Does Cymbalta cause breast tenderness? (+3 factors)

In this article, we will discuss whether Cymbalta can cause breast tenderness. We will also discuss some research studies and what one should do if this side effect occurs.

Does Cymbalta cause breast tenderness?

Yes, Cymbalta can cause breast tenderness. It is one of the listed side effects but the incidence is low.

Breast tenderness is a pain or discomfort in the breast whose severity can differ from person to person. Usually, women experience breast tenderness during menstruation, menopause or pregnancy. Sometimes medications or hormonal imbalances can also cause breast tenderness.

Cymbalta is an antidepressant used to treat mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression (1). It rarely causes breast tenderness. However, individual responses to the medication can vary. 

If you experience breast tenderness or other related issues it is crucial to consult your healthcare provider for proper guidance and treatment plans.

What does research suggest?

There is limited research indicating the relationship between Cymbalta and breast tenderness. One study indicated that a woman with major depression took Duloxetine and started having breast issues like pain and milky discharge from her breast and her prolactin levels were high (2).

The dosage of Duloxetine was reduced and she started taking Ariprazole. After this, the breast issues were resolved. She continued her new treatment for a while with no more issues (2).

Another study reported that a 21-year-old girl took Duloxetine for a while and started having no periods, breast pain and high prolactin levels. She stopped Duloxetine and was treated with Cabergoline. After a month, her issues were resolved (3).

However, the researchers acknowledged that more research is needed to determine whether Cymbalta was the sole contributor to this side effect.

What are the factors contributing to the Cymbalta-induced breast tenderness?

Several factors can contribute to Cymbalta-induced breast tenderness.

Individual factors

Individual factors such as genetics, underlying health conditions and individual variations in metabolism may play a role in determining whether someone experiences breast tenderness while taking Cymbalta.

It is important to emphasize that people respond differently to medications, especially those which affect brain chemistry such as Cymbalta, and what may affect one individual may not affect another.

Hormonal balance

Balanced hormones are necessary for regulating the growth and development of the body. Disturbances in these hormones can result in a wide range of health issues, including breast tenderness.

Concomitant use of other medications

Interactions with other medications taken alongside Cymbalta can also play a role in breast tenderness e.g. when Cymbalta is combined with SSRIs such as Sertraline, it has been associated with breast soreness, pain and other changes in breast size.

It is important to discuss any medication or substances with your doctor or pharmacist to identify potential side effects or interactions contributing to breast tenderness. 

Dosage and duration

The dosage of a medication directly influences its effects. Higher doses may increase the likelihood and intensity of side effects produced by Cymbalta such as breast tenderness. People responding well to the lower doses may experience side effects after dose escalation. With Cymbalta, adhering to the prescribed dose is crucial to minimize adverse reactions.

Side effects may evolve as the body adjusts to the medication. Initially, some side effects might be more pronounced and diminish as the body becomes used to the drug. Alternatively, some side effects might appear after prolonged use.


Age can also affect how a medication behaves in a body. Older adults or younger individuals may metabolize medications differently potentially impacting the occurrence and severity of side effects. Elderly individuals may be more prone to experience Cymbalta-induced side effects such as breast pain than younger ones.

What to do if you experience Cymbalta-induced breast tenderness?

If you are taking Cymbalta and are concerned about the possibility of breast tenderness, it is crucial that you openly talk to your healthcare provider. They can provide personalized information based on your medical history or current symptoms and may suggest adjustments to your treatment plan.

If adjusting the dose does not resolve the issue, your doctor may gradually discontinue your medication and switch to another antidepressant to reduce the side effects.

Moreover, if you are pregnant, lactating or planning to do so, discuss this with your doctor. Your doctor is there to provide guidance and address your concerns (4).

However, while Cymbalta is not widely associated with breast tenderness, it is essential to recognize that personal reactions may vary. Every patient’s response to medication can be unique. While the majority may not experience any breast issues, others do.

Always remember, never discontinue or adjust your medication without consulting your healthcare professional as abrupt stopping can cause horrible withdrawal symptoms that can have adverse effects on your mental health (5).

How to manage breast tenderness while taking Cymbalta?

Here are some ways to reduce breast tenderness while taking Cymbalta:

  • Always adhere to your dosage as prescribed by your healthcare provider.
  • Inform your doctor about other medications or supplements you are taking, as they can cause breast tenderness.
  • Wear a supportive bra to reduce discomfort.
  • Use heat or cold compress on your breast to get some relief from pain and tenderness.
  • Use over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers to reduce pain e.g. NSAIDs (6)
  • Limit alcohol or caffeine intake, as they can worsen the side effects of Cymbalta (6)

According to the research and my knowledge of the topic, the evidence of Cymbalta-induced breast tenderness is inconclusive. Individual responses vary, and factors beyond the medication may contribute to this effect. It is crucial to consult with your doctor to make informed decisions about your mental health treatment.





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