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Cymbalta (Duloxetine)

Cymbalta, also called duloxetine, is part of a class of antidepressants called selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) and is used to treat depression and anxiety. Cymbalta is available by prescription only and is sometimes used to treat fibromyalgia and chronic pain.


Cymbalta comes in capsule form and is usually taken once or twice each day. It may take up to a month to feel the full effects of Cymbalta. A doctor may slowly increase the amount of Cymbalta taken each day to help find the correct dose of this medication. A person should continue to take Cymbalta as directed even if they begin to feel better.

Important Information Before Use

  • Antidepressants including Cymbalta may cause an increase in suicidal thoughts or behavior in children, teens, or young adults under the age of twenty-four. Your doctor can help you decide if the benefit of this medication outweighs the risk of using it.
  • Do not take Cymbalta within two weeks of taking a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor; you should let your doctor know if you have taken a MAO inhibitor recently.
  • Talk to your doctor before you take Cymbalta if you have or have ever had glaucoma, diabetes, a heart attack, seizure, or any type of liver, kidney, or heart disease.
  • You should also mention any serious reactions you have had to other similar medications.
  • Cymbalta may interact with other medications or supplements, including MAO inhibitors, aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen (Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve), migraine medications, anticoagulants, antihistamines, antidepressants, antacids, medications for anxiety, St. John's Wort, sleeping pills, antipsychotics, high blood pressure medications, and more. If you are taking other prescription drugs or vitamins, you should check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking Cymbalta.

Important Information During Use

  • Cymbalta can cause problems in newborns if taken during the third trimester of pregnancy or while breastfeeding. You should talk to your doctor about alternative treatments for depression if you are pregnant or become pregnant while taking Cymbalta.
  • Do not drive or work with heavy machinery until you know how this medication affects you; Cymbalta can make you very drowsy. Using alcohol with Cymbalta can worsen this side effect.
  • If you are having any type of surgery, including oral or dental surgery, then you should tell your doctor or anesthesiologist that you take Cymbalta.
  • Cymbalta can make you dizzy if you stand up quickly from a lying or seated position; stand up slowly to avoid this side effect.
  • Take only the amount of Cymbalta that has been prescribed by your doctor; an overdose of Cymbalta is a medical emergency. Signs of overdose include hallucinations, vomiting, severe drowsiness, extreme dizziness, and loss of consciousness.

Side Effects

Call your doctor right away if you experience serious or severe side effects from Cymbalta. Serious side effects can include:

  • Fever
  • Confusion
  • Unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Swollen stomach or upper right stomach pain
  • Yellowed skin or eyes
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Hives or rash
  • Hoarse voice or difficulty swallowing
  • Swelling face, hands, or feet

Less serious side effects may include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea, stomach pain, heartburn, diarrhea, or constipation
  • Changes in sex drive or ability
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Frequent or difficult urination
  • Headache or dizziness
  • Uncontrollable shaking or tremors


Work with your doctor to reduce your dose of this medication slowly over time. You should not stop taking Cymbalta abruptly. Weaning slowly off of this medication will reduce the amount and severity of withdrawal symptoms. You should not reduce or discontinue this medication on your own. Possible symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Nightmares
  • Electric zapping sensation in head
  • Irritability
  • Dizziness


  • Cymbalta. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-91491/cymbalta-oral/details

Page content reviewed by James Pendleton, ND


Last Update: 12-22-2014


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