Does Cymbalta cause hoarseness? (1+ studies)

In this article, we will answer the question “Does Cymbalta cause hoarseness?”. We will discuss what research suggests, some possible mechanisms explaining the connection between Cymbalta and hoarseness and what to do if you experience hoarseness while taking Cymbalta. We will also discuss some tips and strategies that can help with hoarseness.

Does Cymbalta cause hoarseness?

Yes, Cymbalta can cause hoarseness as a result of treatment. However, this is an extremely rare side effect and not everyone taking Cymbalta experiences hoarseness.

Cymbalta (Duloxetine) is an antidepressant belonging to the serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) and is approved by the FDA for use in depressive illnesses, fibromyalgia, diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain (DPNP), and chronic musculoskeletal pain (1).

Cymbalta can cause an array of side effects like nausea, diarrhoea, dry mouth, fatigue, somnolence, hyperhidrosis, insomnia, constipation and decreased appetite, to name a few. Side effects like seizures, tremors and hoarseness are rare (1).

Hoarseness is a condition in which the voice of the individual changes. It may become husky or weak. Hoarseness may also cause a change in the pitch of the voice and result in the voice becoming scratchy (2).

Hoarseness can be caused by various conditions like laryngitis, vocal disturbances, tumours, vocal cord paresis and sometimes even due to the ageing of the voice. This can also be caused by medications that cause dryness in the throat and those that affect the nervous system and in turn, affect the muscles that control speech (2).

What does research suggest?

Not much research has been conducted on the Cymbalta and how it causes hoarseness. However, a few case studies have been published in which the individual receiving treatment experienced hoarseness due to Duloxetine therapy.

In a study, a 48-year-old woman, who had a major depressive episode, and was unresponsive to many antidepressants was given 60mg/day of Duloxetine which led to the development of a rash and oedema in the periorbital area within 2 days (3).

Duloxetine was discontinued and reintroduced in her regimen after 4 days at a lower dose of 30mg/day. But within 2 hours, the rash reappeared and her voice became hoarse, causing the provider to discontinue Duloxetine immediately. It took 10 days for her symptoms to resolve (3).

Another study reported that a 56-year-old woman came to the hospital with a complaint of headache and change in voice. She was taking 60mg/day of Duloxetine for the treatment of major depression. The symptoms occurred 10 days after the increase in dosage from 60mg to 90mg/day (4).

Duloxetine was found to cause laryngeal dystonia in the patient and the symptoms decreased when the dose of Duloxetine was lowered. The discontinuation of Duloxetine solved the problem and no symptoms were reported within the 3 month follow-up (4).

How does Cymbalta cause hoarseness?

The underlying mechanism by which Cymbalta causes the hoarseness of voice is not yet known. Clinicians have linked this side effect to other side effects produced by Cymbalta.

A possible mechanism proposed has stated that the side effects caused by Cymbalta like tremors, dry mouth and weight loss are thought to affect the voice of the individual and can cause it to become hoarse. Dry mouth is caused by the anticholinergic effects of Cymbalta, which can then lead to voice changes or hoarseness (5).

If you experience hoarseness or change in voice while taking Cymbalta, consult your healthcare provider for a thorough assessment. Your doctor will assess the situation and figure out the underlying cause of hoarseness.

The voice changes reverse once the cause is removed. If Cymbalta is the cause of hoarseness then it should go away once Cymbalta therapy is discontinued.

What to do if Cymbalta is causing hoarseness?

If you feel the cause of the change in your voice or hoarseness is due to Cymbalta you should do the following things:

Consult your healthcare provider

You should consult your healthcare provider regarding your situation. Your doctor will assess your symptoms, evaluate your condition and suggest a plan accordingly. If Cymbalta is the causative agent of your symptoms, your healthcare provider may prescribe you another medication and lower the dose of Cymbalta.

Immediate medical assistance

If you think you are having an allergic reaction to Cymbalta, then you should not wait for your doctor’s appointment and should get immediate medical assistance. You should go to the nearest emergency department and let the care teams assess what is the cause of your symptoms.

What can help you with hoarseness while on Cymbalta?

While sometimes you may be able to remove the cause due to the associated benefits, some tips and techniques can help you with changes in voice or hoarseness while taking Cymbalta. They are as follows:


Staying hydrated is very important. Adequate water intake can help reduce the symptoms of dry mouth and hoarseness during Cymbalta treatment.

Avoid alcohol and caffeine

Alcohol and caffeine can increase the side effects of dry mouth. This can, in turn, cause an increase in the hoarseness experienced by the individual.

Use humidifiers

Environments low in humidity can increase hoarseness and dry mouth. Using humidifiers in closed and dry environments can help relieve your symptoms and reverse the voice changes. 

Adhering to the prescription

You should always take Cymbalta in the prescribed dosage and for the duration advised by your healthcare provider. Making changes to your prescription whether it be the dose or duration of Cymbalta can cause unwanted effects.

No additional medications

Make sure not to use any additional medications without consulting your doctor. Cymbalta may interact with other antidepressants to aggravate the voice changes.

In this article, we answered the question “Does Cymbalta cause hoarseness?”. We discussed what research has to suggest in this regard, the possible mechanism of hoarseness due to Cymbalta, and some strategies that can help relieve symptoms of hoarseness.

To the best of my knowledge and research, Cymbalta can cause hoarseness, but it is an extremely rare side effect. Due to this reason, not many incidences of hoarseness or voice changes due to Cymbalta have been recorded.

However, side effects of Cymbalta may vary from person to person, and the patient should receive medical attention if they occur. Some techniques can help relieve symptoms but Cymbalta therapy may need to be discontinued gradually if the problem persists.

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA). HIGHLIGHTS OF PRESCRIBING INFORMATION. CYMBALTA® (duloxetine hydrochloride) Delayed released capsules for oral use. Available from: 


Reiter R, Hoffmann TK, Pickhard A, Brosch S. Hoarseness—causes and treatments. Deutsches Ärzteblatt International. 2015 May;112(19):329.


Oulis P, Masdrakis VG, Karakatsanis NA, Karapoulios E, Kouzoupis AV, Soldatos CR. Duloxetine-induced cutaneous adverse reaction. Journal of clinical psychopharmacology. 2008 Feb 1;28(1):104-5.


Dagklis IE, Rokkou I, Kazis D, Bostantjopoulou S. Duloxetine-Associated Acute Laryngeal Dystonia: A Case Report. Journal of clinical psychopharmacology. 2019;39(6):678-9.


Sataloff JB, Rosen DC, Sataloff RT. Psychoactive Medications and Their Effects on the Voice. Psychology of Voice Disorders. 2020 Jun 8:123.

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