Does Cymbalta cause slurred speech? (7 tips)

This article will explore whether Cymbalta can cause slurred speech in some individuals. Additionally, it will examine the various factors that may influence Cymbalta-related slurred speech. 

The article will also discuss strategies for managing and improving Cymbalta-induced slurred speech.

Does Cymbalta cause slurred speech?

Cymbalta may cause slurred speech in some individuals, although it is not a common side effect. Some people have reported speaking slower or experiencing difficulty finding the right words after taking Cymbalta.

The exact mechanisms behind this side effect are poorly understood, and further research is needed. It is important to note that Cymbalta-related slurred speech is rare and tends to occur in individuals who already have risk factors that make them more prone to this particular side effect.

If you experience slurred speech while taking Cymbalta, it is recommended to consult with your doctor and consider seeking the advice of a speech therapist.

How can Cymbalta cause slurred speech?

Slurred speech, also known as dysarthria, is a speaking disorder that occurs due to neuromuscular control problems. When the neurons controlling the speech-coordinating muscles are impaired, one may experience slurred speech [1].

Although there is no clear or direct explanation for why Cymbalta may lead to slurred speech, it may be due to its effect on the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine. Additionally, Cymbalta can indirectly increase dopamine [2].

Thus, the increase in neurotransmitter levels that Cymbalta causes may affect the functioning of the neurotransmitters controlling speech muscles. However, it is important to note that there is no research confirming the mechanism by which Cymbalta may cause slurred speech.

Other antidepressants can also impair speech, such as Wellbutrin.

What does research suggest?

In one case study, a woman presented to the emergency department 7 days after increasing her daily duloxetine dose to 60 mg. She exhibited abnormal behavior and slurred speech, along with concerning neck and head movements [3].

It was suggested that she was suffering from dysarthria, which is characterized by slow and difficult speech. Additionally, she experienced multiple issues with her jaw and tongue movements [3].

It was suggested that she was displaying symptoms of duloxetine-related adverse effects known as dyskinesias, which is a condition that involves uncontrolled movements and speech disturbances, including slurred speech [3].

Furthermore, besides slurred speech, duloxetine can cause additional speech problems. For instance, based on pharmacovigilance studies, 67 individuals reported experiencing stuttering while taking duloxetine, making it one of the top 20 drugs associated with this side effect [4].

What factors influence Cymbalta-related slurred speech?

While it is very rare for Cynbalta to impair speech and cause slurred speech, certain factors can potentially increase the risk of Cymbalta-induced slurred speech:

Certain diseases and conditions

For instance, certain conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, brain tumors, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and cerebral palsy, can increase the possibility of experiencing Cymbalta-related slurred speech.

Apart from these nervous system-related disorders, some other diseases can also increase the risk of slurred speech while administering Cymbalta, possibly due to their weakening effects on the facial muscles responsible for speaking.

Examples of such diseases include myasthenia gravis and Guillain-Barré syndrome. Furthermore, individuals who have experienced a traumatic brain injury may also be at a higher risk of suffering from slurred speech while taking Cymbalta.

Medications and alcohol intake

Excessive alcohol consumption can further increase the risk of experiencing this side effect, especially when one is not sober. Alcohol or drug abuse can temporarily impair various functions of the central nervous system, including speech.

Lastly, the concurrent use of certain medications known to cause slurred speech, such as certain anti-epileptics, first-generation antipsychotics, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and certain anticancer drugs, can also increase the risk of Cymbalta-related slurred speech.

Thus, your doctor needs to know what other medications you are taking.

What should be done if Cymbalta causes slurred speech?

The first step to managing Cymbalta-induced slurred speech is to consult with a speech and language therapist [1].

Furthermore, if slurred speech is related to problems with the face or tongue muscles, some exercises can help enhance the function of these muscles. These exercises typically involve non-speech movements of the jaw and tongue muscles [1].

Additional interventions, such as applying ice to the impaired muscles, gently brushing the skin around the jaw and lips, and acupuncture, can also aid in improving control over the muscles responsible for speaking [1].

There are ways to improve how well speech can be understood. One method is to receive training to speak more clearly by pronouncing the words very carefully or speaking slower than usual [1].

In severe cases of slurred speech, however, alternative communication methods like using an alphabet chart or using special software on a computer that produces a synthesized voice have been suggested [1].

It is additionally recommended to implement techniques that motivate people with slurred speech. This may include group therapy that is supervised by a professional or having communication partners who are trained to better understand and interact with individuals with dysarthria [1].

It is also crucial to have a doctor assess your medical and medication histories to determine your risk of developing Cymbalta-induced slurred speech.

If you are concurrently taking medications that can also cause this side effect, or if your overall health condition or medical history increases your risk, the doctor may adjust the Cymbalta dose or make changes to your treatment plan in general.

They may also contemplate switching you to another drug if these strategies do not improve your situation.


In conclusion, based on my research, I found that some people have reported experiencing slurred speech while taking Cymbalta. However, the mechanism by which this may occur is unclear and has not been studied.

In my perspective, people with risk factors are the ones who may experience this. These include diseases (Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, etc.), head trauma, alcohol intake, and administering medications that can also cause this.

If you experience Cymbalta-related slurred speech, I recommend talking to a speech therapist. Furthermore, I suggest discussing this with your doctor to see if they may adjust your treatment accordingly.

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!



Mitchell C, Bowen A, Tyson S, Butterfint Z, Conroy P. Interventions for dysarthria due to stroke and other adult-acquired, non-progressive brain injury. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2017 Jan 25;1(1):CD002088. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD002088.pub3. PMID: 28121021; PMCID: PMC6464736.


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


Siddiqui SH, Memon NA, Shanker R. Drug-induced movement disorder and confusion associated with duloxetine. BMJ Case Rep. 2018 Mar 28;2018:bcr2016216746. doi: 10.1136/bcr-2016-216746. PMID: 29592972; PMCID: PMC5878391.


Ekhart C, van Hunsel F, van Harten P, van Baarsen J, Yingying T, Bast B. Drug-Induced Stuttering: Occurrence and Possible Pathways. Front Psychiatry. 2021 Aug 25;12:692568. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2021.692568. PMID: 34512414; PMCID: PMC8423914.,development%20of%20drug%2Dinduced%20stuttering.

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