Cymbalta (duloxetine)

Medically Reviewed By Heather Bruce, PharmD

This drug has a boxed warning Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source , the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A boxed warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Cymbalta can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviors in children and adults younger than 25 years of age. The risks are higher during the first few months of treatment and after changes in dose.

While taking Cymbalta, watch for changes in your mood, thoughts, and behavior. Ask people close to you to watch for changes as well. If you have any sudden or unusual changes in your mood, thoughts, or behavior, call your doctor right away.

To learn more, see the “ Cymbalta: Side effects” section below.

About Cymbalta

Cymbalta is a brand-name prescription antidepressant drug. Doctors prescribe it for several different uses.

Cymbalta has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat the following conditions.

In adults major depressive disorder
generalized anxiety disorder
• pain caused by diabetic peripheral neuropathy (a type of nerve damage)
fibromyalgia
• chronic musculoskeletal pain (long-term pain in muscles, bones, or joints)
In children ages 7 years and older • generalized anxiety disorder
In children ages 13 years and older • fibromyalgia

For details about these conditions and how the drug treats them, see the “Cymbalta: Uses” section below.

Key points

The following table provides key facts about Cymbalta.

Active drug duloxetine
Drug classification serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI)
Form delayed-release* oral capsule

* Delayed release means the medication releases its active drug over a period of time in your body.

Finding a healthcare professional

If you’re interested in taking this drug, search here to find a doctor who might prescribe it.

Cymbalta: Generic

Cymbalta is a brand-name medication. It contains the active drug duloxetine, which also comes in a generic form. A generic is an identical copy of the active drug found in a brand-name medication.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ensures that generic drugs are as safe and effective as their original drug. Generics tend to be less expensive than brand-name drugs.

If you’d like to know about using the generic version of Cymbalta, ask your doctor or pharmacist. They can tell you if the generic medication comes in forms and strengths recommended for your condition.

Cymbalta: Side effects

As with most drugs, it’s possible to have side effects with Cymbalta. These can include some mild side effects but also some serious ones.

To learn more about Cymbalta’s side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They may also provide information about managing certain side effects of this drug.

Note: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tracks side effects of drugs it has approved. If you would like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Cymbalta, you can do so through MedWatch.

Mild and serious side effects

Mild and serious side effects of Cymbalta are listed in the table below. This table does not include all of Cymbalta’s possible side effects.

Mild side effects* Serious side effects
nausea and vomiting liver problems, such as liver failure
dry mouth orthostatic hypotension (sudden decrease in blood pressure when standing), which can cause dizziness, fainting, or falls
• reduced appetite serotonin syndrome (a condition caused by a high level of the chemical serotonin)
constipation • increased risk of bleeding
diarrhea • severe skin reactions, such as Stevens-Johnson syndrome
abdominal pain • closed-angle glaucoma (sudden buildup of pressure in your eye)
headache seizures
insomnia • increased blood pressure
• increased sweating low sodium level
dizziness • trouble urinating or emptying your bladder
fatigue • withdrawal symptoms†
• sleepiness** • risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviors‡
• sexual side effects** allergic reaction**

* This is not a complete list of Cymbalta’s mild side effects. To learn about other mild side effects of this drug, ask your doctor or pharmacist. Or you can view the drug’s prescribing information.
** For more information about this side effect, see the “Cymbalta’s side effects explained” section below.
† This side effect may occur if you suddenly stop taking Cymbalta. For details see the “Cymbalta: Withdrawal and dependence” section below.
Cymbalta has a boxed warning Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source for this side effect. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). To learn more, see the “Cymbalta’s side effects explained” section below.

Most times, mild side effects of a drug go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if any side effects become severe or don’t go away.

Serious side effects from Cymbalta aren’t common, but they are possible. If you have serious side effects, call your doctor right away. However, if you’re having a medical emergency or your symptoms feel life threatening, call 911 or a local emergency number.

Cymbalta’s side effects in children

Doctors prescribe Cymbalta to treat generalized anxiety disorder in children ages 7 years and older. They may also prescribe it for fibromyalgia in children ages 13 years and older.

Side effects of Cymbalta in children are generally similar to side effects in adults taking the drug. For details, see the “Mild and serious side effects” section above.

Along with these side effects, weight loss was commonly reported in children who took Cymbalta in clinical studies. Also, some children who took Cymbalta didn’t gain as much height as would be expected for their age. Your child’s doctor will likely monitor their weight and height.

Children taking Cymbalta also have an increased risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviors. Cymbalta has a boxed warning Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source about this side effect. A boxed warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous. To learn more, see “Cymbalta’s side effects explained” directly below.

If you’re concerned about the risk of Cymbalta’s side effects in children, talk with your child’s doctor.

Cymbalta’s side effects explained

Below, you can find detailed information about some of Cymbalta’s side effects. To learn more about other side effects of this medication, talk with your doctor.  

Risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviors

Cymbalta has a boxed warning about the risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviors. A boxed warning Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Clinical studies show that antidepressants, including Cymbalta, can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviors in children and adults younger than 25 years of age. The risks are higher during the first few months of treatment and after changes in dose.

To find out how often suicidal thoughts or behaviors occurred in clinical studies, see Cymbalta’s prescribing information. Note that in these studies, antidepressants didn’t increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviors in adults ages 25 years and older. And in people ages 65 years and older, antidepressants reduced the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

Possible early symptoms of suicidal thoughts or behaviors may include:

  • worsening depression or anxiety
  • restlessness or agitation
  • panic attacks
  • irritability, anger, or aggression
  • new or worsening trouble sleeping
  • thoughts about dying or harming yourself
  • other sudden or unusual changes in mood, thoughts, or behaviors

What to do

While taking Cymbalta, watch for changes in your mood, thoughts, and behavior. Ask people close to you to watch for changes as well. Parents and caregivers of children taking Cymbalta should watch for changes in the child.

If you or someone else have any of the symptoms listed above while taking Cymbalta, call your doctor right away. If your doctor thinks Cymbalta may be causing your symptoms, they may recommend switching to a different treatment for your condition. However, it’s important that you do not suddenly stop taking Cymbalta, because this can cause withdrawal symptoms. See the “Cymbalta: Withdrawal and dependence” section below to learn more about this.

If your doctor recommends switching to a different medication, you should only do this with their guidance.

Suicide prevention

If you know someone at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:

  • Ask the tough question: “Are you considering suicide?”
  • Listen to the person without judgment.
  • Call 911 or the local emergency number, or text TALK to 741741 to communicate with a trained crisis counselor.
  • Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
  • Try to remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The National Suicide

Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours per day at 800-273-8255. During a crisis, people who are hard of hearing can use their preferred relay service or dial 711 then 800-273-8255.

Click here for more links and local resources.

Sexual side effects

Like many antidepressants, Cymbalta can sometimes cause sexual side effects.

In clinical studies, sexual side effects weren’t common with Cymbalta. And they were more common in males than females who took this drug.* To learn more about how often sexual side effects occurred in clinical studies, see the drug’s prescribing information.

Sexual side effects reported in males and females taking Cymbalta are described in the table below.

In females In males
• reduced sex drive • reduced sex drive
• reduced arousal • reduced arousal
• reduced lubrication erectile dysfunction
• longer time than usual needed to reach orgasm • longer time than usual needed to ejaculate
• inability to orgasm • inability to ejaculate

Note that sexual problems are common with the mental health and chronic pain conditions that Cymbalta is used to treat. In some cases, sexual problems may improve as Cymbalta helps your condition get better. However, sometimes the drug may worsen sexual problems.

* Sex and gender exist on spectrums. In this article, use of the terms “male” and “female” refers to sex assigned at birth.

What to do

If you have new or worsening sexual problems while taking Cymbalta, talk with your doctor. They may recommend switching to a different treatment for your condition. Or they may have other suggestions that can help. For example, doctors may recommend a drug such as sildenafil (Viagra) for males with erectile dysfunction due to Cymbalta.

It’s important that you do not suddenly stop taking Cymbalta if you have sexual side effects. Doing so can cause withdrawal symptoms. See the “Cymbalta: Withdrawal and dependence” section below to learn more about this.

If your doctor recommends switching to a different medication, you should only do this with their guidance.

Sleepiness

Cymbalta can sometimes cause sleepiness. In clinical studies, sleepiness was commonly reported with Cymbalta. To learn more about how often this side effect occurred in clinical studies, see the drug’s prescribing information.

Note that sleepiness can also occur with the mental health and chronic pain conditions that Cymbalta is used to treat. These conditions can cause trouble sleeping and fatigue. In some cases, sleepiness may improve as Cymbalta helps your condition get better. However, sometimes the drug may worsen sleepiness.

What to do

If you feel sleepy while taking Cymbalta, be sure not to drive. You will also want to avoid other potentially dangerous activities, such as operating machinery or riding bikes.

If the sleepiness is bothersome, talk with your doctor. To help manage this side effect, they may recommend taking your daily dose at bedtime. In some cases, they may recommend switching to a different medication.

It’s important that you do not suddenly stop taking Cymbalta if you have sleepiness. Doing so can cause withdrawal symptoms. See the “Cymbalta: Withdrawal and dependence” section below to learn more about this.

If your doctor recommends switching to a different medication, you should only do this under their supervision.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after taking Cymbalta. A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible.

Possible symptoms of mild and serious allergic reactions are listed in the table below.

Mild allergic reaction symptoms Serious allergic reaction symptoms
flushing • swelling under your skin, possibly in your hands, feet, lips, or eyelids
rash • swelling in your throat or mouth
• itching trouble breathing

If you have an allergic reaction to Cymbalta, call your doctor right away. This is important to do because  the reaction could become severe.

However, if you’re having a medical emergency or your symptoms feel life threatening, call 911 or a local emergency number.

Cymbalta: Dosage

Below, you’ll find dosages that are commonly recommended for Cymbalta. However, you should take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. They’ll recommend the dosage that’s best for your needs.

Most often, doctors start by prescribing a low dosage of Cymbalta. Then, they’ll change the dosage over time to an amount that’s right for the condition being treated. Doctors typically prescribe the smallest dosage that gives the desired outcome.

The dosage of Cymbalta that your doctor prescribes will depend on factors such as:

  • your age
  • any other health conditions you have
  • other medications you take
  • the condition you’re using Cymbalta to treat and the severity of the condition
  • how your condition responds to Cymbalta
  • side effects you may have with Cymbalta

Cymbalta’s forms and strengths

Cymbalta is available as follows.

  • Form: delayed-release capsule that’s taken by mouth
  • Strengths: 20 milligrams (mg), 30 mg, and 60 mg

Delayed-release medications release their active drug into your body over a period of time. This is unlike immediate-release medications, which release their active drug as soon as you take them.

Cymbalta’s recommended dosages

Typical recommended dosages for Cymbalta in adults and children are described below.

Adult dosage

Cymbalta is used to treat certain types of anxiety, depression, and pain in adults. To learn more about the conditions listed here, see the “Cymbalta: Uses” section below.

Recommended dosages for treating these conditions in adults are as follows.

Condition Starting dosage Maximum dosage
Major depressive disorder 40 mg to 60 mg per day,* which may be taken as either:
• 40 mg once per day or 20 mg twice per day, or
• 60 mg once per day or 30 mg twice per day
120 mg per day†
Generalized anxiety disorder This dosage varies with age:
• adults younger than age 65 years: 60 mg once per day†
• adults ages 65 years or older: 30 mg once per day for 2 weeks, then 60 mg once per day
120 mg per day†
Diabetic nerve pain 60 mg once per day 60 mg once per day
Fibromyalgia 30 mg once per day for 1 week, then increased to 60 mg once per day if needed 60 mg once per day
Chronic musculoskeletal pain 30 mg once per day for 1 week, then increased to 60 mg once per day 60 mg once per day

* In some cases, doctors may prescribe 30 mg once per day for 1 week before increasing to 60 mg once per day.
† Doctors don’t often prescribe this because studies didn’t find dosages higher than 60 mg per day to be more effective.

Child dosage

Cymbalta is used to treat generalized anxiety disorder and fibromyalgia in certain children. To learn more about conditions listed here, see the “Cymbalta: Uses” section below.

Recommended dosages for treating these conditions in children are as follows.

Condition Starting dosage Maximum dosage
Generalized anxiety disorder in children ages 7 years and older 30 mg once per day for 2 weeks, followed by a daily dose of 30 mg or 60 mg 120 mg per day
Fibromyalgia in children ages 13 years and older 30 mg once per day 60 mg once per day

Dosage considerations

Below are some things to consider about Cymbalta’s dosage.

  • Missing a dose. If you miss a dose of Cymbalta, take it as soon as possible. However, if it’s nearly time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed dose. View these medication reminder options to help avoid missing doses. You could also set an alarm, use a timer, or download a reminder app on your phone.
  • Length of treatment. Doctors typically prescribe Cymbalta as a long-term treatment. You’ll likely take it long term if you and your doctor feel it’s safe and effective for your condition.

Cymbalta: Questions you may have

Here are some common questions about Cymbalta and brief answers to them. If you’d like to know more about these topics, ask your doctor.

What are Cymbalta’s side effects in women vs. men? And how long do the drug’s side effects last?

Cymbalta’s side effects are generally similar in males and females.*

However, sexual side effects tend to be more common in males than in females. A few examples of sexual side effects that both males and females may experience include reduced sex drive and reduced arousal. To read more about sexual side effects with Cymbalta, see the “Side effects explained” section in “Cymbalta: Side effects” above.

How long the drug’s side effects last can vary, depending on the side effect. Most of Cymbalta’s side effects get better after a few weeks as your body gets used to the drug. Others may get better if your doctor lowers your dosage.

However, some side effects may last a long time, even after stopping Cymbalta. For example, if Cymbalta affects your liver, this may cause long-term problems.

To learn more about your risk for side effects with Cymbalta, talk with your doctor.

* Sex and gender exist on spectrums. In this article, use of the terms “male” and “female” refers to sex assigned at birth.

Does Cymbalta cause weight gain or weight loss?

Yes, Cymbalta can sometimes affect weight.

In clinical studies, both weight gain and weight loss were reported in adults who took Cymbalta, but these weight changes weren’t common. However, in children who took Cymbalta, weight loss was one of the more common side effects reported. Doctors will typically monitor a child’s weight while they are taking this drug.

Cymbalta can also reduce appetite in both adults and children. This may lead to weight loss over time. However, changes in appetite and eating patterns are also common with the mental health and chronic pain conditions that Cymbalta is used to treat. And both can lead to either weight gain or weight loss.

If your condition gets better with Cymbalta, your appetite and eating patterns may change. This could also lead to changes in your weight over time.

If you’re concerned about weight gain or weight loss with Cymbalta, talk with your doctor.

Is Cymbalta an SSRI?

No, Cymbalta isn’t an SSRI.

SSRI stands for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. SSRIs are a class of antidepressant. They work by increasing levels of a chemical called serotonin in your brain.

Instead, Cymbalta belongs to a class of antidepressants called serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). These drugs work by increasing levels of two chemicals in your brain: serotonin and norepinephrine.

To learn more, see the “Cymbalta: How it works” section below.

Is Cymbalta a controlled substance?

No, Cymbalta isn’t a controlled substance. Controlled substances are drugs that are regulated by the government because they have a high risk for misuse and dependence. (With misuse, a drug is taken in a way that’s not prescribed, typically for a pleasurable effect. With dependence, your body needs the drug in order to function like usual.)

Cymbalta doesn’t have a risk for misuse and dependence. However, it is possible to have withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop taking Cymbalta. To learn more, see the “Cymbalta: Withdrawal and dependence” section below.

How does Cymbalta make you feel?

It’s not possible to predict how Cymbalta will make you feel. This can vary from person to person and may also depend on the reason you’re taking Cymbalta. However, it’s important to note that Cymbalta won’t make you feel instantly happy or relaxed. To learn more about how long it takes this drug to work, see the “Cymbalta: How it works” section below.

When you first start taking Cymbalta, and after any changes in dose, pay close attention to your thoughts, mood, and behavior. Cymbalta can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors* in certain people. If you notice any unusual changes in how you feel, see your doctor right away.

* Cymbalta has a boxed warning Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source for this side effect. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). To learn more, see “Side effects explained” in the “Cymbalta: Side effects” section above.

Will Cymbalta cause brain zaps?

Suddenly stopping Cymbalta could cause electric shock sensations, which some people may describe as brain zaps. These sensations are one of the possible withdrawal symptoms you may have if you stop taking Cymbalta suddenly. To read more about this, see the section just below called “Cymbalta: Withdrawal and dependence.”

Cymbalta: Withdrawal and dependence

There haven’t been studies on whether Cymbalta can cause drug dependence. (With drug dependence your body needs the drug in order to function like usual.) However, it’s possible to have withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop taking Cymbalta.

Withdrawal symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms you may experience can include:

To help avoid withdrawal symptoms, you should not suddenly stop taking Cymbalta. Instead, if you want to stop taking Cymbalta, talk with your doctor first. When stopping treatment, they will gradually reduce your dose, usually over several weeks.

If you have withdrawal symptoms when stopping Cymbalta, talk with your doctor. They may adjust the plan for decreasing your dosage.  

Cymbalta: Uses

Prescription drugs, such as Cymbalta, are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat certain conditions. Doctors sometimes prescribe drugs off-label for other conditions. With off-label use, doctors prescribe a drug for a purpose other than what it’s approved for.

Using Cymbalta for diabetic nerve pain

Cymbalta is FDA-approved to treat diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain in adults. This is nerve pain caused by peripheral neuropathy (a type of nerve damage). It occurs in adults with diabetes.

Peripheral neuropathy affects the nerves in the hands and feet. It’s a common complication of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The nerve damage is caused by having high blood sugar levels over a long period of time. You’re more likely to develop this complication if your diabetes isn’t well managed.

Symptoms of diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain can include:

  • tingling and burning sensations in the hands and feet
  • pain or numbness in the hands and feet
  • trouble standing and walking

Doctors prescribe Cymbalta to help relieve these symptoms.

Using Cymbalta for chronic musculoskeletal pain

Cymbalta is FDA-approved to treat chronic musculoskeletal pain in adults.

Musculoskeletal pain describes pain or aching in your muscles, bones, joints, tendons, or ligaments. Chronic pain describes ongoing pain lasting longer than 3 months.

Doctors prescribe Cymbalta to relieve various types of chronic musculoskeletal pain, including back pain and pain caused by osteoarthritis.

Using Cymbalta for anxiety

Cymbalta is FDA-approved to treat generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) in adults and children ages 7 years and older.

GAD is a common anxiety disorder that causes excessive, out-of-proportion, and ongoing worries or fears about everyday life. It’s a serious mental health condition that can significantly affect daily activities and personal relationships.

Other symptoms of GAD may include:

Doctors prescribe Cymbalta to help reduce symptoms of this anxiety disorder.

Using Cymbalta for depression

Cymbalta is FDA-approved to treat major depressive disorder (MDD) in adults. MDD is usually just called depression, or sometimes clinical depression.

MDD is a common and serious mental health condition that can significantly affect your daily life. It can be triggered by life events, such as losing someone close to you. It can also develop without any obvious cause.

Symptoms of MDD may include:

Doctors prescribe Cymbalta to help reduce symptoms of MDD.

Using Cymbalta for fibromyalgia

Cymbalta is FDA-approved to treat fibromyalgia in adults and children ages 13 years and older.

Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition that causes widespread pain and fatigue. It also causes trouble with concentration and memory (known as fibro fog). The condition can be difficult for doctors to diagnose, but it can significantly affect your daily life.

Symptoms of fibromyalgia can include:

Doctors prescribe Cymbalta to help reduce the symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Using Cymbalta in children

Doctors prescribe Cymbalta for the following uses in children:

See the “Using Cymbalta for anxiety” and “Using Cymbalta for fibromyalgia” sections above to read more about these conditions.

Finding a healthcare professional for Cymbalta

If you’re interested in taking Cymbalta, you can find a doctor who may prescribe it by searching here. To prepare for your appointment, you may find it helpful to visit our appointment guides for:

Cymbalta: Alternatives

Doctors may prescribe drugs other than Cymbalta for your condition. Certain drugs may work better for you than others.

Cymbalta is used to treat depression, anxiety, and certain conditions that cause pain. Here are summaries of other drugs that doctors sometimes prescribe for depression and other mental health conditions. And here’s a list of medications that may be prescribed for pain.

To learn more about some alternatives of Cymbalta, view the following articles:

Your doctor can tell you about other similar drugs, such as:

To learn more about alternatives to Cymbalta, ask your doctor. They can tell you about other medications that could be prescribed for your condition.

Cymbalta: How it works

Cymbalta is used to treat depression, anxiety, and certain conditions that cause pain. To learn more about the conditions Cymbalta treats, see the “Cymbalta: Uses” section above.

Cymbalta is a type of drug called a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). It increases the levels of chemicals called serotonin and norepinephrine in your brain.

These chemicals are involved in transmitting nerve signals in your central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). They help regulate your mood and emotions. They’re also involved in the perception of pain.

Cymbalta for mental health conditions

With mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety, there’s an imbalance in the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in your brain.

For these conditions, Cymbalta works to correct the imbalance of these chemicals in your brain. This can help improve your mood.

Cymbalta for pain

With conditions that cause pain, there may be an imbalance in the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in your brain. There may also be changes in the way your central nervous system processes pain signals within your body.

In conditions that cause pain, Cymbalta may affect the way your central nervous system processes pain signals. It may also improve your perception of pain.

How long does Cymbalta take to start working?

Cymbalta starts working soon after you take your first dose, but you may not notice it working at the beginning of treatment.

If you take Cymbalta to treat depression or anxiety, you may notice an improvement in your sleep, energy, or appetite after about 2 to 4 weeks. However, it may take up to 8 weeks before your mood or anxiety improves.

If you take Cymbalta for conditions that cause pain, you may notice your pain starts to improve after about 1 week.

How long does Cymbalta stay in your system? What’s its half-life?

A drug’s half-life describes how long it takes your body to remove half of the dose taken. Cymbalta has a half-life of about 12 hours.

However, it takes about five half-lives for your body to fully remove the drug. So, Cymbalta can stay in your system for 60 hours, about 2.5 days, after you stop taking it.

Cymbalta: Consuming alcohol during treatment

Cymbalta doesn’t interact with alcohol. However, it may be best to avoid alcohol while taking it.

Consuming alcohol may increase certain side effects of Cymbalta, such as sleepiness, dizziness, nausea, headache, and diarrhea. It may also increase the risk of liver problems with this drug. (For details, see the “Cymbalta: Precautions” section below.) Consuming large amounts of alcohol with Cymbalta could cause severe liver damage.

Additionally, consuming alcohol can worsen symptoms of depression and anxiety, which Cymbalta is used to treat.

If you consume alcohol, talk with your doctor about whether it’s safe to do so while taking Cymbalta.

Cymbalta: Interactions

Cymbalta may interact with other medications and certain supplements.

Different interactions can cause different effects. Some interactions can interfere with a drug’s effectiveness. Others can increase a drug’s side effects or cause them to be severe.

If any of the interactions listed below might pertain to you, talk with your doctor. They can tell you what you need to do to avoid the interaction.

Cymbalta: Cost

Like other medications, prices for Cymbalta may vary. The drug’s price will depend on factors such as:

Cost considerations for Cymbalta

Here’s a list of things to consider when looking into the cost of Cymbalta.

  • Option for a 90-day supply. For some drugs, it’s possible to get a 90-day supply. If this option is approved by your insurance company, it can help lower the cost of the drug. It can also help you avoid frequent trips to your pharmacy. If you’d like to learn more about this option, ask your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance company.
  • Need for prior authorization. Before insurance coverage for Cymbalta is approved, your insurance company may require prior authorization. In this case, your doctor and insurance company will communicate about your prescription for Cymbalta. Then, the insurance company will decide if the drug will be covered. To find out if you need prior authorization for Cymbalta, contact your insurance company.
  • Possible cost assistance options. Financial assistance to help lower the cost of Cymbalta is available. Eli Lilly and Company, the manufacturer of the drug, offers assistance to help lower the cost of Cymbalta. To learn more and see if you’re eligible for support, visit the manufacturer’s website. Also, check out this article to learn about ways to save on prescription drugs.
  • Use of a mail-order pharmacy. Cymbalta may be dispensed through mail-order pharmacies. Getting your prescription through a mail-order pharmacy could lower its cost. It can also allow you to get the drug without leaving home. To find out more about this option, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance company.
  • Availability of a generic form. Cymbalta comes in a generic form called duloxetine. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. Generics are typically less expensive than brand-name drugs. If your doctor prescribes Cymbalta, but you want to know about taking duloxetine, talk with your doctor about which option might be better for you. Also, check your insurance plan because it might cover just one form or the other.

Cymbalta: Overdose

Serious effects can occur if you use more than the recommended dosage of Cymbalta. Do not use more Cymbalta than your doctor recommends. 

Symptoms of overdose

Symptoms that an overdose could cause include:

What to do in case of overdose

Call your doctor if you think you’ve taken too much of this drug. Also, you can call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or use their online tool. However, if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or your local emergency number. Or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

Cymbalta: How to take

Your doctor will recommend how you should take Cymbalta. It’s important that you take the drug exactly as your doctor instructs.

Cymbalta comes as a capsule that you swallow.

Questions about taking Cymbalta

Here’s a list of common questions related to taking Cymbalta.

  • When should I take Cymbalta? Depending on the condition being treated, your doctor may ask you to take Cymbalta once or twice a day. View these medication reminder options to help avoid missing doses of Cymbalta. You could also set an alarm, use a timer, or download a reminder app on your phone.
  • Do I need to take Cymbalta with food? No, you can take Cymbalta either with or without food.
  • Can Cymbalta be chewed, split, or crushed? No, Cymbalta capsules should not be chewed, split, crushed, or opened. If you have trouble swallowing Cymbalta capsules, talk with your doctor.
  • Is there a best time of day to take Cymbalta? No, you can take Cymbalta at the time of day that works best for you. However, you should try to stick to the same time(s) each day.

Cymbalta: Taking while pregnant

Doctors aren’t sure whether it’s safe to take Cymbalta during pregnancy. Clinical studies haven’t shown that the drug increases the risk of congenital anomalies (commonly known as birth defects). However, one study found that taking Cymbalta in the month before delivery may increase the risk of serious bleeding after delivery.

Certain complications have occurred in babies born to people who took serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). Specifically when the SNRI antidepressant was taken in the third trimester (28 to 40 weeks) of pregnancy. (Keep in mind, Cymbalta is an SNRI antidepressant.)

These complications include:

If you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant, talk with your doctor about the possible risks and benefits of taking Cymbalta.

Cymbalta and birth control needs

Talk with your doctor about your birth control needs with Cymbalta if you’re sexually active and you or your partner can become pregnant. Your doctor can recommend if you should use birth control with this medication.

Cymbalta: Taking while breastfeeding

Cymbalta can pass into breast milk. Certain problems have been reported in children who have consumed Cymbalta in breast milk.

These problems include:

  • increased sleepiness
  • poor feeding
  • poor weight gain

Talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of breastfeeding while taking Cymbalta. If you decide to breastfeed while taking Cymbalta, watch your child for trouble feeding or sleepiness. Talk with your doctor if you notice these problems.

Cymbalta: Precautions

This drug comes with several precautions.

FDA warning: Risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviors

This drug has a boxed warning Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source , the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A boxed warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

Cymbalta can increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviors in children and adults younger than 25 years of age. The risks are higher during the first few months of treatment and after changes in dose.

While taking Cymbalta, watch for changes in your mood, thoughts, and behavior. Ask people close to you to watch for changes as well. If you have any sudden or unusual changes in your mood, thoughts, or behavior, call your doctor right away.

To learn more, see the “Cymbalta: Side effects” section above.

Other precautions

Tell your doctor about your health history before starting treatment with Cymbalta. Your doctor may not recommend this medication if you have certain factors affecting your health or specific medical conditions.

These factors and conditions include those listed below.

  • Allergic reaction. Your doctor will likely not prescribe Cymbalta if you’ve had an allergic reaction to it or any of its ingredients. To find out about other treatment options, talk with your doctor.
  • Bipolar disorder or mania. If you have bipolar disorder or mania, taking Cymbalta may raise your risk of having a mixed or manic episode. This risk is also raised if you have a family history of these conditions. Cymbalta isn’t approved for treating depression in people with bipolar disorder. Before starting Cymbalta, talk with your doctor about any mental health problems you or your family has had in the past.
  • Liver disease. Cymbalta can cause liver problems and could worsen existing liver disease. Due to this risk, doctors typically won’t prescribe Cymbalta if you have chronic liver disease or cirrhosis. If you have liver disease, talk with your doctor about whether Cymbalta is safe for you.
  • Kidney failure. If you have severe kidney failure, Cymbalta could build up in your body. This could increase the risk of its side effects. Due to this risk, doctors typically won’t prescribe Cymbalta if you have severe kidney failure.
  • Closed-angle glaucoma. Cymbalta can cause closed-angle glaucoma, which is a sudden increase in pressure in your eye. This side effect can cause blindness if not treated right away. If you have eye angles that are narrower than usual, you may have a raised risk for this side effect. If you’re unsure whether you have narrow eye angles, talk with your doctor. They may recommend getting an eye exam.
  • Seizure disorders. Cymbalta can cause seizures. If you have a disorder that causes seizures, such as epilepsy, you may have a raised risk for this side effect. Talk with your doctor about whether Cymbalta is safe for you.
  • Low sodium level. Cymbalta can lower the level of sodium in your blood. If you already have a low sodium level, Cymbalta could make it worse. You may have an increased risk for this side effect if you’re over age 65 years or you take diuretic medications. Your risk may also be increased if you become dehydrated, for example, due to vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Diabetes. If you have diabetes, Cymbalta may increase your blood sugar and make your blood sugar levels harder to manage. Talk with your doctor about whether you may need any extra blood sugar monitoring or changes to your diabetes treatment plan while taking Cymbalta.
  • Heart disease or high blood pressure. Cymbalta may cause a small increase in blood pressure. It hasn’t been studied in people who have recently had a heart attack. If you have heart disease or high blood pressure, talk with your doctor about whether Cymbalta is safe for you.
  • Trouble urinating. If you have trouble urinating, Cymbalta could make this worse. Talk with your doctor about whether Cymbalta is safe for you.
  • Slowed stomach emptying. Cymbalta capsules contain pellets with a special coating that protects the medication from being broken down by your stomach acid. Certain conditions such as diabetes, or certain medications such as liraglutide (Saxenda), can cause your stomach to empty more slowly. When Cymbalta is taken with these conditions or medications, the pellets may be exposed to the acid in your stomach for longer. This can cause the medication to be broken down in your stomach, which can make it less effective.
  • Pregnancy. Doctors aren’t sure if Cymbalta is safe to take during pregnancy. If you’d like to learn more information about taking Cymbalta while pregnant, view the “Cymbalta: Taking while pregnant” section above.
  • Breastfeeding. Cymbalta can get into breast milk. If you’d like to learn more information about taking Cymbalta while breastfeeding, view the “Cymbalta: Taking while breastfeeding” section above.

To learn more about effects of Cymbalta that could be harmful, see the “Cymbalta: Side effects” section above.

Cymbalta: Expiration, storage, and disposal

Here’s some information about Cymbalta’s expiration date, as well as how to store and dispose of the drug.

  • Expiration. Your pharmacist will add an expiration date to the label on Cymbalta’s bottle. This date is usually 1 year from the date the medication was dispensed to you. Expiration dates help ensure that a medication is effective during a period of time. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises Trusted Source Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Governmental authority Go to source that you avoid using expired drugs. If you have an unused medication and it’s past the drug’s expiration date, talk with your pharmacist. They can let you know whether you might still be able to use the medication.
  • Storage. Many factors determine how long a medication remains good to use. These factors include how and where you store the drug. Cymbalta capsules should be stored at room temperature, 59°F to 86°F (15°C to 30°C). Avoid storing it in areas where it could get damp or wet, such as bathrooms. The medication should be kept in a tightly sealed container.
  • Disposal. It’s important to safely dispose of Cymbalta if you no longer need to take it and have unused medication. Doing so helps prevent others, including children and pets, from accidentally taking the drug. It also helps avoid causing harm to the environment. Ask your pharmacist for information about disposing of Cymbalta. Also, check out this page for several tips on safe medication disposal.

Cymbalta: Questions for your doctor

If you have questions about Cymbalta, talk with your doctor. They can help advise you on whether Cymbalta could be a good treatment option for you.

Here’s a list of questions you may want to ask your doctor:

  • Will Cymbalta cure my condition?
  • How long will I need to take it for?
  • Can I take Cymbalta with my other medications?
  • How likely am I to have side effects?

Your doctor may also tell you about other treatment options for your condition. You may find this article helpful in learning about alternative drugs for depression. Also, this article covers other drugs that may be prescribed for pain treatment. And check out our selection of videos on depression.

Disclaimer: Healthgrades has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.


Medical Reviewer: Heather Bruce, PharmD
Last Review Date: 2022 Apr 14
View All Drugs Articles
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.