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Pharmacy and Medications

Taking Cymbalta and Savella Together

01/14/2011

Question:

My doctor just gave me these two drugs today and told me to start taking them together, but I`ve been told that you do not take them togther. So my question is do I just try one of them and if it doesn`t work then try the other or go ahead and take them both?

Answer:

Thank you for contacting Net Wellness. 

Savella is used for the management of fibromyalgia. Cymbalta is used for anxiety and depression, pain associated with diabetic neuropathy, and the management of fibromyalgia. Both of these medications work to increase the activity of serotonin and norepinephrine, which are two naturally occurring substances in the brain. They are useful for managing many health conditions that affect depression, anxiety, and pain. 

Taking Cymbalta and Savella together will increase serotonin activity in the brain. The risk of too much serotonin could lead to the rare, but serious condition known as serotonin syndrome. Patients should be aware of this syndrome and should be watched for signs and symptoms related to serotonin syndrome characterized by agitation, sweating, diarrhea, fever, in-coordination, shivering, tremor, or involuntary movement of the joints. 

There are many medications that work to increase the activity of serotonin and norepinephrine, and many of these drugs have benefited numerous patients. It has been shown that drugs that work like Savella or Cymbalta can be safely combined with other drugs that work similarly, even though there is an increased risk of serotonin syndrome. However, it is important to discuss with your physician the benefits and risks of using both of these medications together before starting either of these medications. 

Shelley Otsuka, PharmD, Pharmacy Practice Resident, Martha Morehouse Internal Medicine 

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Response by:

Sarah Hudson-DiSalle, PharmD, RPh
Specialty Practice Pharmacist of Outpatient Pharmacy
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University