Duloxetine ('Cymbalta') - Side effects

My PCP gave me a script for Cymbalta to help with thoracic pain. Has anyone had experience using this medication? I took just one pill and spent the night in the bathroom and now I’m afraid to take another one. I’ve been lucky so far in handling my fibro pain but after turning 70 it seems to have gotten considerably worse. Dizzy spells, mid back pain, etc. I was hoping the Cymbalta would be a help but maybe not so much. My PCP isn’t very supportive so I’m not sure he’ll prescribe something else. Any input is greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance!

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Hi bookjunkie (my wife is too :wink: )
No way sh’d anyone continue taking any med if they spent the night in the bathroom :bangbang:
(Unless it was something else, not the med, of course)
I didn’t tolerate any pain meds at all (skin, focal seizures), and herbs and supps didn’t help either, so I just have to/can change other things.

I’m afraid to take it again for sure. I’ve just been feeling so crummy lately I’m getting desperate. Having fibromyalgia means having so many other conditions you just don’t know what to treat first and most of the time nothing works anyway. I’ve never had dizziness and nausea before though I’m wondering what the heck is going on. I’m having an MRI on the spine next week so hopefully I’ll get some answers. Thanks for responding!

Hehe, walking right next to you there, with my 30 diagnoses and getting my annual MRI tomorrow - if my body’s up to it - to check if the tumour in my spinal canal is still behaving, which I think it is… Apart from that nothing shows up on MRIs (apart from the reason for my focal seizures - LOL), not much on my x-rays or skeleton scintigrams. But if I had dizziness & nausea I’d be getting that checked too. Come to think of it I did have it Jan20, but learnt to shut my eyes when moving my head, which helped, but then it stopped, dunno why. And nausea, along with cramps, I would still get if I still had some physio trying to get me to do their exercises as they think best. Nausea I get when using transverse muscles. Got better thru acupressure, but even there it sometimes cropped up. Doubt that’ll help you, apart from asking the same question as I asked: when and “why” do you seem to get it? If need be keeping diary on it, like I do for just about everything, now in my blog.

Thanks for the suggestion of keeping a diary. I’m definitely gonna start one. I hope your MRI shows good news. You sound so positive even though you have so much going on! I just get so frustrated with my PCP who just blows off my concerns like it’s all in my head. I didn’t want the Cymbalta because he seemed to think I was just depressed. I did research it and discovered it was supposed to help with the fibromyalgia and neuropathy pain. Obviously my body didn’t think it was such a good idea. :roll_eyes: I’m supposed to see another neurologist to check for MS but I’m holding off till I see what the orthopedic surgeon says. I’m just crossing one thing off at a time. There’s a neuromuscular doctor that a friend recommended so I’m going to check on that. She does osteopathic manipulation which I heard is better than the chiropractic care I’ve been receiving. Thanks again for responding. You hang in there and stay strong!

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MRI: Yep, it’s sitting comfortably, not growing, so I can forget it again for another year, unless I get new symptoms in my legs. :slight_smile:
Diary: I had a pain, sleep and gut/bladder diary. Each developed to about 20 different areas per day (30 for sleep) by the first part of 2020, abbreviated, which I all scaled from 0-10 per day, e.g. j4 for joints (which I’ve now found out are usually the tendons above and below, however), plus if need be their development during the day/night. In the course of 2020 I got all of them down pretty much, it’s really motivating to see/remember that, so now each is just one line in my daily blog. Of course I cdn’t focus on everything at the same time.
Positive: yep, I really am, but well-earned, getting my former problems starting at ?15 (gut, skin, back, nerves, anxiety) fully under control at 50, and very fit & healthy. Believing carried me thru. When my wife catastrofizes, like yesterday, I try to explain: I may look bad, but I’m just dead tired, I have very little pain, and I’m kind of fine inside, esp. now I’m on sick leave and can recover. Whilst other psychiatrists and docs concluded I must be depressed, my rehab-psychiatrist agrees fully with me I am not.
Cymbalta: Sounds a bit like amitriptyline, which I managed to try for 4 months last year, before 8 side effects added up. Other pain meds I got skin allergies or focal seizures from: My body also didn’t think any of this was a good idea.
Holding off/one thing at a time: Because of the long appt-waiting times and impatient for results or as you say: getting desperate, I did pretty much the opposite. That’s why I tally 45 docs, 15 physios and 65 treatments in 15 months and am now pretty clear of further exams except checks. When I was thru with several rheums, neuros, endo, orthos, radios, stomach/gut, alternative practition, rare disease centre, I checked up old things a second time: allergies, uro and skin, just to be sure. At the same time via higher blood pressure a lot of almost invisible cardiovascular stuff cropped up, a downer for a few days. Then rheum/fibro clinic also, altho my skepticism was ‘rewarded’ with being thrown back quite a bit. Only then did I feel ready to try to start working part time again, after having worked full time on my health/body :wink:. The short cut w’d’ve been to concentrate on physio-stuff, so:
Osteopathy: Is actually one of the central things that helped me for about 6 months, until acupressure took over. That said, I’ve had 3 osteopaths and only one really helped. And one difference with my acupressurist, she listens to my body, but also to me, and works on what pains I actually have, while the osteopaths “intuitively” helped things I wdn’t have realized, but which also didn’t help me as much as current pains…

My pains started too very young. Well before anyone had a name for the condition. I remember sitting in class and my shoulders would burn. I would lay down when I got home and it would ease off. Stomach pains too. Doctor figured it was all caused by a fall of 15 feet off a swing when I was 4. Who knows…
Wow and I thought I had a lot of Docs! :relaxed: That’s the one thing my Primary Care Doctor always shakes his head at. He thinks I see too many doctors but if he was more helpful I wouldn’t have to. I had to beg him to order an MRI for my thoracic spine. I saw a Rheumatologist for awhile but she turned me over to my PCP when I didn’t want to take a lot of pain meds (tramadol acetaminophen). I have my Gastro, ENT, Ortho,Cardiologist, Neuro (who I never saw, he just ordered tests and gave me muscle relaxers) and my Chiropractor. Who do you think has been the most help to you?
I have AFIB and I’ve been wondering if my heart meds are causing me grief. I’ve always been able to deal with the pain so far without many meds but this dizziness and nausea are doing me in along with the feeling of being antsy or buzzed all the time. I’m resenting the fact that I haven’t the energy to take my daily bike ride or walk with the dog. I worked till I was 65 and don’t think I could have worked much longer. I was a librarian and on my feet most of the day. I know I couldn’t do it now. All in all I can’t complain since I’ve been luckier than most at keeping the pain at bay or just dealing with it.
My PCP did give me Amitriptyline a long time ago but it didn’t help with the sleep much. I have a pinched nerve (meralgia paresthetica) in my right leg that gives me trouble at night. I can’t sleep on my back at all as the nerve will start to burn. Do you have trouble with neuropathy?
As you already know our bodies don’t tolerate medications very well. The list of allergic reactions to meds is extremely long. Rashes being the usual result.
I’m glad to hear your tumor is behaving itself! I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed it continues to do so and you’re feeling better.
I think I’ll schedule myself a long massage…my husband always thinks that helps my mental state. :relaxed:


I think I’d call my old problems a kind of ‘oversensitivity’, altho I’d not want to support the older theory that fibro is nerve oversensitivity.
I think my GP/primary isn’t concerned about the amount of docs, because he realizes what a lot I’ve got going on and that I know how to take docs. He usually talks shop with me about how hard is job is getting, so I wonder if I’m helping him more than he is me, but apart from a few major blunders he is generally just about there for me when I need him, like putting me on sick leave now.
Altho I still ‘have’ them if necessary, I don’t see most of my docs any more, only GP, rehab-psychiatrist and cardiologists.
Great question which docs have been the most help! Thought quite a bit about that. The big picture is that all 45 docs altogether have helped me about 10% (some +1 or 2%, some ±0%, some -1%).
The best ideas, summing about 50% actually came from my closest friends (cryotherapy, which lead to acupressure; cold showering and breath-holding; back yoga-DVD). Next just myself - meaning pacing, pinpointing symptoms, researching on the web etc. 30%. Altho as my wife just said, I could count it as 70%. Then 10% forums (ideas thru interacting). And lastly the 10% from the docs. And which most? None really :bangbang: But 2 or 3 great ideas from the alternative practitioner, altho she cdn’t herself help, also from my GP, 1 pointer from the centre for rare diseases (thyroid), but: :bangbang: none of these had to do with fibro.
For emotional support my rehab-psychiatrist, this forum, my belief and my wife are most important.
My heart has only small problems, and is getting checked, in my case it’s my genetically high blood fats, blood pressure and a bit too much plaque here and there. I don’t feel the statins have increased my muscular pain, and my Mediterranean diet helps get the fats under control. But I would like to leave off one of the 2 blood pressure meds, since its side effects are things I have anyway, so I’m working on that with relaxing and herbs.
Cycling is good for me, thankfully, like table tennis. But walking is hard, we now always take my bike with us. Working 40% (which has actually summed up to 60%) has been too hard, so I’m having to go down more. I’ll try to keep going at a minimum for the last 10 years till 67.
Neuropathy I have only every few days: warm shower down my left leg, tingling, burning here and there.
Rashes: Yep, exactly! (My dry oversensitive skin is a feast for chemicals :rofl:)
Massage by SO - great! Good to hear that helps! :hugs: I get my stroking more at the acupressure, but hugging a bit too, but gentle and not too long in my case. Have a nice day!

I just had to switch doctors again because of insurance plan and therefore starting all over and I’m going through the try Cymbalta’s triceps Celebrex you know all the things I have tried and also psychiatric help I’m just so burned out on it hang in there I hope it gets better for you

Cymbalta resulted in hallucinations and extreme dizziness when my Mom tried taking it. I will never take it.

I also had a negative reaction to Cymbalta (and I think that is fairly common, as the symptoms for which I was originally put on this med were ALL on the list of potential side effects to it). If it’s not the Cymbalta on it’s own that causes the problem, it’s the combination with other meds you’re on at the same time (and some doctors just will NOT check regarding which ones should/should not mix).
Meds prescribed in Australia to my knowledge are often in the anti-depressant class, as serotonin is a key factor in your body’s ability to manage mood and pain. Some doctors ignore the fact that we WANT to understand why things are happening/helping/causing additional issues. I was very lucky to work with a holistic therapist for a while who was very good on the explaining side (especially after a doctor who told me just about everything was caused by anxiety, which I know I have, but I don’t want that to be the end of the discussion- I need to know what I can do to help).
Trust your gut - if you “know” it won’t work or it will cause issues, it’s not worth putting yourself through that. Best of luck!


Hi there, I was reading your post and remembered my brother was put on Cymbalta for a while and he mentioned he had diarrhea also. Must be a side effect of this med, but he did say it got better after a few weeks, then finally went away. He sounds so much happier now. I have been prescribed Cymbalta in the past and most recently Zoloft, but I am such a scaredy cat when it comes to new meds that I am too afraid to try them because of all the side effects listed and I always seem to have reactions to every new med I try for anything! Anyway, I hope you can get some resolve on this issue!

Hi, bookjunkie! I’m one too! Mostly audio books these days…
I take Cymbalta and do benefit from relief from my nerve pain, to an extent. Even when the combo of meds I’m on is working well, my pain will never go below a 2 or 3, on a scale of 1 to 10. And, with a terrible FMS flair, it is hard to tell if my meds are working at all!
Your body is most likely telling you that it won’t tolerate this med. That doesn’t mean that it can’t adjust to other medications, so please don’t give up! Over the last 20 yrs, I’ve tried many medications, and when something affects me poorly, I talk to my doctor about trying something else. If your PCP is not supportive, perhaps you need a different doctor, or need to be referred to a pain specialist. Or, maybe you need a new PCP! Best of luck on your journey, and let us know how you are doing! :purple_heart:

Thanks so much for the support. I’m pretty sure I’m going to pass on the Cymbalta. Maybe I would get used to it after awhile but the one dose really did me in. I’m not sure why but my system just didn’t react well to it. It sure is exhausting trying to find something that helps. You take care and hang in there too!

I’m with you! I won’t be trying it again anytime soon.

Thanks for the response! I’m with you. I’m so tired of my Doctor thinking I’m just depressed or that I don’t really feel all that bad I’m just overreacting to the pain. It gets so frustrating that with Fibromyalgia you also have so many other conditions. IBS, OB, Neuropathy, allergies to medications, etc, etc. I always think that if my Doc felt like I have for 40 years he’d be screaming. :joy:

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Thanks for your support. I’d love it if the Cymbalta would work but after spending 4 hours sitting in the bathroom I’m pretty Leary of trying it again. :grimacing: I’m glad your brother got some relief from it. I wish I could find something that helped. Since I have to take heart meds I’m somewhat limited to what I can take. I’m glad my Chiropractor seems to help somewhat. Take care and stay safe.

Thanks for your response! I worked at a library most of my life and I really miss getting my hands on all those new books. :relaxed:
I’m glad Cymbalta is working for you. Did you have any reactions to it at first? I’m thinking of asking my Doctor for Gabapentin to try. I fell last November and hit my head, shoulder and broke my hand. I’m thinking it triggered my Fibromyalgia into a flare up. I’ve had it since I was a kid, well before anyone knew what it was. Took years to diagnose and I’ve always been able to deal with it till now. Of course putting on 20 lbs in the last 3 years doesn’t help. 🤦🏼 All we can do is just keep searching for whatever helps us cope with the pain and depression. Stay well and stay safe!

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Hehe, yep, “fortunately” my GP has quite some problems walking, so I guess he knows what pain is too. But he still sometimes says things about pain (like sort of ‘ignore it’) I doubt he believes himself :stuck_out_tongue: - not my way of coping, I’ve got it down by pinpointing and analyzing. And it went up to the full flare according to my wife by my ignoring it and not caring enough…

Very sensible, I’d argue! :face_with_monocle: :slight_smile: :+1: