Side Effects of Cymbalta (Duloxetine) to Be Aware of

Published on: 23 May 2023
Clinically Reviewed by Olga Molina, D.S.W., LCSW
Side Effects of Cymbalta

Cymbalta (duloxetine) is a commonly used antidepressant. It can be prescribed to treat symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder (MDD). Outside of mental health concerns, it can also be used to treat persistent musculoskeletal pain, diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain, and persistent fibromyalgia pain.

Cymbalta is a type of serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). Serotonin and norepinephrine levels in the brain are changed by SNRIs. While using this medication has many advantages, there are also a number of potential side effects of Cymbalta, ranging from mild to serious.

Keep reading to learn about the common, serious, and long-term duloxetine side effects if you’re considering getting Cymbalta online or in person with a prescription.

Common Side Effects of Cymbalta

Before taking Cymbalta for generalized anxiety disorder, depressive disorder, nerve pain, chronic pain, or neuropathic pain, you should consider possible adverse reactions associated with use.

When starting Cymbalta treatment, some people experience mild side effects such as nausea, drowsiness, dry mouth, or constipation. Most often, these duloxetine side effects and symptoms go away within the first week of taking the drug. However, you should contact your doctor if any symptom persists or worsens over time.

During week two, Cymbalta may alter brain chemistry, which could result in heightened depression or suicidal ideation. If such feelings arise, consulting with a physician about adjusting the dosage or switching medications is essential. If you start experiencing any new feelings of hopelessness or despair, talk with your doctor right away about reducing your dose or switching medications altogether if necessary.

Common side effects of Cymbalta include: 

  • Exhaustion
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased urination
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Increased sweating
  • Dry mouth
  • Change in weight
  • Reduced appetite
  • Sexual dysfunction

Serious Side Effects of Cymbalta

Cymbalta can be an effective treatment for depression, anxiety, and pain, but it’s important to weigh the associated risks before taking it or any other antidepressant. 

Psychiatry and Prescriptions Online

Receive an evaluation and prescription for mental health medication (if needed) from a psychiatry-trained medical provider.

High amounts of Cymbalta have been associated with liver damage. It may also have an adverse side effect of raising blood pressure in some rare circumstances.

Known severe Cymbalta side effects can include:

  • Liver damage
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Sense of euphoria
  • Allergic reaction
  • Feeling restless to the point you can’t be still or quiet
  • Hallucinating
  • Feeling excessively angry or aggressive
  • Yellowing of the eyes or skin
  • Lasting confusion
  • Continuous headaches
  • Eye pain
  • Frequent muscle cramping
  • Bruising for no reason
  • Blood in the stool
  • Black stool
  • Blood in vomit
  • Blood in your urine
  • Bleeding gums
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior

Is Cymbalta a high-risk medication?

Ultimately, whether or not one considers Cymbalta a “high-risk” medication depends on your personal circumstances. Consult your doctor or a psychiatrist before taking Cymbalta for a customized evaluation of the possible health risks.

Long-Term Side Effects of Cymbalta

Understanding the long-term side effects of Cymbalta means you can make an informed decision about using it. People who take Cymbalta for a long time may significantly increase their chance of:

  • Falling (in older people) — Some studies show an increased fall risk in older people who take Cymbalta. 
  • Cardiovascular disease — More research is needed to see if there’s any link between long-term use of Cymbalta and cardiovascular disease.  
  • Weight gainResearch suggests that using the medication for long periods can result in Cymbalta weight gain
  • Increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors — Cymbalta has been connected in some studies to a higher risk of developing suicidal ideas.

How to Manage Cymbalta Side Effects

Most side effects of Cymbalta are mild and resolve after a few weeks. However, more severe side effects, such as changes in behavior or suicidal thoughts, can also occur but aren’t as common. If you experience disruptive symptoms for longer than a few weeks, talk to your doctor about adjusting your dosage or switching medications.

“Take Cymbalta as directed. Read the medication guide to understand how the medication works and monitor the side effects. Inform your doctor of other medical concerns. Drink more water, get enough sleep, and exercise regularly. Limit or avoid alcohol intake.”

Talkspace therapist Reshawna Chapple, Ph.D., LCSW

One of the best (and simplest) ways to help manage any adverse effects of Cymbalta includes lifestyle modifications and self-care actions such as:

  • Getting regular exercise
  • Healthy eating habits
  • Avoiding alcohol and caffeine
  • Managing stress 
  • Getting adequate sleep each night 
  • Communicating with your doctor or therapist  

1. Consider solutions that ease your side effects

Sometimes, additional medications might be prescribed in conjunction with Cymbalta to help mitigate any side effects. For example, anti-nauseants or anticonvulsants might help, depending on how Cymbalta affects you. 

2. Be aware of Cymbalta interactions

You should also take the time to learn about potential drug interactions since Cymbalta is known to interact with some medications used for treating mental health disorders like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Before starting Cymbalta, be sure to disclose all medications you are taking to your doctor or psychiatrist. They can verify if there may be any conflicting interactions.

3. Track side effects

When starting treatment with Cymbalta, it’s a good idea to track any side effects you experience during the first few weeks of use. This is when most adverse reactions can occur if they’re going to. Pay close attention to how you feel, both physically and mentally, so you’re more likely to notice any changes in behavior or worsening depression symptoms. Report these to your doctor immediately before they become too severe.

It is critical to recognize the possible consequences of Cymbalta and take steps to control them. Consulting with a medical professional is the best way to address any issues from consuming this medication.

Talk to a Doctor About Cymbalta

Cymbalta can be an effective treatment for some people, but you want to be sure you understand the side effects of this drug. 

Side effects from Cymbalta can range from mild to severe, particularly if you take it for an extended period of time. Talk to your doctor as soon as you can if you’re having Cymbalta side effects so you can explain what you’re feeling. They’ll be able to help you determine if this medication is safe and appropriate for your condition and needs. With proper monitoring and guidance, many people find relief using Cymbalta without discomfort.

Sources:

  1. Kang S-G, Park Y-M, Lee H-J, Yoon B. Duloxetine-induced liver injury in patients with major depressive disorder. Psychiatry Investigation. 2011;8(3):269. doi:10.4306/pi.2011.8.3.269. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3182394/. Accessed March 9, 2023.
  2. Derby MA, Zhang L, Chappell JC, et al. The effects of supratherapeutic doses of duloxetine on blood pressure and pulse rate. Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology. 2007;49(6):384-393. doi:10.1097/fjc.0b013e31804d1cce. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17577103/. Accessed March 9, 2023.
  3. Nelson JC, Oakes TM, Liu P, et al. Assessment of falls in older patients treated with duloxetine. The Primary Care Companion For CNS Disorders. 2013. doi:10.4088/pcc.12m01419. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3661331/. Accessed March 9, 2023. 
  4. Park K, Kim S, Ko Y-J, Park B-J. Duloxetine and cardiovascular adverse events: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Psychiatric Research. 2020;124:109-114. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2020.02.022. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32135389/.  Accessed March 9, 2023. 
  5. Poppen H. Weight gain in veterans taking duloxetine, pregabalin, or both for the treatment of neuropathy. Federal Practitioner. 2021;(38 No. 5). doi:10.12788/fp.0111. https://www.mdedge.com/fedprac/article/239978/mixed-topics/weight-gain-veterans-taking-duloxetine-pregabalin-or-both. Accessed March 9, 2023. 
  6. Salem BA, Karam EG. Duloxetine and suicide attempts: A possible relation. Clinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health. 2008;4(1):18. doi:10.1186/1745-0179-4-18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2453113/. Accessed March 9, 2023.  

Talkspace articles are written by experienced mental health-wellness contributors; they are grounded in scientific research and evidence-based practices. Articles are extensively reviewed by our team of clinical experts (therapists and psychiatrists of various specialties) to ensure content is accurate and on par with current industry standards.

Our goal at Talkspace is to provide the most up-to-date, valuable, and objective information on mental health-related topics in order to help readers make informed decisions.

Articles contain trusted third-party sources that are either directly linked to in the text or listed at the bottom to take readers directly to the source.

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