalta affects the levels of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine in the synaptic regions of the brain. These neurotransmitter remains in the brain cells for longer periods and regulates mood, emotions, and pain (1). 

Fibromyalgia is a condition characterized by long-lasting muscular pains often accompanied by fatigue, sleep disturbances, and mood swings. These pains in fibromyalgia are felt all over the body and must present for at least 3 months to be diagnosed as fibromyalgia (2,3). 

What does research suggest?

According to a research study, Cymbalta, when used for fibromyalgia, helps to reduce the overall pains due to its analgesic properties. Cymbalta also helps to reduce other symptoms associated with fibromyalgia and improves physical and mental performance.

The adverse effects associated with Cymbalta are often mild and occur in the early phase of treatment. These side effects usually disappear once the body adjusts to Cymbalta (4). 

Several research studies have been conducted on Cymbalta’s effects on fibromyalgia and they suggest that Cymbalta is effective in reducing chronic pains. The withdrawal effects are also fewer with a dose of 60mg Cymbalta compared to a higher dose of 120mg (5). 

How long does Cymbalta take to treat fibromyalgia?

The time taken by Cymbalta to treat fibromyalgia is usually one week or two. In a clinical trial, Cymbalta significantly reduced pain within the first week of treatment and continued to reduce over 12 weeks of treatment. 

The dose of Cymbalta used to treat fibromyalgia ranged between 60mg and 120mg. Cymbalta also improves the overall quality of life by improving mood and reducing pain. However, the time taken by Cymbalta to treat fibromyalgia may vary among individuals (6). 

What are the users’ experiences with Cymbalta for fibromyalgia?

Some of the users shared their experiences while using Cymbalta to treat fibromyalgia as follows: 

“I was prescribed Cymbalta because I was suffering from fibromyalgia, depression, and anxiety. I took 30mg of Cymbalta for 3 weeks and initially had only mild side effects. 

Now my dose has been increased to 60mg and I have noticed improvements in my sleep, pain, and overall performance. You should start slowly and give Cymbalta time to adjust in your body.”

Another user quoted his experience as:

“I was using Prozac for my depression and anxiety, but I was also suffering from fibromyalgia and it was affecting all the aspects of my life. When I started using Cymbalta, I felt like myself again, as along with depression and anxiety, my pain and fatigue are also gone.”

What to do if Cymbalta does not help your fibromyalgia?

If Cymbalta does not help your fibromyalgia, you should wait for at least two weeks. If you do not observe any improvement in your fibromyalgia symptoms, please reach out to your healthcare provider. You can try over-the-counter painkillers for temporary pain relief during this process. 

Your healthcare provider may evaluate your current symptoms, underlying medical conditions, and response to the treatment. They may increase the dose to get the desired therapeutic benefit of Cymbalta. 

Some patients may respond better to the adjusted dose of Cymbalta. However, if your condition remains the same after dose adjustment, your doctor may gradually discontinue Cymbalta and switch you to another medication such as Effexor, or Lexapro for better results (6). 

What precautions should be taken while using Cymbalta for fibromyalgia?

The following precautions should be taken while using Cymbalta for fibromyalgia:

  • Tell your doctor if you are allergic to Cymbalta or other SNRIs before taking it. 
  • Inform your doctor about your family history, underlying health conditions, and if you are taking any other medicines. 
  • Take Cymbalta exactly as prescribed by your doctor and at the same time every day. 
  • Avoid driving while taking Cymbalta as it may make you drowsy. 
  • Reduce alcohol consumption. 
  • Cymbalta should not be used in combination with medications that affect serotonin, as the risk of serotonin syndrome is increased. 
  • Do not stop taking Cymbalta abruptly as it may cause withdrawal symptoms (7). 

In my opinion, Cymbalta helps treat fibromyalgia as it is FDA-approved for this indication. You may start noticing improvements in your fibromyalgia symptoms within the first week of treatment.

Although Cymbalta is effective for fibromyalgia in the majority of patients, some people may not find it suitable for them and can be switched to other treatments. 

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