Does Cymbalta cause acne? (+5 factors)

In this article, we will discuss whether Cymbalta causes acne. We will also explore research studies suggesting the link between the use of Cymbalta and acne occurrence, as well as the factors that may increase the risk of acne while taking this medication. Additionally, we will discuss alternatives to Cymbalta if it causes severe acne.

Does Cymbalta cause acne?

Yes, Cymbalta may cause acne. However, it is not a common side effect associated with the use of this medication. It may cause also skin rash, lesions, and pruritus. Skin-related side effects of Cymbalta are rare but they may occur in some individuals.

Cymbalta is an antidepressant medication that commonly works by increasing the concentration of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, that are involved in the regulation of mood and behavior. It is indicated in the management of various health conditions such as anxiety, depression, and fibromyalgia (1). 

The side effects associated with the use of this medication are generally mild to moderate, with the most common side effects including dizziness, nausea, tiredness, sleep disturbance, and gastrointestinal discomfort (1).

What does research suggest?

There is limited research available on the occurrence of acne after using Cymbalta. However, a research study reported a case where a 60 mg dose of Cymbalta was used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder in a patient.

After 2 to 3 weeks of treatment, the patient reported severe acne. In response to this, the healthcare provider adjusted the dose of Cymbalta to half, which resulted in the reduction of acne (2).

 In another study, it was observed that the administration of Cymbalta to a patient with pre-existing depression led to the development of acne and facial rash. Despite these side effects, the decision was made to continue the use of the medication, and supplementary treatment for acne was initiated with antibiotics (3).

What factors can increase the risk of Cymbalta-induced acne?

Several factors may increase the risk of acne while taking Cymbalta. These factors may include:

Individual Sensitivity: Individual sensitivity to Cymbalta may increase the risk of various side effects, including skin rash and acne. Individuals with sensitive skin are prone to developing acne after using Cymbalta.

Concurrent Medications: Some medications are commonly associated with causing acne as a common side effect. The concurrent use of these medications with Cymbalta may increase the risk of skin breakouts and acne. Examples of such medications include corticosteroids, isoniazid, cyclosporine, and carbamazepine.

Underlying Medical Conditions: Individuals with underlying conditions such as stress and polycystic ovary syndrome might be more likely to experience this side effect of Cymbalta.

Unhealthy Diet: An unhealthy diet, including excessive consumption of junk food and high glycemic meals, may increase the risk of acne while taking Cymbalta in some individuals.

History of Acne: Individuals with a history of acne and genetic factors increase the likelihood of developing acne while using Cymbalta.

It is important to note that while the risk of acne with the use of Cymbalta is generally lower, in the presence of these factors, the risk increases. It’s crucial for individuals taking Cymbalta to be aware of these factors and discuss any concerns with their healthcare provider.

What to do if Cymbalta causes acne? 

If you experience a skin reaction or acne after using Cymbalta, it is important to inform your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider will analyze your symptoms and identify any risk factors that may be responsible for your condition.

In the presence of risk factors such as an unhealthy diet and underlying medical conditions, your healthcare provider may first address these. However, if Cymbalta is determined to be the sole cause of your symptoms, your healthcare provider may recommend dosage adjustment, or in some cases, discontinuation of the medication.

Dosage adjustment typically aims to reduce the incidence of side effects of Cymbalta, including acne. If you continue to experience these side effects, your healthcare provider may recommend discontinuing the medication (2).

However, it is crucial to note that Cymbalta should not be discontinued without the guidance and direction of your healthcare provider, as sudden withdrawal of this medication may lead to unwanted side effects that could worsen your condition.

What are the alternatives to Cymbalta if it causes acne?

If you’re experiencing severe and persistent acne after using Cymbalta, your healthcare provider may recommend alternative medications that are less likely to cause acne-related skin issues compared to Cymbalta. These medications may include (4,5):

  • paroxetine
  • fluoxetine
  • venlafaxine
  • doxepin
  • mirtazapine

However, it’s essential to note that while these medications might have a lower incidence of acne, they may have other side effects that should be monitored to ensure the effectiveness and safety of treatment.

The choice of a suitable medication should be based on individual medical conditions and overall health status. However, if the benefits of Cymbalta outweigh the risks, it is advised to continue the medication.

In my opinion, Cymbalta may cause acne however, the side effects of Cymbalta usually subside after a few weeks of treatment, and your mental health is more important than the skin-related side effects of Cymbalta, including acne. 

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!



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


Katzman, Martin & Furtado, Melissa & Anand, Leena. (2014). Acne as a Potential Adverse Effect of Duloxetine. Bulletin of Clinical Psychopharmacology. 24. 408. 10.5455/bcp.20140806014923.


TEMIZKAN, ABDULGANI & Sevda, Korkmaz & DEMIR, BETL & Atmaca, Murad. (2015). ACNEIFORM ERUPTION DEVELOPING WITH DULOXETINE: A CASE STUDY. Journal of Mood Disorders. 1. 10.5455/jmood.20150831114230.


Moussavian H. Improvement of acne in depressed patients treated with paroxetine. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2001 May;40(5):505-6. doi: 10.1097/00004583-200105000-00007. PMID: 11349692.


Gupta MA, Guptat AK. The use of antidepressant drugs in dermatology. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2001 Nov;15(6):512-8. doi: 10.1046/j.1468-3083.2001.00278.x. PMID: 11843209.

Find a supportive therapist who can help with Depression.

Discover the convenience of BetterHelp, an online therapy platform connecting you with licensed and accredited therapists specialized in addressing issues such as depression, anxiety, relationships, and more. Complete the assessment and find your ideal therapist within just 48 hours.


AskYourPharm is user-supported. We may earn a commission if you sign up for BetterHelp’s services after clicking through from this site