Using Cymbalta for ADHD Treatment

In this blog post, we will look at how Cymbalta, a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI), can be used for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). We will understand ADHD and discuss how Cymbalta works. Keep reading.
Frederika Malichová

Frederika Malichová

Neuroscientist at the University Of Cambridge.

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Cymbalta For ADHD Treatment

Cymbalta is a medication primarily used to treat depression and anxiety, and not for ADHD. However, it might have the potential to help manage ADHD symptoms, particularly when individuals with ADHD are also suffering from other conditions like depression or anxiety. However, it's important to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new medication regimen.

What Is ADHD?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, is a mental health condition.

It is characterized by unusual levels of impulsivity, hyperactivity, and problems with focusing [1]. Other symptoms, although less common, include fatigue, problems with eye contact, aphantasia or even hypermobility.

It is classified as a neurodevelopmental disorder, typically starting in childhood, although ADHD in adulthood is not uncommon [2, 3].

People with ADHD have problems with daily life tasks; they usually can’t focus on a single task or sit still for longer periods. Sometimes, this can disrupt the life of the sufferer as it may affect studies, work, relationships, and home life [1]. It can impair educational achievement and social development [4].

It is estimated that around 2% of the adult population and 5% of the children population in the United States have ADHD [5], with around 6.1 million children in the US being diagnosed with it [6].

What Is Cymbalta?

Cymbalta is a prescription medication usually taken orally as a tablet [7]. The active ingredient of Cymbalta is duloxetine [7].

It belongs to the group known as serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). Cymbalta works by altering the balance of norepinephrine and serotonin in the brain [8, 7].

Cymbalta is usually prescribed to help with mental health conditions like depression, generalized , or pain caused by diabetes-related nerve damage in the arms and legs [8]. Furthermore, it can help with chronic musculoskeletal pain and fibromyalgia, providing pain relief or mood improvement [8, 7].

How Can Cymbalta Be Used For ADHD?

Cymbalta works by blocking the reabsorption of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and serotonin in the brain [9, 7, 10] and is usually used for treating other mental health conditions like depression or anxiety rather than ADHD. In general, antidepressants should not be used to treat ADHD.

Although the primary use of Cymbalta is not to treat ADHD, it might have the potential to help patients suffering from ADHD as a combination treatment with other ADHD treatments.

For instance, combining Cymbalta and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) may potentially enhance treatment outcomes [11, 12, 13, 14].

While Cymbalta is not typically used as a first-line treatment for ADHD, it may have potential benefits for patients with this condition. Cymbalta can interact with certain drugs used to treat mental health conditions, including those used for ADHD [9].

However, the use of Cymbalta for ADHD should be discussed with a healthcare provider and also be under the close supervision of the healthcare provider due to the potential risk of acquiring serotonin syndrome, which can be a life-threatening condition [9].

In conclusion, while Cymbalta is not a standard treatment for ADHD, it may be beneficial, particularly for patients with co-occurring conditions like anxiety or depression, preferably combined with CBT.

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Frederika Malichová

Frederika Malichová

Frederika is a postgraduate researcher at the University of Cambridge, where she investigates new biomarkers for Frontotemporal Dementia and other tauopathies. Her research has been published at prestigious conferences such as the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2023. She obtained her BSc in Biomedical Sciences from UCL, where she worked closely with the UK Dementia Research Institute.