Foods to avoid while taking Cymbalta

Unless your healthcare provider instructs you to avoid certain foods, it is ok to stick to your regular diet while taking Cymbalta.

Cymbalta is the brand name for an FDA-approved (Food and Drug Administration) antidepressant medication. It’s prescribed to treat mental health disorders such as major depressive disorder in adults, as well as generalized anxiety disorder, fibromyalgia, diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain (chronic pain), and chronic musculoskeletal pain.

The active ingredient in Cymbalta is called duloxetine, a type of antidepressant called a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). Usually, any excess serotonin and norepinephrine is quickly re-absorbed by the neurons that create it. Duloxetine stops this happening (reuptake inhibition), causing concentrations of serotonin and norepinephrine to build up in the brain. These chemicals influence your thoughts, mood, and emotions, and increasing their levels is associated with a reduction in depression and anxiety.

Cymbalta also works as an analgesic, reducing the pain you feel. It likely does this by reducing the sensitivity of your nerves to pain and by blocking the way pain signals are sent around your body.

How do I know if Cymbalta is working?

Improvement in sleep, appetite, or energy may be seen within the first couple of weeks of treatment with Cymbalta. These improvements in symptoms are an early sign that the treatment is working. It may take up to 2 months to see an improvement in mood or a lack of interest in daily activities.

What are the side effects of Cymbalta?

The most common side effects of Cymbalta in clinical trials include:

  • Headaches
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Lack of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Reduced sex drive, and problems orgasming

More serious side effects of Cymbalta include:

  • Increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors
  • Sudden changes in mood or behavior – anxiety, trouble sleeping, irritable, aggressive, restless
  • Allergic reactions to the medication – hives, trouble breathing, swelling of your face, lips, mouth or throat, severe skin reactions, fever, skin rash, skin pain, sore throat, and burning eyes
  • High blood pressure
  • Liver failure

These aren’t all the side effects Cymbalta may cause. You can find more details in the patient leaflet that comes with your medication. If you have any concerns about adverse effects, talk to your physician or pharmacist. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at

What are the long-term side effects of Cymbalta?

Long-term side effects of Cymbalta are associated with what is known as discontinuation syndrome after the last dose of Cymbalta leaves the body. These symptoms can be life-threatening.

Cymbalta can cause withdrawal symptoms, suicidal thoughts and behaviors, especially in teenagers and young adults. Patients are advised to consult their doctor on how to taper down their dose safely before stopping treatment with Cymbalta.

Stopping treatment with Cymbalta suddenly may cause the re-emergence of symptoms such as confusion, dizziness, headaches, mood swings, increased thoughts of suicide, and general tiredness. Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms may also occur, these include seizures, nausea, vomiting, nightmares, muscles aches, and sexual dysfunction.

Long-term side effects may continue for weeks or months after stopping treatment with Cymbalta, regardless of whether Cymbalta has left your system or not.

What are Cymbalta side effects in females?

Side effects in females are the same as they are for males. Common side effects will include drowsiness, dry mouth, nausea, loss of appetite, and constipation. More serious side effects will include feeling light headed or faint, unusual bleeding, changes in vision, painful or difficult urination, liver problems, low blood sodium, and manic episodes.

Females may have symptoms of serotonin syndrome, such as hallucinations, agitation, sweating, fever, increased heart rate, loss of coordination, muscle twitching or stiffness, nausea, and vomiting.

Cymbalta warnings & precautions

Don’t take Cymbalta if you:

  • Are allergic to the active ingredient duloxetine
  • Are allergic to any of the other ingredients in Cymbalta (listed in the leaflet which comes with the medication)
  • Have liver disease
  • Have a severe kidney disease
  • Are under 18 years of age

Talk to a healthcare professional about your medical condition before taking Cymbalta if you:

  • Have previously had thoughts about harming yourself or committing suicide
  • Have kidney disease
  • Have ever had fits or seizures
  • Have ever experienced mania
  • Have bipolar disorder
  • Have any eye problems, including any kind of glaucoma
  • Have any bleeding disorders
  • Are at risk of having low sodium levels, for instance, if you’re taking diuretics
  • Are intolerant to some sugars
  • Are under 25 years of age
  • Are pregnant or trying to become pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed

Can you drink caffeine with Cymbalta?

Consuming drinks high in caffeine such as coffee can increase your risk of developing serotonin syndrome. Symptoms would include hallucinations, agitation, sweating, fever, increased heart rate, loss of coordination, muscle twitching or stiffness, nausea, and vomiting.

What does Cymbalta do to your stomach?

Cymbalta may cause abdominal pain but this is not a common side effect. Pain in the stomach area could be a sign of liver problems.

Does Cymbalta cause weight gain?

Weight loss is more common with Cymbalta than weight gain in the first 8 to 9 weeks of Cymbalta treatment, with some weight gain possible after 8 months of treatment. Weight loss may be due to side effects such as nausea or loss of appetite. Speak to your healthcare provider for medical advice.

Can I have a glass of wine while taking Cymbalta?

Drinking alcohol is not advised while taking Cymbalta. Alcohol consumption may increase your risk of liver damage, worsen side effects and make Cymbalta less effective for the treatment of anxiety or depression.

Does Cymbalta affect appetite?

Decreased appetite and weight loss is commonly associated with serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors such as Cymbalta due to gastrointestinal side effects.

Who should not take Cymbalta?

Do not take Cymbalta if you:

  • Have a heart problem
  • Are taking or have taken medicines for depression within the last 14 days
  • Have glaucoma
  • Have had a seizure, manic episodes, or bipolar disorder
  • Are allergic to the active ingredient duloxetine
  • Are allergic to any of the other ingredients in Cymbalta
  • Have liver disease
  • Have a severe kidney disease
  • Are under 18 years of age

How to lose weight while taking Cymbalta

Cymbalta has been seen to cause a small amount of weight loss in the first few weeks of treatment. Maintaining a healthy well balanced diet, rich in fruits and vegetable, and low in fatty foods high in salt or sugar, as well as physical activity such as exercise is the best way to lose weight while taking Cymbalta.

What should I avoid while taking Cymbalta?

You do not need to avoid any particular foods while taking Cymbalta. However, avoid MAO inhibitors such as isocarboxazid, metaxalone, moclobemide, phenelzine, rasagiline, and tranylcypromine during treatment with Cymbalta.

Is it best to take Cymbalta at night or morning?

Cymbalta may be taken at any time of day, as long as you take it at the same time each day.

What can I eat when taking Cymbalta?

You can continue with your diet as normal as there are no interactions of any food types with Cymbalta.

Cymbalta drug interactions

Cymbalta can interact with other medications. These include:

  • Other medications that can increase serotonin levels, like other SSRI and SNRI antidepressants, tramadol, tryptophan, or St John’s Wort
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Medicines that cause sleepiness, like strong painkillers, benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, phenobarbital, and antihistamines
  • NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen
  • Medicines that thin your blood or prevent it from clotting, like anticoagulants or antiplatelet agents such as warfarin

When Cymbalta is taken with other medicines, they may interact and change how those work. It may also increase the severity and frequency of certain side effects. Make sure your healthcare provider is aware of all the medications you take, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Medically reviewed

A medical professional has reviewed this article.

Jamie Winn, PharmD
Jamie Winn, PharmD

Jamie Winn, PharmD

Medical Writer & Reviewer

Jamie Winn, PharmD

Medical Writer & Reviewer

Dr. Jamie Winn received his Doctor of Pharmacy in 2002 from the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy, Columbia, SC. Jamie is a medical reviewer for NiceRx.

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  1. FDA - highlights of prescribing information for Cymbalta

  2. - Cymbalta and Alcohol/Food Interactions

The content on this website is intended for information purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice. The information on this website should not be relied upon and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always speak to your doctor regarding the risks and benefits of any treatment.