How can I better manage the side effects (e.g. headaches, restlessness) of anxiety medications such as Lorazepam and Cymbalta?

Doctor's Answers 1

Managing Cymbalta's side effects

Cymbalta (Duloxetine) belongs to the family of drugs called SNRI (Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors). It is used to treat depressive disorders, various types of anxiety disorders, chronic pain, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.

After taking the medicine, you may experience:

  • Nausea,
  • Dry mouth,
  • Constipation,
  • Loss of appetite,
  • Tiredness,
  • Drowsiness,
  • or increased sweating.

For most people, the nausea is mild to moderate and usually subsides within one to two weeks. The nausea can be minimised by taking the antidepressant after food, rather with an empty stomach.

Other common side effects include (listed in order of frequency):

  • Constipation,
  • Decreased appetite,
  • Dizziness,
  • Dry mouth,
  • Fatigue,
  • Increased sweating,
  • Loss of strength or energy,
  • Sleepiness.

If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor promptly.

Dizziness or lightheadedness may occur, especially when you first start or increase your dose of this drug. If you have headaches, you can try taking analgesics to relieve the headaches, consider the option of going slow, e.g. to take the antidepressant on alternate days, and then gradually increasing it to once a day; and also discuss with your doctor if another medicine can be tried instead.

Managing Lorazepam's side effects

Lorazepam belongs to a group of drugs called benzodiazepines. It affects chemicals in the brain that may be unbalanced in people with anxiety. It is used to treat anxiety disorders and seizure disorders.

Side effects of lorazepam include:

  • severe drowsiness
  • thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself
  • unusual changes in mood or behaviour
  • worsened sleep problems
  • sudden restless feeling or excitement
  • muscle weakness
  • drooping eyelids

Do let your treating doctor know about the side effects of the medicine. It is possible to adjust the dosage or switch to another medicine if you find the side effects unbearable.

Additional ways you can manage your anxiety

If you feel anxious, you can also try practising relaxation techniques like progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, and going for a long walk or listening to your favourite songs to help you calm down.

Similar Questions

How are sinus headaches differentiated from other headaches?

Headaches can be pretty painful and can really affect your husband’s quality of life! Before we assume though that sinus problems are causing his headaches, we would usually take a detailed history to find out the location and pattern of the headaches as well as other associated symptoms like blocked or runny nose, colour of his nasal discharge, any nausea or vomiting, vision problems. For example, headaches which are more likely to be due to sinus problems may occur over the forehead, between the eyes, over the cheeks.

Photo of Dr Annabelle Leong

Answered By

Dr Annabelle Leong

ENT Doctor

Do I require a prescription for anxiety medications?

Thank you for posing such an interesting question. Many patients at my clinic have asked me this question before. For anxiety disorders, the commonly used medications that are useful include SSRIs (serotonin specific reuptake inhibitors) and benzodiazepines. For SSRIs, there are some side effects that patients may experience, for example, nausea, vomiting, loose stools, restlessness, insomnia, and others. For benzodiazepines, there are potential side effects too, like sleepiness and oversedation. These medicines need to be prescribed by a doctor.

Photo of Dr Beng Yeong Ng

Answered By

Dr Beng Yeong Ng


Ask any health question for free

I’m not so sure about a procedure...

Ask Icon Ask a Question

Join Human

Sign up now for a free Human account to get answers from specialists in Singapore.

Sign Up

Get The Pill

Be healthier with our Bite-sized health news straight in your inbox