Cymbalta: How quickly does is it work?

Question: How quickly does Cymbalta start working – relative to other antidepressants?

— M.F.

Answer: Some effects of Cymbalta may start within the 1st 2-3 days (it especially helps with chronic pain and possibly insomnia or anxiety). The antidepressant effects and most of the anti-anxiety effects usually take 2 weeks to begin. Typically this is 2 weeks from the time you start an effective dose (30-60 mg in most people, but occasionally 60-120 mg per day).
For antidepressants, the rate of onset of benefit seems to indirectly correlate with protein binding (i.e., the lower the binding, the higher the percent that crosses the blood-brain barrier). On this basis the relative order of speed of onset from quickest to slowest is Effexor, Lexapro, Wellbutrin & Celexa, Cymbalta, Paxil & Prozac, and Zoloft.
Faster rate of onset can also be associated with increased risk for side-effects in the 1st 2-3 days, but most of these dimminish or go away within the 2 weeks.

FAQs: How Meds Work

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