Does Cymbalta cause vertigo? (+3 factors)

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

Does Cymbalta cause vertigo?

Yes, Cymbalta can cause vertigo. However, this is not a common side effect and the incidence is low.

Vertigo is a dizzying feeling that can make it hard for you to stay balanced. Cymbalta can make you feel dizzy while standing up (1). There are several patients who have reported experiencing vertigo while taking Cymbalta.

It is crucial to remember that individuals respond differently to medications and that not everyone using Cymbalta will have vertigo. 

Vertigo may also occur when Cymbalta is abruptly discontinued. However, not everyone using Cymbalta or discontinuing it may experience this side effect. Consult your healthcare provider if you have symptoms of vertigo while taking Cymbalta so that they can reduce your dosage or take the appropriate action.

How does Cymbalta cause vertigo?

Cymbalta may induce vertigo or dizziness in some patients because it works by increasing neurotransmitter (serotonin and noradrenaline) levels in the brain. During the early phase of Cymbalta treatment, neurotransmitter levels in the brain are low. Cymbalta works by inhibiting the reuptake of these neurotransmitters in brain cells, thereby increasing these levels (2).

It takes around 2-4 weeks for Cymbalta to begin showing its effects. During this early adjustment phase, some people may experience lightheadedness, dizziness or vertigo due to altered neurotransmitter levels in the brain. However, this side effect may subside as the full therapeutic effects of Cymbalta become noticeable, which usually takes around 8-12 weeks.

On the other hand, the abrupt discontinuation of Cymbalta after at least a month of use may lead to discontinuation syndrome. This syndrome may include symptoms such as imbalance, vertigo, flu-like symptoms, nausea, vomiting, aggression and anxiety (2).

What does research suggest?

There is a limited study indicating the relationship between Cymbalta and vertigo. 

One study indicated that Duloxetine treatment had common but not severe side effects like sexual issues, nausea, dry mouth and dizziness during the early course of treatment. It did not show suicidal thoughts (3).

To stop it safely without withdrawal issues, doctors suggest a gradual decrease over two weeks. Generally, Duloxetine was okay even for older adults and those with other health problems (3).

Another study indicated that stopping Duloxetine suddenly caused more issues like dizziness, nausea, tingling, and irritability. Dizziness was the main issue in longer studies too. Nearly half of these problems got better by the end of the studies, mostly within a week (4).

It is crucial to remember that vertigo is a common side effect of several drugs. Other antidepressants such as Citalopram, and Effexor can also cause vertigo. Consult your healthcare provider if you experience vertigo while taking Cymbalta. They can assist you in determining whether vertigo is due to Cymbalta or whether there is another possible cause.

What factors can contribute to Cymbalta-induced vertigo?

The following factors may contribute to Cymbalta-induced vertigo:

Individual sensitivity

Each individual is unique and has a different genetic makeup due to which they respond differently to medications, especially those meds which affect brain chemistry such as antidepressants.

That is the reason some people experience symptoms of vertigo while using Cymbalta, while others do not.

Dosage and duration

The dosage of the medication also impacts its effectiveness. People responding well to the lower doses of Cymbalta may experience side effects after the dose escalation. Higher doses could increase the likelihood of experiencing side effects like vertigo.

Using Cymbalta for a longer time may make some individuals more susceptible to experiencing side effects including vertigo.

Interaction with other medications Combining Cymbalta with medications that affect the nervous system might increase the risk of vertigo. It is important to inform your doctor about all the medications and supplements you are taking to avoid potential interactions.


Age affects the effectiveness of the medication. Older adults are not able to metabolize drugs the way younger ones can. Older people are also more prone to vertigo than younger people due to poor blood circulation.

Underlying medical condition

Patients with a history of ear problems and inner ear diseases such as tinnitus, headaches and neurological diseases can induce vertigo symptoms while taking Cymbalta.

How to manage vertigo while using Cymbalta?

Vertigo associated with the initial phase of Cymbalta treatment may subside as the body adjusts to the medication. However, vertigo related to discontinuation of Cymbalta may be managed in the following ways, as suggested by your doctor.

  • A proper tapering plan is necessary for patients who have been taking the medication for more than 4 weeks.
  • If you are on a low dose of Cymbalta, a fast-tapering pace may be recommended.
  • If severe symptoms are observed during Cymbalta discontinuation, restarting the medication and tapering it more slowly may be necessary.
  • Switching to another antidepressant while tapering may also help alleviate vertigo symptoms associated with Cymbalta discontinuation (5).

In my view and the knowledge available, Cymbalta may cause dizziness in the early stages of the treatment, and that vertigo can be severe if Cymbalta is suddenly stopped. It is important to note that not everyone experiences this adverse effect of Cymbalta.

Several factors may influence the occurrence of Cymbalta-induced vertigo, including individual sensitivity, a history of ear problems, or the use of other medicines. Any dosage change or discontinuation decision must only be taken by your healthcare provider. 

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