Duloxetine (Cymbalta): A Quick Glance

cymbalta cover

Duloxetine (Cymbalta) is a drug that has been approved by the FDA to treat depression and anxiety. It is also used for treating diabetic nerve pain, chronic low back pain, and fibromyalgia. This article will cover what you need to know about Duloxetine, including side effects and everything else.

What Is Duloxetine (Cymbalta)?

Duloxetine (Cymbalta) formula

Duloxetine (Cymbalta) is a medication that is used to treat depression, anxiety, and pain. It works by increasing the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. These are two neurotransmitters that help to improve mood and reduce feelings of anxiety. Duloxetine may also be used to treat other conditions as determined by your doctor.

What Does Duloxetine (Cymbalta) Treat?

Duloxetine is used to treat symptoms of depression, anxiety, and nerve pain (also known as neuropathic pain). Some doctors may also use duloxetine for stress urinary incontinence or fibromyalgia, musculoskeletal pain.


Fibromyalgia causes a person’s muscles to ache and feel painful, even with gentle pressure. It can also cause fatigue (tiredness), sleep problems, stiffness in the joints, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or bladder issues.

Musculoskeletal Pain

Musculoskeletal pain can occur anywhere in the body. Examples of musculoskeletal pain include backache, neck ache, knee or hip pain, and more.

How Should I Take Duloxetine (Cymbalta)?

Duloxetine comes as a tablet and capsule that you take by mouth. You should take it once a day with or without food.

Your doctor will likely start you on a low dose of duloxetine and gradually increase your dose, depending on how well it works for you and any side effects that you may experience.

What Happens If I Miss A Dose Of Duloxetine (Cymbalta)?

If you miss a dose of duloxetine, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dosing. Skip the missed dosing and continue with your regular dosing schedule.

NOTE: Do not take two doses at once to make up for a missed one.

What Should I Avoid While Taking Duloxetine (Cymbalta)?

Do not drink alcohol while taking duloxetine. Alcohol can increase the side effects of duloxetine, such as dizziness and fainting spells.

What Happens If I Overdose With Duloxetine (Cymbalta)?

If you overdose with duloxetine immediately call your doctor or local poison control center if you are receiving duloxetine.

Important Information I Should Know About Duloxetine (Cymbalta)


It is important to take duloxetine exactly as prescribed by your doctor. A few things that you need to keep in mind:

  • Duloxetine may increase the risk of suicide. If you experience any suicidal thoughts or behaviors, call your doctor immediately.
  • Duloxetine may also increase the risk of bleeding. Be sure to tell your doctor if you are taking any other medications that may increase the risk of bleeding.
  • Do not stop taking duloxetine without first talking to your doctor, as stopping can cause unpleasant symptoms.

Here is some important information that you should know about duloxetine:

  • Should not be taken with MAO inhibitors.
  • Can cause liver damage.
  • May interact with other medications, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
  • Should be taken with water on an empty stomach (at least one hour before or two hours after a meal)

Specific Concerns About Duloxetine (Cymbalta) And Pregnancy

Duloxetine is a category C drug, which means it is not clear whether it is safe for use during pregnancy. Duloxetine should only be used if the potential benefits outweigh the potential risks to the baby.

So, if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, talk with your doctor. As duloxetine is excreted in breast milk. So it could have undesirable effects on a breastfeeding baby. Talk to your doctor about the best way to feed your baby if you take duloxetine.

Possible Side Effects Of Duloxetine (Cymbalta)

Common Side Effects

Some side effects of duloxetine include:

  • Nausea,
  • Dry mouth or an unpleasant taste in your mouth,
  • Constipation,
  • Diarrhea,
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness when you stand up suddenly from a sitting or lying position or changes in your menstrual periods

Severe Side Effects

Some severe side effects of duloxetine include:

  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors,
  • Serious allergic reactions (rash, hives, itching, swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat),
  • Chest pain or a fast heartbeat,
  • Hallucinations

Risks For Taking Duloxetine (Cymbalta) For Long Periods Of Time

Some risks to taking duloxetine for a long time include:

  • Low white blood cell count,
  • Seizures (convulsions),
  • Serotonin Syndrome

Serotonin Syndrome

A very serious brain problem called serotonin syndrome that can be life-threatening or may cause death. Symptoms of this condition include:

  • Agitation;
  • Hallucinations;
  • Coma;
  • coordination problems or muscle twitching (or stiffness);
  • fast heartbeat;
  • High or low blood pressure;
  • Sweating or fever; nausea,
  • Vomiting, or
  • Diarrhea

Duloxetine should be used for the shortest possible time and at the lowest effective dose to avoid side effects. Prolonged use of duloxetine increases the risk that you will experience symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, and dizziness.

Other Medications That May Interact With Duloxetine (Cymbalta)


Duloxetine may interact with other medications you are taking, including:

  • Warfarin (Coumadin),
  • Aspirin,
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen sodium (Aleve),
  • Herbal supplements such as St. John’s wort,
  • Antidepressants such as fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), and sertraline (Zoloft)

How Long Does It Take For Duloxetine (Cymbalta) To Work?

It may take up to four weeks for duloxetine to work. However, some people experience relief from symptoms sooner. Your doctor will likely want to see you periodically to check on your progress and monitor for any side effects.


If you are considering taking duloxetine, be sure to discuss it with your doctor. He or she can help you decide if this medication is right for you. Duloxetine may cause side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, and dizziness.

It should be used for the shortest possible time and at the lowest effective dose to avoid these side effects. Your doctor will likely want to see you periodically to check on your progress and monitor for any side effects.

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