I have been using Cymbalta for approximately the last 11 years to help patients with their depression. It is an SNRI, meaning it increases both the Serotonin and Norepinephrine levels between neuronal synapses in the brain.
Cymbalta is a great antidepressant because it is approved to treat many different conditions including Fibromyalgia, Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy, along with Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Because of its multiple uses, it has many benefits because we can use one medication to treat many conditions at once.
Let me explain. Since Cymbalta increases Norephinephrine in equal strength that it increases Serotonin, it is that increase in Norephinephrine that we think gives it its pain relieving effects. Because many people with depression also have pain symptoms accompanying their other depressive symptoms, Cymbalta definitely have a niche in my practice; and I reach for it often. It is this increase in Norephinephrine that can also lead to a few millimeters mercury in patients’ blood pressure readings, therefore, we do check patients’ blood pressure readings from time to time while taking it, and to make sure it isn’t too high. It is rarely the case that this is a problem.
I know of a patient who is willing to give his feedback of his experience with Cymbalta. I thought that it would be interesting for you to know what he had to say.
Some Patients Receive Relief From Pain, Anxiety, and Depression
My patient told me the following: He was suffering from back pain (A vertebrae slippage of 25%) and didn’t sleep well, he would wake up 4 times a night to urinate and his mood and outlook on life was getting bad over the past few months. He also took a benzodiazepine as needed for anxiety that he has taken for many years.
After the first 2 weeks, he had noticed that his pain was subsiding and he was sleeping better. By the 3rd week, he had noticed that he was not suffering from frequent urination as he has struggled with for years, he now only wakes up 1 time during the night to use the bathroom. Frequent urination is a symptom of anxiety. By the 4th week, he told me that the pain has gone from a 10 most of the day to a 0 (10/10 being the worst pain level); and he only needs to take half of his pain medication late in the day. Hopefully by the 6th week, he will be able to wean himself off of his pain medications completely, with the aid of his pain specialist. Cymbalta usually takes 4 to 6 weeks to show its full effect. Sometimes, it is helpful also to increase the dose to its maximum, especially, in patients with severe pain syndromes.
What excited my patient the most was that he felt like he used to 20 years ago. He said for the past 15 years it took him until noon to fully wake up and his energy was very low. Now, he gets up in the morning and “Shakes the lead out of his pants” in 20 minutes and is fully functioning and in great spirits with the energy he had 20 years ago. He explained this phenomenon in terms of aging and energy levels. He said as he hit his 40’s his average day was like his worst day in his 30’s; and in his 50’s every morning was a struggle to wake up, feel energetic, and ready to tackle the day – this is all gone now! He has also noticed his mood and thoughts are more positive, despite his circumstances “And what life throws at him” and that he has a “New lease on life”. I might add that this patient also felt that the bags under his eyes have gone down, which is very pleasing to him.
This is a text book example of how many patients come to me and don’t even know the extent to which their anxiety is affecting them and even how some patients can be depressed and not even know it or realize the severity of their symptoms. My patient told me that he is an expert “Stuffer” and can lie to himself about how he feels and keep his mood up most of the time. But if someone is depressed, it can manifest in ways other than just mood issues such as pain and low energy levels – just to mention a few. Also, my patient was unaware that his frequent urination (polyuria) was even a symptom of anxiety until it went away. He did not perceive it as being abnormal, although it was a bother to him. Statistics show us that women suffer from depression more than men by 50%. Could it be that most men are good “grinning and bearing it” and minimizing their symptoms as “just having toughen up and keep moving” while women are more open to seek medical or psychological help?
this article is for informational purposes and not intended for diagnosis or treatment