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Cymbalta's Side Effects on Sleeping

author image Bryan Myers
Tomas Linnaeus is a psychologist, scientist and activist. Extensively trained in neuroscience, he has been published in professional journals like "Physiology and Behavior," "Journal of Sleep Research" and "Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews." Linnaeus has been writing for over 25 years and received a doctoral degree in psychology from Bowling Green State University.
Cymbalta's Side Effects on Sleeping
Cymbalta is useful for "stress" disorders, but it affects sleep quality.

Duloxetine is a drug made by the Eli Lily company. It is sold under the trade name of Cymbalta. According to a summary published in the journal "Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics," duloxetine may be useful in several medical conditions. These disorders include depression, anxiety and pain. Cymbalta is a safe and effective medication. Yet it can change both sleep quality and sleep quantity. The effects of duloxetine on sleep depend upon the population tested.

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Delayed REM

A 2004 study in "Psychopharmacology" shows that 60 or 80 mg of duloxetine taken for a week increased the length of time it takes for a person to reach rapid eye movement, or REM, sleep. Both doses also decreased the amount of REM sleep, a stage of sleep that has positive effects on alertness, mood and memory.

Decreased Depression

Cymbalta is typically prescribed to treat major depressive disorder. A 2007 report in "European Neuropsychopharmacology" indicates that a few weeks of duloxetine use decreases feelings of depression. Depression is often associated with excessive REM sleep, therefore medications such as Cymbalta that suppress REM sleep typically improve depressive symptoms.

Reduced Anxiety

Duloxetine has also been approved for use in generalized anxiety disorder. A 2008 experiment in "Depression and Anxiety" tested the effects of several weeks of treatment with amounts ranging from 60 to 120mg. The drug reduced anxiety and increased life quality. Yet many people stopped taking Cymbalta because of side effects, one of the most common of which was excessive sleepiness. This effect may be related to the large doses used.

Pain Relief

Cymbalta is proving useful in pain disorders such as fibromyalgia, migraine and other conditions. Diabetic patients often have damage to the nerves leading to the brain and spinal cord. This damage causes considerable pain which is difficult to manage. A 2009 analysis in the "Journal of Pain and Symptom Management" reveals that 60mg of duloxetine taken daily for a few months decreased pain. The treatment also increased sleep quality. Reduction in pain and enhancement of sleep were shown to be related. These results suggest that chronic pain causes sleep interference, and that Cymbalta is effective for both problems.

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