Can Cymbalta cause a bad taste? (3+tip)

In this article, we will answer the question, “Does Cymbalta cause a bad taste in the mouth?” We will also discuss the research findings associated with bad taste, along with the measures to manage bad taste caused by Cymbalta.

Can Cymbalta cause a bad taste?  

Yes, Cymbalta can cause a bad taste in the mouth. However, this side effect is rare and occurs in very few people consuming Cymbalta. Improper ingestion of Cymbalta may also result in an unpleasant taste in the mouth. 

When consuming Cymbalta, not drinking enough fluids can cause the drug to get stuck in your mouth or throat, causing an unpleasant sensation and taste, and taking the content out of the capsule before ingestion, crushing or chewing the tablet/capsule can contribute to a bad taste in the mouth. 

This side effect caused by Cymbalta can be managed by discontinuation of the drug. However, it is not recommended to stop taking the drug without a physician’s approval, as discontinuation of Cymbalta requires careful tapering of the dose to avoid withdrawal symptoms. 

If you are experiencing any unwanted effects after taking Cymbalta, make sure you consult your physician for proper management and avoid altering the course of the treatment, as it can lead to side effects.  

What does the research suggest? 

A case study reported by Yoshida et al. stated that a 68-year-old female was being treated with duloxetine (Cymbalta) for her bilateral leg pain. She complained of smelling rotten eggs, which was associated with nausea and vomiting after four weeks into duloxetine treatment. (1)

Further investigations were carried out, in which dysosmia (change in the sense of smell) was confirmed via T & T olfactometer threshold test and dysgeusia (unpleasant taste sensation in the mouth) via filter paper disk method. After discontinuation of duloxetine, her symptoms subsided. (1) This concluded that duloxetine can cause a bad taste sensation in the mouth. 

Duloxetine is an antidepressant belonging to the class of serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI), which acts by increasing the levels of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine. (2)

The mechanism linked with drug-induced dysosmia/dysgeusia involves fluctuations in the neurotransmitters, which can lead to changes in the neural networks associated with sensory coding and modulation. Another mechanism involves a change in the chemical or ionic environment of sensing receptors, leading to an unpleasant sense of smell or taste. (3)

What factors contribute to Cymbalta-induced bad taste? 

Some factors can contribute to a bad taste while taking Cymbalta, such as:  

  • Some excipients present in the formulation of Cymbalta can interact with the taste receptors present in the mouth, causing a bad taste. 
  • Antidepressants such as Cymbalta can cause dry mouth, and reduced saliva production can affect the taste buds, resulting in a bad or metallic taste.
  • Some GI disturbances, such as nausea or reflux, can result in an unpleasant taste in the mouth. 
  • Some individuals vary in their sensitivity to tastes and smell. These people are more prone to experiencing taste-related side effects. 
  • Long-duration of drug therapy can cause fluctuation in the neurotransmitters, which can contribute to bad taste. 

What should you do if Cymbalta causes a bad taste? 

If you are experiencing any bad taste or smell after taking Cymbalta or prolonged use of Cymbalta, make sure you consult your physician with your concerns for proper management. Your physician may switch Cymbalta with other antidepressant medication.

Switching antidepressants needs to be carefully tapered and monitored for any withdrawal symptoms and should be done by a qualified healthcare physician. Here are some other antidepressants which can be used as an alternative to Cymbalta. 

  • SSRI: citalopram, escitalopram, fluoxetine, paroxetine, sertraline. 
  • SNRI: venlafaxine, milnacipran, desvenlafaxine, levomilnacipran. 
  • Tricyclic antidepressants: amitriptyline, amoxapine, nortriptyline, imipramine.
  • Atypical antidepressants: bupropion, mirtazapine, trazodone. 
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs): isocarboxazid, selegiline. 

Other antidepressants, such as Wellbutrin, Zoloft, Prozac, etc., can alter the sense of taste in some individuals. The choice of antidepressant should only be made by a qualified physician based on the patient’s physical and mental condition.

From my perspective, Cymbalta can cause a bad taste in some individuals as a side effect. You can also experience a bad taste due to an improper method of ingestion. Always consume Cymbalta with a sufficient quantity of fluids. Avoid opening the capsule, and do not chew/crush Cymbalta before ingestion.

Make sure you consult your physician if you notice any unwanted side effects. Avoid sudden discontinuation of Cymbalta, as it can cause withdrawal symptoms and worsen your condition. 

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Yoshida K, Fukuchi T, Sugawara H. Dysosmia and dysgeusia associated with duloxetine. Case Reports. 2017 Nov 22;2017:bcr-2017. Available from: 


Dhaliwal JS, Spurling BC, Molla M. Duloxetine. [Updated 2023 May 29]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: 


Tuccori M, Lapi F, Testi A, Ruggiero E, Moretti U, Vannacci A, Bonaiuti R, Antonioli L, Fornai M, Giustarini G, Scollo C. Drug-induced taste and smell alterations: a case/non-case evaluation of an Italian database of spontaneous adverse drug reaction reporting. Drug safety. 2011 Oct;34:849-59. Available from:

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