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Can Cymbalta Help With Menopause Symptoms

Treating Menopause: Beyond Hormone Replacement Therapy

5 serious menopause symptoms you shouldnt ignore

Want to avoid hormone replacement therapy? Find out about other drugs that have shown promise in treating menopause symptoms.

Ever since results from the Womens Health Initiative study raised safety concerns about the side effects of estrogen and combination hormone replacement therapy , many women have been looking for alternative ways to treat their menopause symptoms.

The good news is that a lot of women are finding some relief with non-HRT menopause treatments for symptoms such as hot flashes, problems sleeping, vaginal dryness, depression, and mood swings.

Beyond Estrogen: Other Options for Menopause Symptom Relief

Simple changes like eating right, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly are probably the best non-hormonal treatments for keeping menopause symptoms at a manageable level. However, when lifestyle changes arent enough, some prescription medications such as antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, and blood pressure medications have shown promise as menopause treatments for symptoms such as mood swings and hot flashes, says Wendy Klein, MD, director of education at the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Womens Health and associate professor emeritus of internal medicine, obstetrics, and gynecology at VCU School of Medicine.

Heres a look at common menopause symptoms and non-hormonal therapies that may work to alleviate them.

Help for Hot Flashes

Easing Vaginal Dryness

Promoting Better Sleep

Other options to try include:

Dosage For Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain

The recommended Cymbalta dose for treating chronic musculoskeletal pain* in adults is 60 mg once daily.

Youll start by taking 30 mg once daily for a week. Then, assuming you respond well to the drug, your doctor will increase your dose to 60 mg once daily. Doses above 60 mg arent recommended for treating this condition.

* With chronic musculoskeletal pain, you have ongoing pain in your bones, muscles, ligaments, nerves, and tendons.

Anxiety Medication Overview Of Cymbalta

Although best known for treating major depressive disorder, Cymbalta is also a proven and effective treatment for generalized anxiety disorder. In fact, Cymbalta has been shown to positively affect many of the core and peripheral symptoms of generalized anxiety, as well as some of the physical manifestations of the disease.

Characterized by exaggerated worry or chronic anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder is one of the most frequently diagnosed mental disorders in the country, at a rate of nearly four million new cases each year in the US alone. In addition to behavioral symptoms like procrastination or the inability to concentrate, the disease can cause physical pain, nausea, and muscle fatigue. By definition, these symptoms last longer than six months and may increase or decrease in severity over time.

Cymbalta operates by interfering with the metabolism of serotonin and norepinephrine, two neurotransmitters which mediate not only the psychological symptoms of anxiety but the chemical reactions which underpin the perception of pain. The exact means by which the drug effects emotional change remains unclear, but it is commonly believed that Cymbalta’s ability to trigger the heightened activity of these and other neurotransmitters is responsible for the improvement in mood.

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Misuse Withdrawal And Dependence

Cymbalta can cause withdrawal if treatment is stopped abruptly.

Withdrawal symptoms of Cymbalta can include:

  • fatigue
  • nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea

Counsel Cymbalta users that treatment should not be stopped without talking with their prescriber. Cymbalta should be gradually tapered to avoid discontinuation syndrome.

If someone experiences withdrawal symptoms during their Cymbalta taper, consider returning to the previously prescribed dose. Once withdrawal symptoms subside, the taper can be continued at a more gradual rate.

Hot Flashes And Night Sweats


Senior Care Consultant Pharmacist andPresident of MZ Associates, Inc.Norwich, New YorkRecipient of the Excellence in Geriatric PharmacyPractice Award from the Commission for Certification in Geriatric Pharmacy

US Pharm. 2010 35:20-24.

As many as 85% of perimenopausal women experience hot flashes , night sweats, and/or sleep disturbances secondary to vasomotor instability.1 Hot flashes are the most frequent symptoms of perimenopause and menopause, and almost all women report hot flashes with induced menopause or premature menopause .2,3 Hot flashes also occur after the discontinuation of exogenous estrogen .4

Sleep disturbances are often a complication of hot flashes. Nocturnal hot flashes, or night sweats, disrupt sleep and, if recurrent, may contribute to insomnia.10 These sleep disturbances can eventually lead to fatigue, irritability, poor concentration, memory problems, anxiety, and depression a decreased quality of life may be secondary to these symptoms.10 If hot flashes become especially disruptive to daily routines, pharmacists can recommend that patients discuss appropriate treatment options with their health care provider.10

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Cymbalta For Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain

Cymbalta is FDA-approved to treat chronic musculoskeletal pain. This refers to pain in the bones, muscles, ligaments, nerves, and tendons. Chronic pain is pain that lasts for more than 3 to 6 months.

It isnt known how Cymbalta works to treat chronic musculoskeletal pain.

Effectiveness for chronic musculoskeletal pain

Clinical studies have shown Cymbalta to be effective for treating chronic musculoskeletal pain. These studies involved adults with chronic low back pain or chronic pain caused by osteoarthritis .

In one study, adults with chronic low back pain took either Cymbalta or a placebo every day for 13 weeks. Before the study, people rated their pain on a scale of 0 to 10 . The researchers had people rate their pain again at the end of the study.

The results showed that:

  • nearly 45% of people who took Cymbalta had at least a 30% reduction in their pain score
  • about 30% of people who took a placebo had at least a 30% reduction in their pain score

What Are Treatment Options If You Have A Lower Sex Drive During Perimenopause

If you do experience a loss in libido and are unhappy about it, there are some things you can do to help. Experts recommend asking your doctor about Hormone Replacement Therapy, using over-the-counter lubricants, exercising to improve your mood and self-esteem, communicating with your partner to let them know what youre going through, and, whether you have a partner or not, changing things up.

Perimenopause and menopause are natural stages of life, but they can be challenging ones as well. Its nice to know that along with hot flashes, mood swings, and insomnia, some perimenopausal women are finding that their sex drives are skyrocketing, and that they are experiencing magic. Heres hoping you are one of these women and if not, that you get the help you need to turn up the heat!

This article was written by Kelly Dwyer, a published novelist, playwright, and freelance writer.

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Things Everyone Experiencing Medically

For most people who get periods, menopause may seem like a far-off cloud on the horizon an unpleasant experience we all know well go through someday, but until then, its easier not to think too hard about it.

Menopause is the term for the time when your body starts producing less estrogen, which causes you to stop menstruating. It usually starts in your 40s or 50s. If you have an illness that affects your reproductive organs, however, your treatment might cause menopause earlier than normal. This process is called medication-induced menopause , and it can be a confusing, frustrating experience, made more difficult by the fact that it piggybacks on top of your other medical issues.

There are a few ways medical treatment could induce menopause. One way is to have surgery to remove your ovaries, which is called oophorectomy. If both your ovaries are removed, you will enter menopause. Or, you could undergo treatment that prevents your ovaries from working correctly and producing estrogen, thus stopping you from ovulating and having a period.

Some reasons for either of these scenarios could be:

Deciding to undergo treatment-induced menopause can be a scary experience, and fill you with more questions than answers. We spoke to Leena Nathan, an OB/GYN at UCLA, to answer some of the most common questions you might have about surgical or medication-induced menopause.

Can Cymbalta Be Crushed Split Or Chewed

5 natural remedies for common menopause symptoms

No, you shouldnt crush, split, or chew Cymbalta capsules. You also shouldnt open the capsules to mix them with food or liquids. Doing so may affect how well your body absorbs the drug. This could raise your risk for side effects or make the drug less effective.

Using more than the recommended dosage of Cymbalta can lead to serious side effects.

Do not use more Cymbalta than your doctor recommends.

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Are The Symptoms Of Treatment

Unfortunately, you can expect to experience the same symptoms youve heard older women going through menopause talk about. Even though your menopause is medically-induced, you are still experiencing the same hormone drops that other women in menopause are experiencing. These symptoms can include:

  • Hot flashes, redness and sweating
  • Irritability and mood changes

How Long Does It Take To Work

Cymbalta begins working as soon as you take your dose. It takes about 3 days for levels of the drug to become stable in your body. Depending on the condition its being used to treat, it may take longer than this before you notice the full effects of the drug.

For example, in clinical trials, some adults with pain caused by diabetic neuropathy , as well as some adults with fibromyalgia, noticed improvement within 1 week of starting the drug.

However, the National Alliance on Mental Illness notes that full improvement of depression symptoms may take up to 8 weeks.

If you have questions about how Cymbalta works, or how long it takes to work, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

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Treating Your Depression And Nerve Pain With Cymbalta

Steven Gans, MD, is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Nerve pain a side effect of HIV medications and the infection itself can be treated with duloxetine , a common antidepressant. This offers a great benefit to people infected with HIV, as both nerve pain, or peripheral neuropathy, and depression are common ailments.

In addition, people with HIV have the burden of taking lots of medications now their pain and low mood can potentially be treated with just one medication, a huge bonus.

Antidepressant Effexor Good Choice For Older Women

Petition · Full disclosure of the withdrawal and ...

Aug. 7, 2001 — What do you give the menopausal depressed woman who’s tried everything? Effexor, according to a study presented recently at the World Assembly for Mental Health in Vancouver.

Effexor, an antidepressant that acts on two different brain chemicals, appears to be particularly helpful for middle-aged or older women, say researchers, who designed a study to compare the drug to the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Also known as SSRIs, this class of very commonly prescribed antidepressants includes Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft. Effexor appeared to be more effective than SSRIs in both older and younger women — but especially so in older women.

It’s important that patients get completely better when you treat depression, not that they just get some response to the antidepressant, says Alan Lipshitz, MD, director of clinical affairs, neuroscience, at Wyeth-Ayerst Pharmaceutical, the company that makes Effexor and funded the research. In a group of women aged 50 and over, who were not taking estrogen replacement, venlafaxine was found to be better than both SSRIs and placebo at making women feel better, he says.

This research suggests that Effexor, which works on two brain chemicals, serotonin and norepinephrine, may be more effective at making someone better that the SSRIs, which work on serotonin only.

SSRIs are considered very good antidepressants for all people, including women, says Vivien K. Burt, MD, PhD.

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Does Cymbalta Make You Sleepy

Its possible that youll feel sleepy while taking Cymbalta. This was one of the more common side effects of the drug in clinical studies. In the studies:

  • 10% of people who took Cymbalta reported feeling sleepy
  • 3% of people who took a placebo reported feeling sleepy

Because Cymbalta can cause sleepiness, its important to use caution or avoid driving or and operating machinery until you know how the drug will affect you.

If you have questions about side effects from Cymbalta, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. You can also learn more in the Cymbalta side effects section above.

You may wonder how Cymbalta compares with other medications that are prescribed for similar uses. Here we look at how Cymbalta and Lexapro are alike and different.

Fda Warning: Suicidal Thoughts And Behaviors

This drug has a boxed warning . This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration . A boxed warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Clinical studies have shown antidepressants such as Cymbalta increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in children and young adults ages 24 years or younger. In people ages 65 and older, antidepressants can actually reduce this risk.

During your treatment, you should watch closely for any new or sudden changes in your behavior, feelings, moods, or thoughts. Also ask your family members, caregivers, and healthcare providers to look for changes in your behavior or moods. Call your doctor right away if you or someone else notices any changes.

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Can You Have A Higher Sex Drive During Menopause

Menopause is defined by a womans not having had her period for 12 consecutive months, and the average age at which menopause occurs is 52.

Perimenopause is the time before menopause , when the body begins to make less estrogen, and women may begin to experience symptoms such as irregular periods, hot flashes, mood swings, insomnia, and changes in libido.

Most women who experience these changes see a decrease in their sex drive, but some women do experience an increase. According to Barb DePree, M.D., a menopause care specialist and author of the blog MiddlesexMD, testosterone is the hormone that is linked to libido for women as well as men. In women, testosterone levels slowly drop, so that a 50-year-old woman has about half the testosterone levels she had at 25.

Testosterone interacts with other hormones, and Dr. DePree believes that an increase in libido in some perimenopausal women could be due to the relative balance and interaction of these hormonesthat for some women works very favorably during perimenopause. Relatively speaking, testosterone may have some dominance, even though the levels are lower than they used to be. Enjoy!

Is This Increase In Sex Drive Normal

All About Perimenopause – Symptoms, Diet, Weight Loss and More!

And among my acquaintanceship, there are quite a few women who are indeed enjoying this symptom during this time in their lives. Lynn from Arlington, VA, for example, is 49, and while she has some traditional symptoms of perimenopause, such as irregular periods and night sweats, shes also experienced an increase in her sex drive for the last few years. Jordan, 43, from San Jose, CA, experienced a decrease in libido a few years ago, but recently, as other perimenopause symptoms have kicked in, shes definitely seen an upsurge in her libido.

Journalist and adventurist Jill Gleeson is 51 and hasnt had a period in about a year she says that since becoming perimenopausal, her sex drive, while always high, has skyrocketed. What Nina has found is that the swings are higher. For example, the week before her period, she says she has no interest in sex at all, but in the days before her period, shes insatiable! This surge in desire lasts for about three days every cycle. Ive always enjoyed sex and had ebb and flow of desire, but this is crazy!

This explanation of increased libido coming with a drop in fertility and a lessened fear of pregnancy makes sense: after all, the largest sexual organ in the body is the brain.

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Are There Fda Guidelines On Stopping Cymbalta

The FDA does not have any guidelines for how to come off Duloxetine safely. It is unfortunate, as it means that there is not much research into weaning off Cymbalta successfully, and most doctors are working without the correct guidance. All the FDA suggests is that stopping be gradual and monitored by a doctor.

Duloxetine And Liver Damage

Among the most well-known Duloxetine side effects is its propensity to cause liver damage. The connection between Cymbalta and liver problems is a significant issue that poses a threat to many patients. The drug can cause fatty liver disease and liver injury. Even low Cymbalta doses can result in liver damage, especially in combination with other medications. The 2011 study included seven patients that were suspected of having Duloxetine hepatotoxicity. It was found that almost all of the patients showed varying extents of liver damage after taking the drug for over two months.

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Where Can I Find Support For Managing Pmdd

Living with PMDD can feel overwhelming at times and have a significant impact on your daily life. But awareness about premenstrual disorders is growing. And in response, new resources are popping up that can help you connect with others and learn more about the condition.

  • In addition to the provider directory mentioned earlier, IAPMD offers a range of other resources as well. These include symptom tracking sheets, informational pamphlets you can share with loved ones, online support group listings, and more.
  • Me v PMDD is a free app that lets you track both your symptoms and treatments. The company also has a blog that frequently shares stories from real people living with PMDD.

Treatment Of High Blood Pressure During Menopause

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For many midlife women, treating the underlying cause of high blood pressure during menopause means addressing the hormonal imbalance at fault.

Pre- and postmenopausal women should pursue menopause symptoms treatments that highlight many of the lifestyle adjustments mentioned in the management section, all of which will foster endocrine system health. They should also enrich their diets with phytoestrogens, plant-based estrogens that fill in the hormonal gap.

For improved results, women suffering from the symptoms of menopause and high blood pressure are urged to use alternative medicine. The two acclaimed to promote hormonal balance the most include phytoestrogenic herbal supplements and hormone-regulating supplements.

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