Duloxetine is an antidepressant medication that is prescribed to treat major depressive disorder (MDD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), fibromyalgia, and chronic musculoskeletal pain, among other conditions. The medication is widely recognized by its brand name Cymbalta.
Duloxetine is in the selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SSNRI) class of antidepressants. Patients usually take it one or two times a day with or without food. The dose can range from 20 mg (milligrams) to 120 mg. A doctor or other health care provider is the best person to determine the correct dose. Usually, people start with a low dose that is slowly increased over several weeks.
How Can You Identify The Signs Of Duloxetine Abuse?
Duloxetine abuse isn’t common, as antidepressants are not known to create the effects of other addictive drugs, such as euphoria or pleasure. The medication works by increasing the levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. Once this happens, users can experience drowsiness, nausea, dizziness, and other unwanted side effects. Regular use of the medication can create an increased tolerance to it, and this can happen to people who take the medication as prescribed.
If you feel that you can’t function without taking more duloxetine than prescribed, or if you’re using the medication nonmedically, you might have a dependence or be in the early stages of addiction. Signs that duloxetine abuse is underway include:
- Failed tries at quitting the drug
- Blood pressure changes
- Using the drug in higher doses without medical authorization
- Losing consciousness after duloxetine use
If you (or your loved one) have noticed any of these symptoms, speak with a doctor as soon as possible to see if your dosage can be adjusted or if you need to try a new medication. If thoughts or actions of suicide follow after taking a dose of duloxetine, or if you notice that your depression is getting worse, seek the advice of a medical professional immediately.
Is Duloxetine Dangerous?
Taking duloxetine as prescribed yields benefits for users and is well-tolerated when used as prescribed. If you experience uncomfortable side effects, alert your physician and describe what’s occurring to see what can be done to address them.
Unless directed by a doctor, you should avoid a sudden reduction or break in antidepressant use, as either of these actions can bring on symptoms of withdrawal. This also depends on which antidepressant a person takes, but about 20 percent of people who abruptly stop their use of an antidepressant after six weeks of use experience withdrawal symptoms, research shows.
The Mayo Clinic reports that these antidepressant withdrawal symptoms are sometimes called “antidepressant discontinuation syndrome,” a condition that can last for several weeks. Not all antidepressants act the same, so some are more likely to bring on withdrawal symptoms than others, the clinic says.
What Does Duloxetine Addiction Treatment Involve?
If you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms after stopping an antidepressant, you can enter a treatment facility to help you manage them. Health care providers can monitor you in medical detox to check on your health and well-being. Withdrawal symptoms from antidepressants can sometimes be challenging to deal with, so having support and reassurance that people are on hand to manage any medical emergencies that could help you stay off the antidepressants safely.