Highlighting side effects, warnings, interactions, and more


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US brand name: Cymbalta
Generic name: duloxetine

Cymbalta’s Potential Side Effects

Potential Side Effects All Crazy Meds Have

No matter which neurological and/or psychiatric drug you take, you’ll probably get one or more of these side effects. These will usually be gone, or at least will diminish to the point where you barely notice it most of the time, within a week or two.

  • Headache
  • Drowsiness / fatigue - even when taking stimulants in some circumstances.
  • Insomnia, instead of or alternating with the drowsiness.
  • Nausea
  • Assorted other minor GI complaints (constipation, diarrhea, etc.)
  • Generally feeling spacey / out of it
    • Which can all add up to the ever-helpful “flu-like symptoms” listed as an adverse event on the PI sheet of practically every medication on the planet used to treat almost any condition humans and other animals could have.1
  • All crazy meds can, and probably will affect your dreams as well. There is no way of telling if that will be good or bad, let alone if this side effect is permanent or temporary.
  • Any of the above side effects you see listed again below means they’re even more likely to happen and/or stick around longer and/or are worse than most other meds.

Typical Potential Side Effects

The usual for SNRIs - headache, nausea, dry mouth, sweating, urinary hesitancy (it is a med for urinary incontinence after all), sleepiness or insomnia, diarrhea or constipation (my money is on the latter), weight gain, loss of libido and a host of other sexual dysfunctions. Most everything but the constipation, urinary hesitancy and weight gain, if any, will go away in a couple of weeks. As with most SNRIs sexual dysfunction is a coin toss, and many women will get a sexual boost instead of a sexual dampening.

Uncommon Potential Side Effects

Controlled narrow glaucoma (but you already have to be at risk for eye problems to start with), elevated liver serum (your doctor should have you get an annual liver panel), blurry vision, muscle cramps, and weight loss (yes, that can be a problem).

Freaky Rare Side Effects

Retinal detachment. Excessive disturbing and disabling yawning. I guess they considered it “excessive and disturbing” because Lexapro wasn’t involved.

Not all side effects have been listed here, just the most likely and most interesting. For all reported side effects, see Cymbalta’s PI Sheet.

What You Really Need to be Careful About

Do NOT drink alcohol when taking Cymbalta. Your liver could explode. Cymbalta is NOT like SSRIs where an occasional drink is OK, or SNRIs where you risk only turning into a raging alcoholic. Cymbalta + booze = a short-lived raging alcoholic.

Pregnancy Category

C-Use with caution

Cymbalta’s Noted Drug-Drug, Drug-Food & Drug-Supplement Interactions

  • Luvox ( fluvoxamine ). As both an SSRI and an extremely potent CYP1A2 inhibitor, taking Luvox and Cymbalta together could either save you or seriously mess you up. Or both.
  • Smoking can reduce the bioavailability and speed up the clearance of Cymbalta. It’s not known if you need to increase your dosage if you smoke. But as nicotine can reduce Cymbalta’s bioavailability by up to one third, and its bioavailability is only 50% to begin with, I imagine smokers (or however you indulge your nicotine habit) probably need more Cymbalta than the nicotine-free.
  • As an inhibitor of CYP2D6, Cymbalta interacts with about half the meds discussed on this site, tamoxifen , and a buttload of others in the world’s pharmacopeia.
Check for Other Drug-Drug, Drug-Food & Drug-Supplement Interactions Cymbalta may have at

Drugs.com’s drug-drug and drug-food interaction checker

It’s always a good idea to check for drug-drug interactions yourself. Just because most people in the crazy meds business know about really important interactions (e.g. MAOIs and a lot of stuff, warfarin and everything on the planet) doesn’t mean the person who prescribed your meds told you about them, or the pharmacist has all the meds you take at their fingertips like they’re supposed to. Or they have the time to do their jobs properly when not dealing with complete idiots or playing Angry Farmers on teh Faecesbooks.
Learn more about drug-everything interactions on our page of tips about taking crazy meds.

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« Cymbalta’s Uses and Using | Cymbalta’s Pros and Cons »

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1 As well as being an indication of half of said conditions.

Last modified on Wed, 04 May, 2016 at 17:03:03 by JerodPoorePage Author Date created April 05, 2011, at 15:24:23
“Cymbalta (duloxetine) Pharmacology” by Jerod Poore is copyright © 2011 Jerod Poore Published online 2011/04/05

Cymbalta, and all other drug names on this page and used throughout the site, are the trademarks of someone else. Cymbalta’s PI Sheet will probably have the name of the manufacturer and trademark owner (they’re not always the same company) at or near the very bottom. Or ask Google who the owner is. The way pharmaceutical companies buy each other and swap products like Monopoly™ real estate, the ownership of the trademark may have changed without my noticing. It may of changed hands by the time you finished reading this article.

Page design and explanatory material by Jerod Poore, copyright © 2003 - 2016. All rights reserved. See the full copyright notice for full copyright details.
Don’t automatically believe everything you read on teh Intergoogles. No warranty is expressed or implied in this information. Consult one or more doctors and/or pharmacists before taking, or changing how you take any neurological and/or psychiatric medication. Your mileage may vary. What happened to us won’t necessarily happen to you. For more details see the Crazymeds big-ass disclaimer.

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