Cymbalta is a brand name for a medication called duloxetine.
Whether you are taking Cymbalta, to treat your depression or anxiety, or your doctor has prescribed Cymbalta to help with nerve pain, there are lifestyle changes you may need to make to ensure the drug works safely and effectively in your body.
Mixing alcohol with certain drugs, whether prescription or over-the-counter medications can result in serious side effects and cause complicated, dangerous interactions.
Duloxetine is a type of medication called a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, or SNRI.
It works by helping to restore the balance of certain natural substances (serotonin and norepinephrine) in the brain; alcohol may throw off this balance.
Alcohol mixed with Cymbalta may also cause liver damage or disease.
In this article, I’ll talk more about mixing alcohol and Cymbalta, including the risks for your liver and other side effects.
I’ll also talk about how Cymbalta may be used to help with alcohol withdrawal. Finally, I’ll tell you when to talk to your doctor.
Can You Drink Alcohol While Taking Cymbalta?
Drinking alcohol while taking Cymbalta can have serious implications on your health.
Mixing medication with alcohol can result in serious side effects.
Be sure to always read the label and follow the instructions given to you by your doctor or pharmacist.
Risk of liver damage
You run a heightened risk of liver problems if you drink alcohol while taking Cymbalta.
According to the Food and Drug Administration’s prescription label for Cymbalta, the medication is not recommended for people who regularly consume alcohol, who are heavy drinkers, and people with a history of heavy or chronic alcohol abuse.
Talk to your doctor before consuming alcohol while taking this medication.
Some tell-tale signs that you may have liver damage from Cymbalta and alcohol include:
Worsened side effects
According to the label for Cymbalta, mixing the medication with alcohol should not increase the impairment of your motor and mental skills that’s caused by drinking.
But drinking alcohol while taking Cymbalta can still exacerbate unwanted adverse effects.
Some common potential side effects associated with Cymbalta include:
Increased depression and anxiety
Cymbalta is often prescribed to treat depression and anxiety.
Alcohol is a depressant and can cause symptoms of depression or anxiety to become significantly worse.
You may experience temporary euphoric feelings from the alcohol, but in the long term, mixing alcohol and
Cymbalta may destabilize your mood and result in the following symptoms:
- Changes in sleep
- Increased anxiety or panic
- Mood swings
- Suicidal thoughts
Can Cymbalta be Used for Alcohol Withdrawal?
Alcohol use disorders can induce anxiety-like behaviors.
Because of this, if you are trying to stop drinking or have recently quit, Cymbalta may be an option to help you with alcohol withdrawal since the drug works to calm nerves.
Research has found that a low dose of duloxetine may be useful in lessening anxiety-like behaviors and alcohol intake.
Talk to your doctor to see if duloxetine is an option for you.
They will be able to evaluate your lifestyle, risk of liver injury, and medical history to determine whether Cymbalta may be an effective drug for your alcohol withdrawal.
When to See a Doctor
Antidepressant medications such as duloxetine are used to treat depression and other illnesses.
When taking a new medication, it’s important that you understand the potential side effects you may experience and follow the advice given to you by your healthcare provider.
According to the FDA-approved prescription label for Cymbalta, you should consult a licensed healthcare professional immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Aggression, anger, or violence
- Impulsive, reckless behaviors
- Mood changes or swings
- New or worsened depression or anxiety
- New or worsened irritability
- Panic attacks
- Suicidal attempts
- Suicidal thoughts
- Uncontrollable, excessive talking
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Frequently Asked Questions
K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.
K Health has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.
Chronic treatment with prazosin or duloxetine lessens concurrent anxiety-like behavior and alcohol intake: evidence of disrupted noradrenergic signaling in anxiety-related alcohol use. (2014).
Cymbalta (duloxetine hydrochloride). (2008).
Medications for Alcohol Use Disorders: An Overview. (2018).