If you have anxiety, pain, or depression, your medical professional might recommend that you take a prescription drug called Cymbalta.

Cymbalta is used to treat:

Cymbalta comes as a capsule that you’ll swallow. It’s typically taken as a long-term treatment. The active drug in Cymbalta is called duloxetine. If you’d like to learn more about Cymbalta, including specifics about its uses, you can see this overview of the medication.

As with other drugs, taking Cymbalta may cause side effects that can be mild or serious. For more information, we encourage you to keep reading.

While taking Cymbalta, mild or serious side effects may occur.

Here are some examples of side effects commonly reported with Cymbalta treatment:

The side effects listed above are only a few of the possible side effects that can happen with Cymbalta. In the sections below, we review other possible mild and serious side effects the drug may cause.

* To learn more about this side effect, see “Side effects up-close” below.

You may have mild side effects from Cymbalta.

Examples of mild side effects that have been reported with Cymbalta include:

* To learn more about this side effect, see “Side effects up-close” below.

In most cases, the mild side effects of Cymbalta should be temporary. Some may be easily managed as well. But if you have any symptoms that bother you, we encourage you to talk with your medical professional or pharmacist. Also, it’s important that you don’t stop using Cymbalta unless your medical professional recommends it.

It’s possible for Cymbalta to cause mild side effects other than the ones listed above. You can see the Cymbalta medication guide for more information.

Note: After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a medication, it tracks side effects of the drug. If you’d like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Cymbalta, you can visit MedWatch.

Cymbalta may cause serious side effects, although most are rare.

Serious side effects that have been reported with Cymbalta include:

If you develop serious side effects while taking Cymbalta, it’s important to call your medical professional immediately. If you feel the side effects are life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency, it’s vital to call 911 or your local emergency number right away.

* To learn more about this side effect, you can see “Side effects up-close” below.
† An allergic reaction is possible after using Cymbalta. But this side effect wasn’t reported in the drug’s initial studies.
Cymbalta has a boxed warning for this side effect. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). To learn more, you can see “Side effects up-close” below.

Cymbalta can be used to treat:

Most side effects of Cymbalta in children are expected to be the same as side effects in adults. But weight loss may be more common in children taking Cymbalta than in adults.

Cymbalta also has a boxed warning for suicidal thoughts and behaviors in children, adolescents, and young adults. A boxed warning appears on the drug’s label and alerts you to possible serious risks. For details, you can see the “Side effects up-close” section below.

Below are answers to a few frequently asked questions about the side effects of Cymbalta.

How long do Cymbalta side effects last?

It depends. Most side effects of Cymbalta usually get better or go away within hours or days after starting the drug.

But some side effects of Cymbalta might last for much longer. For details, you can see the “Does Cymbalta have long-term side effects?” section below.

Are certain Cymbalta side effects specific to older adults?

Yes, adults ages 65 and older may have a higher risk for certain side effects of Cymbalta.

For example, compared with younger people, older people may have a higher risk for:

To learn more about how your age affects your risk for side effects from Cymbalta, you can talk with your medical professional.

Is weight gain one of Cymbalta’s side effects?

No, weight gain wasn’t a side effect reported in studies of Cymbalta.

But keep in mind that depression, which Cymbalta is used to treat, can cause weight changes. So, if you have weight changes while you’re taking Cymbalta, this could be due to Cymbalta reducing your depression symptoms. Weight changes may not be caused by Cymbalta itself.

If you’re concerned about weight gain while taking Cymbalta, we recommend talking with your medical professional. They can suggest ways to maintain a weight that’s healthy for you.

Do side effects of Cymbalta vary based on the dose or strength?

Yes, the side effects of Cymbalta can vary based on the dose or strength you’re taking.

Cymbalta comes as a capsule that you swallow. The capsules are available in the following strengths: 20 milligrams (mg), 30 mg, and 60 mg. Sometimes you may be prescribed more than one strength. For example, if you’re prescribed a 90-mg dose, you may be advised to take both the 30-mg and 60-mg doses.

In studies of Cymbalta, certain side effects were more likely to happen with higher doses of the drug. Examples include:

If you have questions about your risk for certain side effects from Cymbalta, we suggest that you talk with your medical professional.

* To learn more about this side effect, you can see “Side effects up-close” below.

Does Cymbalta cause abdominal pain?

Yes, you may have pain in your abdomen (stomach area) after taking Cymbalta. But this was one of the least common side effects in studies of the drug.

It’s important to note that pain in your abdomen can be a sign of liver problems. In rare cases, Cymbalta may cause serious liver problems, such as liver failure.

Let your medical professional know if you have abdominal pain while taking Cymbalta. They may recommend that you have tests to check your liver function.

Note: Your risk of liver problems with Cymbalta is higher if you drink high amounts of alcohol. We recommend talking with your medical professional about the amount of alcohol that’s safe for you to drink while taking Cymbalta.

Most side effects of Cymbalta are generally expected to be the same for females* and males* who take the drug.

But in studies of Cymbalta, sexual side effects were more common in males than in females. Sexual side effects that can be caused by Cymbalta are described below in the “Side effects up-close” section.

Other side effects of Cymbalta that are specific to females are related to using Cymbalta during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. For details, you can see the “What are the warnings about Cymbalta?” section below.

If you have questions about your risk for certain side effects of Cymbalta, talk with your medical professional.

* In this article, we use the terms “male” and “female” to refer to someone’s sex assigned at birth. For information about the difference between sex and gender, you can see this article.

Most side effects of Cymbalta typically get better or go away within hours or days of taking the drug. But some rare side effects of Cymbalta might last longer.

For example, eye-related side effects* and liver problems, such as liver failure, may be permanent. Or they may cause problems that last for months or years.

Additionally, withdrawal symptoms and sexual side effects* from Cymbalta may last for several weeks or months after you stop taking the drug. Withdrawal symptoms are side effects that can occur after suddenly stopping a drug. Withdrawal symptoms from stopping Cymbalta can include:

Your medical professional can provide more details about what to expect with Cymbalta treatment.

* To learn more about this side effect, you can see “Side effects up-close” below.

Here’s some additional information about certain side effects that Cymbalta may cause.

Sexual side effects

Cymbalta can cause sexual side effects. These side effects were more common in males* than in females* during studies.

Sexual side effects that commonly occurred in males taking Cymbalta include:

Keep in mind that certain conditions Cymbalta is used to treat, such as depression, can also cause some sexual side effects. So, it might be hard to tell whether these side effects may be caused by Cymbalta or the condition you’re taking the drug to treat.

* In this article, we use the terms “male” and “female” to refer to someone’s sex assigned at birth. For information about the difference between sex and gender, you can see this article.

Ways to help manage

We recommend telling your medical professional if you have sexual side effects while you’re taking Cymbalta. They can help figure out if the side effects may be from Cymbalta or from your condition.

Sweating

Sweating more than usual can occur with Cymbalta treatment. This effect was common in studies of the drug.

With excessive sweating, you may sweat more than usual without a known cause (such as heat or exercise).

Ways to help manage

If you experience excessive sweating with Cymbalta, it’s advised that you tell your medical professional. They may prescribe a prescription-strength antiperspirant for you.

If your excessive sweating is severe, your medical professional may also prescribe Botox (onabotulinumtoxinA). For this purpose, Botox is injected into certain sweat glands to prevent them from producing sweat.

If you have questions about sweating during Cymbalta treatment, we encourage you to talk with your medical professional.

Eye-related side effects

Eye-related side effects of Cymbalta are possible with Cymbalta.

For example, blurry vision was a common side effect in studies of Cymbalta. Other eye-related side effects were less common in studies, such as double vision and dry eyes.

If you have closed-angle glaucoma (also called angle-closure glaucoma), Cymbalta can also raise the risk of a glaucoma attack. A glaucoma attack can cause symptoms such as sudden blurry vision and eye pain. For details, see the “What are the warnings about Cymbalta?” section below.

Ways to help manage

If you have eye-related side effects while taking Cymbalta, it’s important to tell your medical professional right away. They can recommend treatments for you and check for any eye conditions.

Sleep-related side effects

Side effects that affect sleep were common in studies of Cymbalta.

Cymbalta may cause different sleep-related side effects from person to person. For example, some people may feel very sleepy or tired after taking Cymbalta. On the other hand, some people may have insomnia (trouble sleeping) after taking Cymbalta.

You’ll usually know more about how Cymbalta affects you after you’ve taken several doses of the drug.

Ways to help manage

If you feel very tired or sleepy after taking the drug, you may have problems with thinking, coordination, or judgment. And these effects could be dangerous while driving. You should avoid driving until you know how Cymbalta will affect you.

If you find that Cymbalta makes you tired or sleepy, it may be best to take your dose at bedtime. But if Cymbalta causes insomnia for you, you might want to take the drug in the morning. Make sure to follow recommendations from your medical professional about when to take your doses.

If you’re concerned about sleep-related side effects from Cymbalta, your medical professional can recommend ways to manage them.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, Cymbalta can cause an allergic reaction in some people. But this side effect wasn’t reported in the drug’s initial studies.

Symptoms of an allergic reaction can be mild or serious and can include:

  • skin rash
  • itchiness
  • flushing (temporary warmth, redness, or deepening of skin color)
  • swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of your mouth, tongue, or throat, which can make it hard to breathe

Ways to help manage

If you develop mild symptoms of an allergic reaction, such as itchiness, we recommend that you call your medical professional right away. They may suggest an over-the-counter product to help ease your symptoms.

If they confirm that you had a mild allergic reaction to Cymbalta, they can advise you on whether it’s safe for you to keep taking it.

If you have symptoms of a severe allergic reaction, such as trouble breathing or swelling, it’s important to call 911 or your local emergency number right away. These symptoms could be life threatening and require immediate medical care.

If your medical professional confirms you had a serious allergic reaction to Cymbalta, they may recommend that you switch to a different treatment.

Suicidal thoughts and behaviors

Cymbalta has a boxed warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about suicidal thoughts and behaviors. The boxed warning appears on the drug’s label and alerts you to possible serious risks.

This risk affects children, adolescents, and adults ages 24 and younger who take an antidepressant, such as Cymbalta. Keep in mind that Cymbalta isn’t approved to treat depression in children younger than 18 years old.* The risk for these side effects is highest if you recently started taking the drug, or if your dosage was recently changed.

While you’re taking Cymbalta, it’s recommended to watch for the following symptoms:

* Cymbalta is approved to treat generalized anxiety disorder and fibromyalgia in certain children.

Ways to help manage

It’s important to tell your medical professional right away if you have any unusual changes in moods, behaviors, feelings, or thoughts while taking Cymbalta. They may adjust your treatment plan or prescribe a treatment other than Cymbalta for you.

Monitoring side effects

While you take Cymbalta, you may want to write down information about any side effects you develop. You can share these notes with your medical professional. This can be very helpful to do when you first take new medications or use multiple treatments.

In your notes, you can include answers to questions such as:

  • What dose was I taking when I developed the side effect?
  • How long after taking that dose did I have the side effect?
  • What symptoms did I develop?
  • How did the side effect impact my everyday activities?
  • What other medications was I also taking?
  • What other information do I think is important to share?

By writing down notes and sharing them with your medical professional, they’ll learn how Cymbalta affects you. They can use this information to adjust your treatment plan as needed.

It may not be safe to take Cymbalta if you have certain conditions. We describe these below in more detail.

FDA boxed warning: Suicidal thoughts and behaviors

Cymbalta has a boxed warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about suicidal thoughts and behaviors. The boxed warning appears on the drug’s label and alerts you to possible serious risks.

This risk affects children, adolescents, and young adults who take an antidepressant, such as Cymbalta. But keep in mind that Cymbalta isn’t approved to treat depression in children younger than 18 years old.

For details, you can see the “Side effects up-close” section above.

Other warnings

Cymbalta may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. It’s important to talk with your medical professional about your health history before you take Cymbalta. We describe some of these conditions below.

Low blood sodium level. Cymbalta can cause a low sodium level in your blood. If you have a low sodium level, it’s recommended that you talk with your medical professional before starting Cymbalta. They may temporarily delay your Cymbalta treatment until your sodium level increases to a healthy level.

Bleeding problems. Cymbalta may increase your risk for bleeding. If you already have bleeding problems or if you’re taking certain other medications, your risk may be even higher. Before taking Cymbalta, you’re advised to tell your medical professional if you have any bleeding problems, such as hemophilia. You should also let them know if you’re taking other medications that increase your risk for bleeding, such as warfarin.

Diabetes. Make sure to tell your medical professional if you have diabetes before you start taking Cymbalta. The drug can make it harder to manage blood sugar levels. Your medical professional may monitor your blood sugar levels more closely than usual if you take Cymbalta.

Kidney problems or liver problems. If you have any problems with your kidneys or liver, your body may not be able to get rid of Cymbalta as well as it should. This could cause the drug to build up in your body, which increases your risk for side effects from the drug. Before you take Cymbalta, it’s important to tell your medical professional about any kidney or liver problems you have.

Bipolar disorder or a history of hypomania or mania. Cymbalta may cause hypomania or mania. (These are periods of high energy and excitement, usually related to bipolar disorder.) Before taking Cymbalta, it’s recommended that you tell your medical professional if you have bipolar disorder or a history of these conditions. They may prescribe a drug other than Cymbalta for you.

Seizure disorders. Cymbalta may cause seizures. If you have a seizure disorder, your risk for seizures with Cymbalta may be even higher. Let your medical professional know if you have a seizure disorder before you take Cymbalta.

Heart problems. If you have heart problems, such as high blood pressure, it’s important to tell your medical professional before starting Cymbalta. This is important because Cymbalta can raise your blood pressure. So, if you already have high blood pressure or other heart problems, you may not be able to take Cymbalta.

Angle-closure glaucoma. Let your medical professional know if you have angle-closure glaucoma before starting Cymbalta. The drug can raise the risk of a glaucoma attack in people who have this condition. A glaucoma attack may cause symptom such as sudden blurry vision and eye pain. If you have symptoms of a glaucoma attack while taking Cymbalta, it’s important to call 911 or your local emergency number right away.

Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Cymbalta or any of its ingredients, it’s important to avoid taking Cymbalta. Your medical professional can tell you what other medications are better options for you.

Slowed emptying of your stomach contents. Cymbalta capsules are covered in a coating that protects the drug from your stomach acid. If you have a condition (such as diabetes) that slows the emptying of the contents of your stomach, your body could break down the capsule’s coating. This could make Cymbalta less effective for your condition. Before taking Cymbalta, it’s important to tell your medical professional if you have a condition that slows your stomach from emptying.

Alcohol use and Cymbalta

It may not be safe to drink alcohol while taking Cymbalta.

Cymbalta treatment and heavy alcohol use can each cause serious liver problems, such as liver failure. Drinking alcohol while taking Cymbalta may further increase your risk for these side effects.

If you drink alcohol, it’s important to talk with your medical professional about alcohol use before starting Cymbalta.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding while taking Cymbalta

It may not be safe to take Cymbalta while pregnant. Taking Cymbalta during the month before you give birth can increase the risk for severe bleeding after delivery. If you’re pregnant or planning to be pregnant, you’re encouraged to talk with your medical professional about the risks and benefits of taking Cymbalta during pregnancy.

If you take Cymbalta during pregnancy, consider enrolling in a pregnancy registry. These registries gather information about the effects of a drug when it’s taken during pregnancy. This information can help researchers understand the risks and benefits of using the drug during pregnancy.

To enroll in Cymbalta’s pregnancy registry and report side effects of the drug when used during pregnancy, you can visit the registry’s site. You can also call 866-814-6975.

Cymbalta can pass into breast milk. If you breastfeed while taking the drug, it’s recommended that you watch for the following side effects in your child:

  • poor feeding
  • poor weight gain
  • tiredness

If you want to learn more about taking Cymbalta while pregnant or breastfeeding, you can talk with your medical professional.

It’s possible for Cymbalta to be misused. Misuse means taking a drug differently from the way your medical professional recommends taking it.

However, studies of Cymbalta have shown a low risk for misuse of the drug.

Be sure to take Cymbalta exactly as your medical professional prescribes it for you. They may regularly assess you for signs of misuse while you’re taking Cymbalta.

Cymbalta may cause side effects, but they’re usually mild. Most of the drug’s side effects typically get better or go away with time.

If you have questions about possible side effects from Cymbalta, you can talk with your medical professional or pharmacist. Here are a few questions that may be helpful to ask:

  • How much alcohol is safe for me to drink while taking Cymbalta?
  • What’s my risk for misuse of Cymbalta?
  • Do I have any health conditions that might raise my risk for side effects from Cymbalta?

While you take Cymbalta, you may find it helpful to speak with a therapist or join a support group. You may also be interested in ways to afford therapy. The following articles might be helpful to you:

You can also visit the BetterHelp website to search for online counseling.

In addition, you can sign up for the Psych Central newsletter. We share stories from other people on mental health journeys as well as current information about treatments.

Disclaimer: Psych Central 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.