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Cymbalta for Fibromyalgia: How Does This Drug Work?

MT Ghozali is a researcher and lecturer of pharmaceutical sciences with extensive experience in patient education.

People who have fibromyalgia frequently struggle with issues related to their energy levels, their ability to sleep, their ability to remember things, and their general mood.

People who have fibromyalgia frequently struggle with issues related to their energy levels, their ability to sleep, their ability to remember things, and their general mood.

Fibromyalgia is an illness that affects millions of individuals worldwide and is frequently so debilitating that sufferers are unable to function normally.

However, there is hope for people who live with fibromyalgia discomfort thanks to newly developed drugs.

Cymbalta is a medicine that has been authorized for use in the management of specific symptoms of fibromyalgia. However, should you really be taking this antidepressant?

Treatment Options for Fibromyalgia

An illness known as fibromyalgia is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain followed by concerns with fatigue, sleep, memory, and mood.

Fibromyalgia treatment plans often include drugs with self-care techniques. Reducing symptoms and boosting health as a whole are priorities.

Although there is no silver bullet for relieving a patient's symptoms, exploring different approaches might help.

Standardized Drugs

Drugs can ease fibromyalgia discomfort and help you get a better night's rest. Typical alternatives are:

  • Painkillers. Some people get relief with common NSAIDs like acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), and naproxen sodium (Aleve, others) when used as directed.
  • Antidepressants. The pain and exhaustion of fibromyalgia may be alleviated by duloxetine (Cymbalta) and milnacipran (Savella). In addition, medication like amitriptyline or cyclobenzaprine, which relaxes muscles, may be prescribed by your doctor to help you get to sleep.
  • Anti-seizure drugs. In addition, many people find that the drugs used to treat epilepsy help alleviate other discomfort forms. For example, fibromyalgia symptoms can be alleviated with gabapentin (Neurontin), and pregabalin (Lyrica) was the first medicine authorized by the United States FDA for this purpose.


Fibromyalgia can have a significant physical and emotional impact on your life, but there are several treatments available to help lessen its severity. Some instances are:

  1. Rehabilitative exercises. A physical therapist can provide exercises to boost your strength, mobility, and endurance. In addition, workouts in the water might be beneficial.
  2. Occupational therapy. Modifications to your working environment or how you carry out particular activities can help reduce the strain placed on your body. An occupational therapist can assist you in making these adjustments.
  3. Counseling. You may improve your self-confidence and learn effective coping mechanisms by speaking with a counselor.
Antidepressant medication known as Cymbalta (duloxetine) is often prescribed to patients with fibromyalgia.

Antidepressant medication known as Cymbalta (duloxetine) is often prescribed to patients with fibromyalgia.

Cymbalta for Fibromyalgia: Does It Work?

Antidepressant medication called Cymbalta (duloxetine) is often prescribed to patients with fibromyalgia.

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A chronic condition known as fibromyalgia is characterized by widespread muscular pain and soreness, difficulty sleeping, and an overwhelming feeling of exhaustion.

How Does It Work?

Cymbalta may help individuals with fibromyalgia feel better, although how exactly it does this is not entirely known by medical researchers.

Fibromyalgia needs to be better understood.

Cymbalta is effective in reducing fibromyalgia pain in many clinical trials, both in patients who also had depression and those who did not. Studies have also demonstrated that the drug retains its efficacy for at least one year.

The researchers have yet to fully understand the specific mechanism of action of this medication.

On the other hand, previous research revealed that it reduced pain signals caused by nerve injury on their own (neuropathy).

Neuropathy in the tiny nerves close to your skin's surface is one possible explanation for the pain associated with fibromyalgia.

If what you say is correct, then perhaps this explains why we find Cymbalta helpful in managing our pain.

In that trial, Cymbalta was shown to be effective in reducing hyperalgesia and allodynia, two distinct forms of pain associated with fibromyalgia.

Allodynia is when a person experiences pain due to stimuli that would not typically be considered painful, such as mild pressure. Meanwhile, hyperalgesia is a condition in which a person experiences an increase in pain intensity.

Cymbalta Dosage for Fibromyalgia

Take 60 milligrams of Cymbalta at one time, as directed, daily. In most cases, the dosage begins at 30 milligrams per day and subsequently rises to 60 milligrams after roughly a week.

It is not expected that doses more significant than this will be more helpful in treating fibromyalgia, and such doses are linked with a higher risk of adverse effects.

It is not safe to stop taking this medication all of a sudden; therefore, patients who wish to do so should consult with their GPs about the safest and most effective approach to go off of it gradually.

Your healthcare professional can also assist you in reducing the severity of the withdrawal symptoms you are experiencing.

Side Effects

The following are the adverse reactions of Cymbalta that are seen most frequently:

  • Constipation
  • Xerostomia (dry mouth)
  • Nausea

Other possible adverse effects include the following:

  • A diminished capacity for hunger (may include anorexia)
  • Reduced sexual desire or urges
  • Lack of wakefulness or drowsiness
  • An increase in perspiration
  • Jitters, anxiousness, or restlessness (agitation)
  • Hesitancy in the urinary tract

When you initially start taking Cymbalta or if your dose is increased, you may have feelings of dizziness when standing up. This condition is referred to as orthostatic hypotension and occurs because of a reduction in blood pressure; while you are on Cymbalta, your GP may want to check your blood pressure regularly just to be safe.

To alleviate the symptoms of fibromyalgia, antidepressants such duloxetine (Cymbalta) and milnacipran (Savella) are sometimes used.

To alleviate the symptoms of fibromyalgia, antidepressants such duloxetine (Cymbalta) and milnacipran (Savella) are sometimes used.

Serious Side Effects

Suicidal ideation and conduct have been linked to Cymbalta and other antidepressants in young adults.

Therefore, your GP will keep a careful eye on you after putting you on Cymbalta to ensure you don't develop any new or worsening symptoms of depression or suicidal ideation.

Reduced blood sodium levels (hyponatremia) can be fatal, and Cymbalta has been linked to this side effect. This problem is more common in the elderly, especially those who take diuretics (often known as "water pills").

Headaches, confusion, and weakness are only some symptoms of hyponatremia, which can also induce fainting, seizures, coma, and death in extreme situations.

Taking Cymbalta has been linked to liver damage in some people. There have been extremely rare instances of this causing liver failure and death.

If you use Cymbalta and experience any of the following side effects, please consult your GP or pharmacist right away:

  • Fertile urination, dark in color
  • Itching
  • Upper right abdominal pain
  • Abnormal flu-like symptoms
  • Skin or eyes that are yellow (jaundice)

The Bottom Line

Talk to your GP or specialist about trying Cymbalta if you are interested.

Be sure to seriously consider both the benefits and drawbacks, as well as any potential adverse interactions with any medications you are now taking.

When taking any drug, you should always list the potential adverse effects on hand.

You should probably let individuals close to you know about any significant adverse effects, such as seizures, loss of contact with reality, or suicidal thoughts, so they know what is occurring and if they must intervene.

This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2022 Dr apt MT Ghozali

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