Cymbalta is the commercial brand-name version of the generic drug Duloxetine HCL. It is used to help manage depression, including dysthymia, and anxiety. A secondary effect is its ability to help reduce chronic nerve pain such as peripheral neuropathy from diabetes.
Cymbalta is a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). It works by restoring the balance of certain natural brain chemicals and substances such as serotonin and norepinephrine. This enhances a positive mood in some patients. Like other SNRIs, though, it can cause the opposite effect in some patients and make them suicidal.
Some side effects can include dizzyness and an elevated blood pressure. Serious side effects include confusion, blood clotting issues (bruising, bleeding, small amounts of black stools, barfing a tiny bit of coffee ground-looking stuff), a decreased interest in sex (sexual ability, performance, issues orgasming), muscle cramps, shaking or tremors, and/or problems peeing.
Get medical help right away if you have a lot of black or outright bloody stool, a lot of coffee ground-looking vomit, seizures, severe eye pain, widened pupils, or vision issues like rainbows around lights at night or blurred vision where you were fine before.
When I first started taking this stuff, it had a lot of wacky issues that were not part of the general listing for the drug. I slept 22 hours a day for several weeks. I had absolutely no appetite and I lost 40lbs in six weeks. Related to that, I had no urge to poop, which caused real problems when I also happened to have a colonoscopy scheduled and had to drink that disgusting slime in a gallon jug. I drank it all, and nothing happened for almost 48 hours. Yeah, sorry, TMI, but it can seriously muck up your intake and output.
I couldn't drive for a couple of weeks until my brain got used to the new chemicals in the brine. Because my weight dropped so much I no longer needed to take insulin, which was nice. I still took my diabetes pills, which sometimes made my blood sugar drop too low.
The nice thing is that it really did take care of my neuropathy to the point where I could function better. As far as mood elevation, depression reduction, and anxiety in general, it's about the same. I have two psycho-doctors; one who prescribed it and the other that was alarmed and wanted me off of it. I decided to remain on it because it's helping me to drop more weight and because it helps with nerve pain.
If you're given this drug by prescription, understand there will be a period where you should not do things like drive or operate machinery. I would even stay away from waffle irons. You may sleep for extended periods or you can get insomnia. I have both, where I will sleep for 20 hours and then can't sleep again for 40 hours. It's really helped my writing output. In fact, I'll add links to this and go write another novel before I get tired.