Is Mixing Cymbalta (Duloxetine) and Alcohol Safe?

Using Cymbalta with Alcohol: What Are the Risks?

Is Mixing Cymbalta (Duloxetine) and Alcohol Safe?

Cymbalta is a brand-name prescription antidepressant that is used to treat common mental health conditions and some types of nerve pain. Un some antidepressants, which can never be used with alcohol, it may be possible to have the occasional drink while taking Cymbalta, depending on your medical history. 

If you are wondering about whether using Cymbalta with alcohol is safe, here’s what you need to know about the potential risks associated with combining the two substances.

What is Cymbalta?

Cymbalta is a brand-name prescription antidepressant that belongs to a class of drugs called serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).

Also sold under the generic name duloxetine, Cymbalta is commonly used for the treatment of mental health conditions anxiety and depression and is also used to treat pain associated with conditions diabetic peripheral neuropathy, fibromyalgia, and chronic musculoskeletal pain. 

other drugs in its class, Cymbalta works by inhibiting the reabsorption of serotonin and norepinephrine, two neurotransmitters that are responsible for sending messages back and forth between brain cells. 

Common side effects of Cymbalta include headache, dizziness, diarrhea, constipation, dry mouth, decreased appetite, and drowsiness. Although Cymbalta can be used to help ease the psychological effects of alcohol withdrawal symptoms, it can cause strong alcohol cravings if it is used incorrectly.

What are the risks of using Cymbalta with alcohol?

Using Cymbalta with alcohol is most commonly associated with two main risks: an increase in liver damage and an increase in symptoms of depression. Cymbalta and alcohol consumption can both cause liver damage and depression on their own, but using the two substances together exacerbates these effects, resulting in potentially serious health consequences.

The body uses the liver to filter waste and toxins from the substances that we consume.

Medications and alcohol are processed through the liver, and healthy liver function is key to making sure that your body can process Cymbalta and alcohol in a normal way.

Your liver can easily be damaged by drinking too much alcohol over an extended period of time, which can lead to a condition called cirrhosis. 

While using Cymbalta with alcohol can cause liver problems no matter how much you drink, the risk is especially high when consuming three or more drinks at a time. 

Signs of liver damage that can occur when using Cymbalta with alcohol include:

  • Dark urine
  • Itching
  • Jaundice, a yellowing of the skin and eyes
  • Pain in the upper right abdomen
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Unusual bleeding or bruises

In addition to potentially causing or accelerating liver damage, using Cymbalta with alcohol can also increase the symptoms of depression. While Cymbalta is used to treat depression, use of the drug can also worsen depression and anxiety symptoms. 

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that can cause symptoms of depression to develop or become worse, and it may also worsen anxiety in the long term. 

Symptoms of worsening depression and anxiety associated with using Cymbalta with alcohol include:

  • Panic attacks
  • Irritability
  • Unexplained changes in mood
  • Sleep problems
  • Thoughts of suicide

Using Cymbalta with alcohol can also diminish the effects of the drug, which make it less effective. As a result, your symptoms of depression, anxiety, or pain may return or become worse.

Is using Cymbalta with alcohol ever safe?

Using Cymbalta with alcohol can be dangerous due to the potential for liver damage and worsening depression. However, it may be possible to enjoy an occasional drink while taking Cymbalta, as Cymbalta does not worsen impairment caused by alcohol. 

Before using Cymbalta with alcohol, talk to your doctor about whether it is safe for you to have the occasional alcoholic beverage while taking your medication. The answer will depend on how much Cymbalta you take, your age, weight, and unique medical history, as well as other factors. Your doctor will decide what amount of alcohol, if any, is safe while using Cymbalta. 

If you do drink alcohol while using Cymbalta, make sure you stay alert for signs of liver damage or worsening depression and stick closely to your doctor’s guidelines in order to avoid serious damage to your body.


Occasionally using Cymbalta with alcohol may be safe for some patients, but patients should speak to their doctor about what amount of alcohol, if any, they are able to consume while using the medication. 

Cymbalta and alcohol can both cause liver damage and symptoms of depression independently, and these symptoms can be exacerbated when the substances are combined. Signs of liver damage include dark urine, itching, jaundice, and pain in the upper right abdomen. 

Cymbalta is not recommended for use during pregnancy, if you are trying to become pregnant, or during breastfeeding, as it is unknown whether the amount of duloxetine that passes into breast milk is harmful to newborns. It is also not recommended for patients who are prone to mania or bipolar disorder. 

Some patients may have an allergic reaction to Cymbalta. Immediately seek medical attention if you encounter a skin rash, trouble breathing or talking, swelling, or tightness in the throat. 

Talk to your doctor to see if Cymbalta is right for you.



The Dangers of Mixing Cymbalta & Alcohol: Interactions & Side Effects

Is Mixing Cymbalta (Duloxetine) and Alcohol Safe?

While there may be some circumstances in which it might be okay to mix small amounts of alcohol with Cymbalta, it is typically not safe or advisable. Mixing alcohol and Cymbalta may lead to:

  • Increased lihood of liver damage
  • Increased depression and risk of suicide
  • Increase of the side effects normally experienced with alcohol
  • Increase of the side effects normally experienced with Cymbalta
  • Possibility of blackouts or increased intoxication

Mixing alcohol and Cymbalta can be dangerous or life-threatening. If you or a loved one find that you are mixing these substances even with the knowledge that it may be harmful, or continue to habitually take one of these substances even though you would to cut back, you should consider speaking with an addiction specialist.

If you take Cymbalta (the brand name of the generic drug duloxetine), what should you know about the potential interaction between it and alcohol? Alcohol does not mix well with several types of medications and can cause serious and sometimes deadly side effects. Mixing alcohol and Cymbalta is not safe or advisable, and this combination should be avoided.

Side Effects of Mixing Alcohol and Cymbalta

Should you use alcohol and Cymbalta together? The simple answer is probably not, but why? Several reasons to not mix these two substances exist.

Worsened Side Effects of Both Substances

Mixing Cymbalta and alcohol may increase the effects of each substance. Because both act on the brain in similar ways and affect the same chemicals, any side effects that you experience with either Cymbalta or alcohol will ly be worse when these two substances are combined than it would be with just one of them.

Possible Liver Damage

One of the first reasons it’s not a good idea to mix alcohol and Cymbalta use is because of the possibility of liver damage. Cymbalta on its own can lead to liver damage, but this risk is significantly amplified if you’re using both alcohol and Cymbalta.

The highest risk of liver damage associated with alcohol and Cymbalta are in people who have three or more drinks a day. The Food and Drug Administration recommends that Cymbalta not be prescribed to people who regularly use alcohol or have a history of liver damage.

Worsened Depression

With alcohol and Cymbalta there is also the potential that drinking while using this medicine could worsen symptoms of depression. Alcohol can make symptoms of depression worse, particularly over time.

Cymbalta, while an antidepressant, can sometimes lead to an increase in depression. If you’re using alcohol regularly while also on Cymbalta, the alcohol may change the way your body uses the medicine or alter your brain chemistry to increase your depression.

An increase in depression could raise the risk of suicide.

If you are concerned about the possible side effects of mixing Cymbalta and alcohol or have started to experience some of these side effects, speak with your physician and discuss whether to change your medications or drinking habits.

Cymbalta and Alcohol Withdrawal

Some evidence suggests that Cymbalta may benefit people who are going through alcohol withdrawal if the drug is taken once alcohol use is stopped.

Cymbalta can reduce some of the anxious feelings and other symptoms of alcohol withdrawal for some people in certain circumstances.

While Cymbalta may be useful in this case for some, it can also have some of the negative effects already discussed.

A small amount of evidence indicates that the use of Cymbalta may increase cravings for alcohol. There are anecdotal stories of people experiencing increased intoxication and blackouts when taking Cymbalta with alcohol, but these side effects have not been well studied.

Cymbalta should never be self-prescribed for alcohol withdrawal symptoms, and should always be used under the direction of a physician. The physician should analyze the benefits and risks that could come from using Cymbalta for alcohol withdrawal symptoms, depending upon your unique circumstances.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes.

We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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