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Does Cymbalta Cause Memory Loss

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Drugs That Cause Memory Loss

Preventing Memory Loss

Last updated October 13, 2021.Edited and medically reviewed by Patrick Alban, DC. Written by Deane Alban.

There are many kinds of prescription drugs and OTC medications that cause memory loss. See if any drugs you take can cause problems and what to do about it.

According to Harvard University, prescription drugs cause over 128,000 deaths per year in the United States.

This does not count deaths in nursing homes which account for another estimated additional 350,000 deaths annually.

Adverse drug reactions are now the fourth leading cause of death in the US and the fifth leading cause of hospital death in Europe.

More emergency room visits result from prescription medications than from illicit drugs, alcohol, and recreational drug use combined.

Its very clear that medications carry significant risks and one of the most common risks is memory loss.

Medications That Block The Effects Of Acetylcholine

Among the best-recognized cognitively dangerous medications are those with anticholinergic properties. This means that the medications block the effect of acetylcholine, an important brain chemical and neurotransmitter that becomes less plentiful in the aging brain. These medications have an impact on brain cells by occupying its receptor molecules, and can help people gain relief from symptoms of insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome, or several other medical conditions. Also, many medications valued for their other effects have incidental anticholinergic properties. Among the clinically significant anticholinergic medications are medications such as tolteridine, often used to treat urinary incontinence. In addition, some antidepressants , antipsychotics, cardiac medications, antispasmodics, antivertigo medications, and antiparkinsonian medications have anticholinergic effects.

Unfortunately, the undesired consequences of anticholinergic medications can be serious. Dry mouth, dry eyes, constipation, or urinary retention may occur. The toxic effects of anticholinergic medications on the brain include confusion, memory disturbance, agitation, and even delirium.

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.

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Finding The Cause Of Memory Loss

If you find that you are increasingly forgetful or if memory problems interfere with your daily life, schedule an appointment with your doctor to determine the cause and best treatment.

To evaluate memory loss, your doctor will take a medical history, perform a physical exam — including a neurologic exam — and ask questions to test mental ability. Depending on the results, further evaluation may include blood and urine tests, nerve tests, and imaging tests of the brain such as computerized axial tomography scans or magnetic resonance imaging .

You may also be sent for neuropsychological testing, which is a battery of tests that help pinpoint the memory loss.

Cymbalta Withdrawal Symptoms9 Include:

Lyrica Cause Memory Loss
  • Paresthesia burning sensation or prickling in limbs
  • Vomiting, nausea
  • Brain zaps
  • Hyperhidrosis

In more extreme cases, serious medical issues such as seizures or damage to the liver have been reported.

If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the above symptoms due to Cymbalta withdrawal or the long-term effects of Cymbalta use, an assessment can be performed to determine what level of treatment is needed in order to begin the healing process. Do not abruptly discontinue antidepressant medication. Always seek professional guidance and oversight for withdrawal from Cymbalta or any antidepressant medication.

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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.

Cymbalta And Birth Control

Cymbalta may cause harm to a fetus. However, more research is needed in this area. If youre sexually active and you or your partner can become pregnant, talk with your doctor about your birth control needs while youre using Cymbalta.

For more information about taking Cymbalta during pregnancy, see the Cymbalta and pregnancy section above.

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Lyrica And Cymbalta Can Also Cause Suicidal Thoughts And Ideations

Pharmaceutical sales representatives told doctors that these medications were safe for additional conditions than were listed on the box. They were encouraged to use what was called Pfizer Math, according to lawsuits, to persuade doctors and illustrate that their drugs were better than competitors on the market.

The increased use of Lyrica for more than the originally intended conditions meant that additional patients were experiencing unintended side effects, some of them being suicidal thoughts and ideations as well as major depressive disorder.

Prescribing off-label can be a dangerous game, especially because patients have so much trust in their doctors. White coats and stethoscopes emanate an image of absolute power. When someone is prescribed a medication that does more harm than good, or worse, ends up provoking suicidal thoughts, tracing it back to an off-label prescription can be exceedingly difficult.

Post-Accident Journal Form

The matter is still up for debate with Cymbalta, though patients are fiercely convinced that the medication causes suicidal thoughts and have brought up anecdotal evidence online, as well as legal cases in which patients committed suicide after taking the drug for only a number of months.

Many of these Cymbalta lawsuits are still in progress, and a large number of law firms accept cases for this medication. Keep reading for more on how to hire the right lawyer for your Lyrica or Cymbalta case…

Does Cymbalta Cause Memory Loss

Can Cymbalta cause fatigue?

3.9/5Memory LossmemoryCymbalta

Correspondingly, what are the long term side effects of Cymbalta?

Many people take duloxetine for long stretches of time to manage pain, major depressive disorders and generalized anxiety disorders. While loss of appetite and subsequent weight loss are common symptoms of Cymbalta, some longterm users have reported weight gain after prolonged usage of the drug.

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  • Antianxiety drugs
  • Sleeping aids

Additionally, what does Cymbalta do to the brain?

Cymbalta is in a class of medications called serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors . It works by increasing the levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine, which help regulate mood and may block pain signals traveling through the brain.

Can antidepressants cause memory loss?

Tranquilizers, antidepressants, some blood pressure drugs, and other medications can affect memory, usually by causing sedation or confusion. That can make it difficult to pay close attention to new things. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you suspect that a new medication is taking the edge off your memory.

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Lyrica And Cymbalta Medications May Cause Memory Loss

When a medication is mentioned by the AARP as something that causes memory loss, youll want to pay attention, folks.

Antiseizure drugs and antidepressants interfere with the part of the brain that stores memories. With Lyrica, an antiseizure drug, the medication works by dampening the flow of signals through the Central Nervous System. Anything that interferes with the CNS will also interfere with memory.

With Cymbalta, an antidepressant, approximately 35% of adults had difficulty remembering things and 54% had difficulty concentrating. This happens because antidepressants block serotonin and norepinephrine, which are two of the brains most important chemical messengers.

Withdrawal Effects Can Be Severe

Withdrawal effects vary individually. Some experts estimate roughly 50% of people discontinuing Cymbalta will have withdrawal symptoms.

Minor withdrawal symptoms include nausea, headache and dizziness. Severe symptoms include seizures, nightmares and electrical shock sensations .

These effects can last for weeks, and may force some people to restart therapy before a more gradual discontinuation. The FDA instructed Eli Lilly to be more transparent in their delivery of benefits vs. risks for Cymbalta and to recommend a protocol for stopping Cymbalta.

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Misuse Withdrawal And Dependence

Is Lyrica Similar To Cymbalta

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.

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Common Cymbalta Side Effects

The severity of Duloxetine side effects and for how long they last depend on many individual factors. In an otherwise healthy person who uses Duloxetine for depression disorder treatment, the reactions are generally short-term. Some patients have an increased risk of side effects of Duloxetine than others, depending on their body composition. That aside, there have been some Cymbalta side effects on womens health and sexual adverse reactions. There is discretion advised for Duloxetine and breastfeeding and taking it as a treatment during pregnancy. Expectant mothers and new mothers are advised to discuss using the drug with their medical health professional or the physician in charge of their treatment before taking the first dose.

Common Cymbalta Side Effects Include:

  • Nausea
  • Discontinuation syndrome and Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms
  • Fatigue

Duloxetine May Interact With Other Medications

Duloxetine oral capsule can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs youre taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else youre taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Examples of drugs that can cause interactions with duloxetine are listed below.

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Side Effects Include Extreme Sweating

Hyperhidrosis is another common side effect of Cymbalta, occurring in over 7 percent of patients. Reports of soaking through T-shirts 24 hours a day, or extremely sweaty palms or feet may force treatment discontinuation in some people.

Cymbalta may also cause vision changes, a dry mouth, nausea and interact with a number of other drugs. It is also not suitable for some people with liver disease, bleeding or seizure disorders, or high blood pressure.

Anxiety And Insomnia Medications


Benzodiazepines, a class of medications used to treat anxiety or insomnia, comprise another group that has been linked with cognitive difficulties. Although these medications are truly a blessing for some individuals immobilized by anxiety, their use can be accompanied by sedation and mental slowing. A recent study even suggested that prolonged use of benzodiazepines might be a risk factor for later dementia, although experts have questioned the significance of this finding and clinicians continue to prescribe anti-anxiety medications such as lorazepam or sleeping pills such as temazepam and consider them very beneficial when used properly.

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Warnings For Other Groups

For pregnant women: This drug is a category C pregnancy drug. That means two things:

  • Research in animals has shown adverse effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug.
  • There havent been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus.
  • Talk to your doctor if youre pregnant or plan to become pregnant. This drug should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

    If you take this drug during pregnancy, you can take part in a registry that monitors outcomes in women exposed to duloxetine during pregnancy. To enroll, talk to your doctor or call 1-866-814-6975.

    For women who are breastfeeding: This drug may pass into breast milk. If you take this drug while you breastfeed, your baby may have side effects of the drug. Tell your doctor if you wish to breastfeed. You may need to decide whether to breastfeed or take this drug.

    For seniors: If youre aged 65 years or older and you take this drug, you may be at a greater risk of falls due to blood pressure changes. You may also be at greater risk of low sodium in your blood. Symptoms may include:

    • headache
    • weakness or feeling unsteady
    • confusion, problems concentrating, or thinking or memory problems

    This dosage information is for duloxetine oral capsule. All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your dose, form, and how often you take it will depend on:

    Counseling Or Therapy For Cymbalta Abuse

    In addition to an integrative approach, which focuses on potential underlying issues, we always recommend seeing a counselor or therapist for support through the process of discontinuing Cymbalta. When an individual is dealing with Cymbalta withdrawal or side effects, fatigue and depression will often create a need for professional support to deal with the emotional trauma.

    Certain forms of counseling have shown to be as effective compared to the medication itself. As an example, CBT, or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, is reported as being very successful for symptoms such as anxiety and PTSD. For an individual who is having lighter symptoms and just in need of some encouragement, a life coach or therapist could help provide support in the healing process.4

    Whatever the situation, it is important that if someone wishes to discontinue Cymbalta, they need to find like-minded support.

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    What To Do If You Or Your Relative Is On These Medications

    So what should you do if you discover that your older relative or you yourself are taking some of these medications?

    If its an over-the-counter anticholinergic, you can just stop it. Allergies can be treated with non-sedating antihistamines like loratadine , or you can ask the doctor about a nasal steroid spray. PM painkillers can be replaced by the non-PM version, and remember that the safest OTC analgesic for older adults is acetaminophen .

    If you are taking an over-the-counter sleep aid, it contains a sedating antihistamine and those are strongly anticholinergic. You can just stop an OTC sleep aid, but in the short term, insomnia often gets worse. So youll need to address the insomnia with non-drug techniques.

    You should also discuss any insomnia or sleep problems with your doctors its important to rule out pain and serious medical problems as a cause of insomnia but be careful: many of them will prescribe a sleeping pill, because they havent trained in geriatrics and they under-estimate the risks of these drugs.

    If one or more of the medications above has been prescribed, dont stop without first consulting with a health professional. Youll want to make an appointment soon, to review the reasons that the medication was prescribed, alternative options for treating the problem, and then work out a plan to reduce or eliminate the drug.

    Now go check out those medication bottles, and let me know what you find!

    Potential Symptoms When Discontinuing Cymbalta

    Lyrica Loss Of Memory

    The long-term effects of Cymbalta, as well as painful side effects, are enough to make many users want to come off the medication. There are many alternatives to Cymbalta, and if used under the supervision of a licensed professional, discontinuing Cymbalta safely is possible. However, Cymbalta withdrawal is known to be a difficult process, and while it does not affect every person who attempts to stop taking Cymbalta, many users will experience Cymbalta Discontinuation Syndrome.5

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    Dosage For Generalized Anxiety Disorder

    Adult dosage

    • Typical starting dosage: 3060 mg per day.
    • Typical maintenance dosage: 60 mg per day.
    • Maximum dosage: 120 mg per day.

    Child dosage

    • Typical starting dosage: 30 mg per day for 2 weeks.
    • Typical maintenance dosage: 3060 mg per day.
    • Maximum dosage: 120 mg per day.

    Child dosage

    Dosage for people younger than 7 years hasnt been established.

    Senior dosage

    • Typical starting dosage: 30 mg per day for 2 weeks.
    • Typical maintenance dosage: 60 mg per day.
    • Maximum dosage: 120 mg per day.

    A Fifth Type Of Medication That Affects Brain Function

    Opiate pain medications. Unlike the other drugs mentioned above, opiates are not on the Beers list of medications that older adults should avoid. That said, they do seem to dampen thinking abilities a bit, even in long-term users. As far as I know, opiates are not thought to accelerate long-term cognitive decline.

    • Commonly prescribed opiates include hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, codeine, methadone, hydromorphone, and fentanyl.
    • Tramadol is a weaker opiate with weaker prescribing controls.
    • Many geriatricians consider it more problematic than the classic Schedule II opiates listed above, as it interacts with a lot of medications and still affects brain function. Its a dirty drug, as one of my friends likes to say.
  • Alternatives depend on what type of pain is present. Generally, if people are taking opiates then they have pain that needs to be treated. However, a thoughtful holistic approach to pain often enables a person to get by with less medication, which can improve thinking abilities.
  • For people who have moderate or severe dementia, its important to know that untreated pain can worsen their thinking. So sometimes a low dose of opiate medication does end up improving their thinking.
  • Other risks in older adults:
  • There is some risk of developing a problematic addiction, especially if theres a prior history of substance abuse. But in my experience, having someone else usually younger steal or use the drugs is a more likely problem.
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