Cymbalta (duloxetine) is a prescribed medication with a brand name, employed in the treatment of various conditions, including:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Chronic (long-term) musculoskeletal pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Pain associated with diabetic neuropathy

Like many other medications, Cymbalta may have interactions with supplements and specific drugs. Notably, there is no evidence of interactions with alcohol or any types of food. An interaction occurs when one substance induces an effect in another substance that differs from the anticipated outcome.

When to avoid Cymbalta

In certain situations, the presence of a specific factor or condition may prevent your doctor from recommending Cymbalta due to the potential for harm, known as a contraindication. The contraindications associated with Cymbalta involve:

  1. Concurrent use or recent use of a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), which belongs to a class of antidepressants.

The combination of Cymbalta with an MAOI increases the risk of serotonin syndrome, a condition resulting from elevated levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the body. Serotonin syndrome may manifest with symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, hallucinations, and changes in blood pressure.

Examples of MAOIs that interact with Cymbalta include:

  • Linezolid (Zyvox)
  • Methylene blue (Provayblue)
  • Selegiline (Emsam)
  • Isocarboxazid (Marplan)
  • Phenelzine (Nardil)

Due to the potential for serotonin syndrome, doctors typically refrain from prescribing Cymbalta concurrently with an MAOI. It is common for your doctor to advise waiting at least 2 weeks after discontinuing an MAOI before initiating Cymbalta treatment. Similarly, after discontinuing Cymbalta, a waiting period of at least 5 days is usually recommended before starting an MAOI.

Before commencing Cymbalta treatment, it is crucial to inform your doctor about any potential contraindications. This allows them to assess whether prescribing the medication is appropriate for your specific circumstances.

Foods to Avoid while Taking Cymbalta

  1. Grapefruit and Grapefruit Juice:
    • It's advised to avoid grapefruit and its juice while taking Cymbalta, as they contain compounds that can interfere with medication metabolism, potentially leading to increased drug levels in the bloodstream.
  2. Alcohol:
    • Combining Cymbalta with alcohol may result in severe side effects like heightened drowsiness, dizziness, impaired coordination, and an increased risk of liver damage or worsening existing conditions.
  3. Fermented Foods:
    • While Cymbalta itself doesn't directly interact with tyramine in fermented foods, consuming excessive amounts of tyramine-rich foods might lead to complications, especially for individuals taking medications inhibiting tyramine breakdown.
  4. Spicy Foods:
    • Individuals on Cymbalta and prone to gastrointestinal issues should consider limiting or avoiding spicy foods, as compounds like capsaicin can irritate the digestive system.
  5. Excessive Salt Intake:
    • Due to Cymbalta's potential to raise blood pressure, it's advisable to limit salt intake to maintain optimal blood pressure levels.
  6. Artificial Sweeteners:
    • While generally considered safe, individuals taking Cymbalta for anxiety or depression should be cautious of any adverse effects and consider avoiding or limiting artificial sweeteners if sensitivity is observed.
  7. Caffeine:
    • Caffeine can affect neurotransmitters similarly to Cymbalta, potentially leading to increased stimulation or agitation. Moderation is key to avoid exacerbating anxiety or restlessness.
  8. Soy Products:
    • While not directly interacting with Cymbalta, soy products may interfere with medication absorption due to isoflavones inhibiting drug metabolism enzymes.
  9. High-Sugar Foods:
    • Cymbalta's impact on blood sugar levels makes it important to avoid overconsumption of high-sugar foods, which can cause rapid spikes followed by crashes, potentially worsening symptoms.
  10. High-Fat Foods:
    • High-fat foods should be avoided as they can affect Cymbalta's absorption and effectiveness, and may worsen common side effects like stomach discomfort, nausea, or diarrhea.
  11. Processed Meats:
    • Processed meats high in sodium and additives might interact with Cymbalta's effects and exacerbate potential side effects.
  12. Undercooked Seafood:
    • Raw or undercooked seafood poses a bacterial contamination risk, and it's advisable for those taking Cymbalta, and everyone else, to avoid such items to prevent illnesses.
  13. Allergenic Foods:
    • Individuals with known food allergies or sensitivities should be cautious and avoid allergenic foods, as allergic reactions can range from mild discomfort to severe conditions. Identifying and avoiding these allergens is crucial for overall wellbeing.

Read Also: ATV 40 pill: Uses, Dosage, Side Effects, Addiction

Pros and Cons of Cymbalta

Pros of Cymbalta

  • Effective for Multiple Conditions:
  • Dual Action:
  • Once-Daily Dosage:
  • Relief from Physical and Emotional Symptoms

Cons of Cymbalta

  • Side Effects
  • Withdrawal Symptoms
  • Interactions with Other Medications

Differences Between Cymbalta and Lupron


Primarily used for the treatment of mood disorders like depression and anxiety, as well as for managing chronic pain conditions.


Used in conditions where reducing the production of sex hormones is beneficial, such as in the treatment of prostate cancer, endometriosis, and precocious puberty.

Alternative to Cymbalta

For Depression and Anxiety

  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs): Medications like fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), or escitalopram (Lexapro) are commonly used to treat depression and anxiety.
  • Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs): Venlafaxine (Effexor) or desvenlafaxine (Pristiq) are other SNRIs that may be considered.

Cymbalta interactions with other medications

Before commencing Cymbalta treatment, inform your doctor and pharmacist of all the prescription, over-the-counter, and other medications you are currently taking. This proactive sharing of information can assist in averting potential interactions.

If you have inquiries regarding drug interactions that could impact you, seek guidance from your doctor or pharmacist.

Refer to the following chart for drugs that may interact with Cymbalta. Note that this chart is not exhaustive and does not encompass all possible drug interactions with Cymbalta. Detailed explanations of some interactions are provided below in the section titled "In-depth Drug Interactions."

Drug Group or Drug Name Drug Examples Interaction Result with Cymbalta
CYP1A2 inhibitors - fluvoxamine (Luvox) Can increase the risk of side effects from Cymbalta
- ciprofloxacin (Cipro)
- cimetidine (Tagamet HB)
CYP2D6 inhibitors - paroxetine (Brisdelle, Paxil, Pexeva) Can increase the risk of side effects from Cymbalta
- fluoxetine (Prozac)
- quinidine
Amphetamines - amphetamine/dextroamphetamine (Adderall, XR) Can increase the risk of side effects from Cymbalta and amphetamines
- dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine, Xelstrym)
- methamphetamine (Desoxyn)
Triptans - zolmitriptan (Zomig) Can increase the risk of side effects from Cymbalta and triptans
- eletriptan (Relpax)
- sumatriptan (Imitrex)
MAOIs* - selegiline (Emsam) Can increase the risk of side effects from Cymbalta and MAOIs
- isocarboxazid (Marplan)
- methylene blue (Provayblue)
- linezolid (Zyvox)
TCAs - nortriptyline (Pamelor) Can increase the risk of side effects from Cymbalta and TCAs
- amitriptyline
- imipramine (Tofranil)
Other SNRIs† - venlafaxine (Effexor XR) Can increase the risk of side effects from Cymbalta and other SNRIs
- desvenlafaxine (Pristiq)
- milnacipran (Savella)
NSAIDs - aspirin Can increase the risk of side effects from Cymbalta and NSAIDs
- naproxen (Aleve)
- ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
Antiarrhythmics - flecainide Can increase the risk of side effects from Cymbalta and antiarrhythmics
- propafenone (Rythmol SR)
- quinidine
Lithium (Lithobid) Can increase the risk of side effects from Cymbalta and lithium
Tramadol - tramadol (Conzip, Qdolo, Ultram) Can increase the risk of side effects from Cymbalta and tramadol
Fentanyl - fentanyl (Actiq, Lazanda, Subsys) Can increase the risk of side effects from Cymbalta and fentanyl
Buspirone Can increase the risk of side effects from Cymbalta and buspirone
Thioridazine Can increase the risk of side effects from thioridazine
Warfarin (Jantoven) Can increase the risk of side effects from Cymbalta and warfarin


It is crucial to approach Cymbalta treatment with a thorough understanding of potential interactions with other drugs. Before initiating the medication, open communication with your doctor and pharmacist about your current medication regimen is essential to mitigate the risk of adverse effects. The provided chart offers a glimpse into drugs that may interact with Cymbalta, but it is not an exhaustive list.

For a comprehensive understanding, refer to the detailed explanations in the "In-depth Drug Interactions" section. By staying informed and vigilant, you play an active role in ensuring the safe and effective management of your health during Cymbalta treatment. If uncertainties or questions arise, don't hesitate to consult your healthcare professionals for personalized guidance.

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