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Cymbalta

Generic name: duloxetine (du LOX e teen)
Brand name: Cymbalta
Drug class: Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors

Medically reviewed by Kaci Durbin, MD. Last updated on Dec 2, 2021.

What is Cymbalta?

Cymbalta (duloxetine) is a selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor antidepressant (SSNRI). Duloxetine affects chemicals in the brain that may be unbalanced in people with depression.

Cymbalta is used to treat major depressive disorder in adults. It is also used to treat general anxiety disorder in adults and children who are at least 7 years old.

Cymbalta is also used in adults to treat nerve pain caused by diabetes (diabetic neuropathy), or chronic muscle or joint pain (such as low back pain and osteoarthritis pain).

Cymbalta is also used to treat fibromyalgia (a chronic pain disorder) in adults and children at least 13 years old.

Warnings

Do not take Cymbalta within 5 days before or 14 days after you have used a MAO inhibitor, such as isocarboxazid, linezolid, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, or tranylcypromine, or methylene blue injection.

Cymbalta should not be used if you have narrow angle glaucoma.

Some young people have thoughts about suicide when first taking an antidepressant. Stay alert to changes in your mood or symptoms. Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor, such as: mood or behavior changes, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or if you feel impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), more depressed, or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.

Do not stop using Cymbalta without first talking to your doctor.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use Cymbalta if you are allergic to duloxetine.

Do not take Cymbalta within 5 days before or 14 days after you have used an MAO inhibitor, such as isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue injection, phenelzine, or tranylcypromine. A dangerous drug interaction could occur.

Tell your doctor if you also use stimulant medicine, opioid medicine, herbal products, or medicine for depression, mental illness, Parkinson's disease, migraine headaches, serious infections, or prevention of nausea and vomiting. An interaction with duloxetine could cause a serious condition called serotonin syndrome.

Cymbalta is not approved for use by anyone younger than 7 years old.

To make sure this medicine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

People with depression or mental illness may have thoughts about suicide. Some young people may have increased suicidal thoughts when first starting a medicine to treat depression. Stay alert to changes in your mood or symptoms. Your family or caregivers should also watch for sudden changes in your behavior.

Taking an SNRI antidepressant during late pregnancy could increase your risk of excessive bleeding after you give birth, and may cause serious medical complications in the baby. However, stopping the medicine may not be safe if you have a relapse of depression. Do not start or stop taking this medicine without asking your doctor.

If you are pregnant, your name may be listed on a pregnancy registry to track the effects of duloxetine on the baby.

If you are breastfeeding, tell your doctor if you notice drowsiness, feeding problems, and slow weight gain in the nursing baby.

How should I take Cymbalta?

Take Cymbalta exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose.

Taking Cymbalta in higher doses or more often than prescribed will not make it more effective, and may increase side effects.

Swallow the capsule whole and do not crush, chew, break, or open it.

Take with or without food.

Your blood pressure will need to be checked often.

Tell your doctor if you have any changes in sexual function, such as loss of interest in sex, trouble having an orgasm, or (in men) problems with erections or ejaculation. Some sexual problems can be treated.

Your symptoms may not improve for up to 4 weeks.

Do not stop using duloxetine suddenly, or you could have unpleasant symptoms (such as agitation, confusion, tingling or electric shock feelings). Ask your doctor before stopping the medicine.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

Dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Depression:

Initial dose: 20 mg to 30 mg orally 2 times a day
Maintenance dose: 60 mg per day, given either once a day OR 30 mg orally 2 times a day
Maximum dose: 120 mg/day.

Usual Adult Dose for Fibromyalgia:

Initial dose: 30 mg orally once a day for at least 1 week
Maintenance dose: 30 to 60 mg orally once a day.

Usual Adult Dose for Generalized Anxiety Disorder:

Initial dose: 60 mg orally once a day
Maintenance dose: 60 to 120 mg orally once a day
Maximum dose: 120 mg/day.

Usual Adult Dose for Pain:

Initial dose: 30 to 60 mg orally once a day
Maintenance dose: 60 mg orally once a day.

Usual Adult Dose for Neuropathic Pain:

Initial dose: 30 to 60 mg orally once a day
Maintenance dose: 60 mg orally once a day.

Usual Adult Dose for Chronic Pain:

Initial dose: 30 to 60 mg orally once a day
Maintenance dose: 60 mg orally once a day.

Usual Geriatric Dose for Generalized Anxiety Disorder:

Initial dose: 30 mg orally once a day for at least 2 weeks
Maintenance dose: 60 mg orally once a day
Maximum dose: 120 mg/day.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Generalized Anxiety Disorder:

7 to 17 years:
-Initial dose: 30 mg orally once a day for at least 2 weeks
-Maintenance dose: 30 to 60 mg orally once a day
-Maximum dose: 120 mg/day.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Fibromyalgia:

13 years and older:
-Initial dose: 30 mg orally once a day for at least 1 week
-Maintenance dose: 30 to 60 mg orally once a day.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

Overdose symptoms may include vomiting, dizziness or drowsiness, seizures, fast heartbeats, fainting, or coma.

What should I avoid while taking Cymbalta?

Ask your doctor before taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, Advil, Aleve, Motrin, and others. Using an NSAID with duloxetine may cause you to bruise or bleed easily.

Avoid driving or hazardous activity until you know how this medicine will affect you. Your reactions could be impaired. Dizziness or fainting can cause falls, accidents, or severe injuries.

Avoid getting up too fast from a sitting or lying position, or you may feel dizzy.

Drinking alcohol may increase your risk of liver damage, especially if you take Drizalma.

Cymbalta side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Cymbalta (hives, difficult breathing, swelling in your face or throat) or a severe skin reaction (fever, sore throat, burning eyes, skin pain, red or purple skin rash with blistering and peeling).

Tell your doctor right away if you have new or sudden changes in mood or behavior, including new or worse depression or anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or if you feel impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, more active or talkative, or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • pounding heartbeats or fluttering in your chest;

  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;

  • easy bruising, unusual bleeding;

  • vision changes;

  • painful or difficult urination;

  • liver problems - right-sided upper stomach pain, itching, dark urine, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);

  • low blood sodium - headache, confusion, problems with thinking or memory, weakness, feeling unsteady; or

  • manic episodes - racing thoughts, increased energy, decreased need for sleep, risk-taking behavior, being agitated or talkative.

Seek medical attention right away if you have symptoms of serotonin syndrome, such as: agitation, hallucinations, fever, sweating, shivering, fast heart rate, muscle stiffness, twitching, loss of coordination, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Common Cymbalta side effects may include:

  • drowsiness;

  • nausea, constipation, loss of appetite;

  • dry mouth; or

  • increased sweating.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect Cymbalta?

Sometimes it is not safe to use certain medications at the same time. Some drugs can affect your blood levels of other drugs you take, which may increase side effects or make the medications less effective.

Ask your doctor before taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, Advil, Aleve, Motrin, and others. Using an NSAID with Cymbalta may cause you to bruise or bleed easily.

Many drugs can interact with duloxetine. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed here. Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use.

Frequently asked questions

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Cymbalta only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.