Cymbalta Cardiac Complications

Heart of paper with cardiogram line and stethoscope
Stethoscope and an electrocardiogram on a heart. (Image: ratmaner/iStock/Getty Images)

Cymbalta (duloxetine) is a drug prescribed to manage general anxiety disorder and major depression. According to Drugs.com, Cymbalta is an antidepressant medication that belongs to the class of medicines called selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors. Specifically, Cymbalta alters the levels of your brain chemicals to prevent your from experiencing anxiety and depression. Tachycardia, palpitations and arrythmias are Cymbalta's cardiac complications.

Palpitations

Palpitations refer to a pounding heartbeat. The Mayo Clinic says stress, exercise, medications, hormonal changes and anxiety can all trigger palpitations. Specific symptoms include a fluttering feeling in your chest and skipped heartbeats. Palpitations also involve such manifestations as fainting, trouble breathing, chest pain and dizziness. Fainting occurs when your blood circulation bottoms out. Your blood pressure becomes so low that it can't supply any blood to your brain. Heart failure, a stroke and cardiac arrest (when the heart stops beating) can occur if palpitations don't resolve. Typically, discontinuing Cymbalta may reduce the frequency of your palpitations.

Arrythmia

A heart arrythmia refers to a condition in which your heart beats irregularly. The Mayo Clinic says arrythmia symptoms are similar to the manifestations of palpitations. They include a fast or slow heartbeat, chest pain, dizziness, fainting, shortness of breath and chest pain. Medications such as Cymbalta, smoking, high blood pressure, dietary supplements and herbs can all put you at risk for an arrythmia. If you experience these symptoms, contact your physician to taper your Cymbalta. Eventually, your doctor should switch you to another medication.

Tachycardia

Tachycardia refers to a rapid heartbeat. The Mayo Clinic indicates that tachycardia symptoms include a rapid pulse, chest pain, lightheadedness, heart palpitations, dizziness and trouble breathing. The following are types of tachycardia: atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, supraventricular tachycardia, ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation. All of these tachycardia types affect the electrical conduction system in your heart. Blood clots, fainting spells, heart failure and sudden death may occur if the cause isn't removed. In this case, Cymbalta must be discontinued if tachycardia lasts for more than one to two weeks.

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