The Effectiveness Of Cymbalta In Treating OCD

If you suffer from mood disorders or obsessive-compulsive disorder¹ (OCD), your doctor may prescribe particular anti-depressants to help you cope with symptoms such as anxiety. One of the frequently prescribed medications for OCD is Cymbalta (duloxetine).²

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We make it easy for you to participate in a clinical trial for Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and get access to the latest treatments not yet widely available - and be a part of finding a cure.

What is Cymbalta used for?

Cymbalta belongs to a category called serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).³ Your doctor may prescribe the use of an SNRI for mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder.

It may also be prescribed to manage OCD, post-traumatic stress disorder, and pain management under some circumstances, such as chronic fatigue syndrome.

How does Cymbalta work?

Cymbalta works by restoring balance to neurotransmitters, chemical messengers passing messages throughout the brain and facilitating certain bodily functions. 

Some research⁴ has found that there is an association between the presence of mood disorders and neurotransmitter imbalances. Cymbalta brings back balance to serotonin and norepinephrine hormones, which are active in the onset of panic disorder.

Norepinephrine activates the fight-or-flight response when one is anxious, while serotonin regulates several functions, including sleep and mood.

Generally, Cymbalta restores the balance between the two neurotransmitters by preventing the brain cells from absorbing them quickly.

What are the side effects of Cymbalta?

Like other medications, Cymbalta usage may be accompanied by side effects. Here are some of them:

  • Sweating

  • Dizziness

  • Decreased appetite

  • Increased nervousness

  • Dry mouth

  • Drowsiness and fatigue

  • Diarrhea

  • Insomnia

  • Tremor

  • Headaches

  • Constipation

  • Difficulty urinating

  • Upset stomach or abdominal pain

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Weakness

Often, your Cymbalta use may not lead to any side effects. However, it is best to consult your doctor if you observe any of the above effects.

How long does it take for Cymbalta to work?

Cymbalta may not work on your symptoms immediately. Therefore, it is best to continue taking the medication and follow your doctor’s advice. It may take a few weeks to realize the medication’s effectiveness..

What are the withdrawal symptoms of Cymbalta?

You may experience uncomfortable effects if you suddenly stop taking Cymbalta. Some withdrawal symptoms associated with it include:

  • Stomach upset

  • Dizziness

  • Vomiting

  • Swelling of the tongue

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Rash

  • Hives

What are the risks associated with the use of Cymbalta?

It is important to understand potential risks before taking any medication. With Cymbalta, 

some common risks of taking it may include the following and its contributing factors:

Suicidal thoughts and actions

The US Food and Administration (FDA) requires black box warnings⁵ to be placed on SNRIs and antidepressants. A black box warning is issued on foods and medications that could increase the risk of suicidal thoughts among users.

Your doctor will offer you advice and precautions on using the medication, especially among children and teens.


Your doctor may require you to quit using alcohol when taking Cymbalta. Alcohol usage may increase anxiety, thereby limiting the effectiveness of the medication.

Risks brought on by other medications

It is important to tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking or planning to take. This will help them establish any risks associated with the interaction between Cymbalta and the substance in question. This disclosure should include supplements, vitamins, and herbal products.

Cymbalta with special populations

  • Expecting mothers: Your doctor may not prescribe Cymbalta if you are pregnant or nursing because you may pass the medication to the child.

  • Older adults: Elderly persons should only use Cymbalta if their doctor decides it is safe to do so, given that this age group could be at a higher risk of experiencing side effects.

The lowdown

These are just some of the information you need to know about using Cymbalta to treat OCD. However, you should not discount the role of professional advice in understanding issues such as side effects, proper dosage, and contraindications. Consult your doctor when you notice side effects after using the medication. 

Like other SNRIs, ‌get a prescription from your doctor before using Cymbalta. The doctor will also measure its effectiveness and managing potential risks.

Overall, the effectiveness of Cymbalta depends on the individual and other factors. Your doctor will likely prescribe it after considering numerous factors, including other medications you may be using. The drug may not be recommended among groups such as expectant mothers, children, and older adults. Follow your doctor’s advice to understand whether the medication works for you.

Have you considered clinical trials for Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)?

We make it easy for you to participate in a clinical trial for Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and get access to the latest treatments not yet widely available - and be a part of finding a cure.

Discover which clinical trials you are eligible for

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