Does Cymbalta contain gluten? (+3 insights)

In this article, we will discuss the content of Cymbalta and how gluten intolerance interacts with Cymbalta. This article will also explain the link between gluten intolerance and mental health and how to maintain a gluten-free lifestyle to avoid complications in your overall health.

Does Cymbalta contain gluten?

No, Cymbalta does not contain gluten. Each capsule of Cymbalta contains duloxetine hydrochloride, the active ingredient in the medication.

The inactive ingredients in Cymbalta contain methylcellulose, poloxamer, hypromellose, purified talc, polyvinyl acetate phthalate, purified water, dibutyl sebacate, titanium oxide, indigo carmine, gelatine, titanium dioxide and iron oxide.

None of these ingredients contain gluten. The Cymbalta capsule is safe to be given to individuals with gluten intolerance or celiac disease. Individuals with celiac disease or gluten intolerance cannot eat gluten without experiencing symptoms such as bloating, diarrhea and abdominal pain.

According to the manufacturer’s prescribing information, gluten is not listed as an ingredient in Cymbalta. It’s always advisable to check with your healthcare provider and official sources of the medication to ensure its safe and effective use.(1)

How does gluten intolerance interact with Cymbalta?

Although gluten intolerance and Cymbalta are not directly related, there are a few potential indirect interactions that can happen. Taking Cymbalta won’t trigger any gluten intolerance symptoms, even if you are celiac or gluten-sensitive. However, there are a few ways they might interact (2):

Digestive issues

Both gluten intolerance and Cymbalta can cause gastrointestinal issues, such as nausea, diarrhea and stomach pain. Gastrointestinal symptoms can be exacerbated by the side effects of Cymbalta. If you experience these symptoms, it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause. Keeping a food diary and reporting your side effects to your doctor can help to track patterns and identify the cause of the digestive issues.

Nutrient deficiencies

Gluten intolerance can lead to deficiencies in certain nutrients, such as iron and vitamin D. These deficiencies can worsen some of the side effects of Cymbalta, like fatigue and low energy. It’s important to ensure that you are getting enough nutrients through your diet or supplementation, especially if you are gluten-sensitive.

Impact on mental health

Individuals with gluten intolerance or celiac disease are more likely to experience depression and other mood disorders, like dysthymia compared to healthy individuals. A gluten-free lifestyle has proved to offer a powerful boost to mental well-being, particularly for individuals suffering from depression.

Some people may have an individual sensitivity to gluten. This sensitivity can manifest in various ways, including depression, anxiety and fatigue. Removing gluten from their diet can be a transformative step towards feeling better. Combining a gluten-free diet with Cymbalta can significantly enhance the therapeutic outcomes in treating mood disorders in patients with gluten intolerance.


What does the research suggest?

Studies show that monotherapy with serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) like Cymbalta can rarely trigger an uncommon but serious side effect called serotonin syndrome. Serotonin syndrome can occur when serotonin levels highly increase in the brain.

One case report describes a 41-year-old male who experienced an unusually severe serotonin syndrome while taking Cymbalta. Notably, he had been recently diagnosed with celiac disease. The patient’s pre-existing elevated serotonin levels from celiac disease likely contributed to the severe serotonin syndrome while using Cymbalta. 

This report reveals a potential synergistic effect of how celiac disease can amplify serotonin levels in a patient taking Cymbalta. Further investigation is required to understand the link between Cymbalta and celiac disease or gluten intolerance.(3)

Although Cymbalta is gluten-free, individuals with gluten intolerance or celiac disease need to be aware that it can still cause side effects. In fact, one in ten celiac patients (0.11%) have reported experiencing side effects of Cymbalta.(4)


What is the effect of gluten intolerance on mental health?

Gluten intolerance has been increasingly recognized not only for its physical manifestations but also for its influence on mental health. Recent growing evidence suggests that gluten intolerance can extend its reach to the central nervous system, affecting mental health.

Gluten intolerance can increase the risk of experiencing depressive symptoms and anxiety. Anxiety disorders like social phobia and panic disorder seem to be linked to gluten response. Studies show a higher prevalence of these disorders in celiac disease patients compared to healthy individuals.

Gluten can negatively affect the neurological system in individuals with gluten sensitivity. It can cause neurological symptoms such as headaches, difficulty concentrating and mood disorders.

One of the primary treatments for gluten intolerance is adopting a gluten-free diet. Research suggests that adhering to a gluten-free diet can significantly improve depressive symptoms and anxiety.

However, if someone doesn’t have a gluten-related disorder, going gluten-free may not necessarily impact mental health positively.  (5)


How to maintain a gluten-free lifestyle?

Maintaining a gluten-free lifestyle requires careful attention to your diet and lifestyle choices, especially while using medications. Here are some tips to help you adhere to a gluten-free lifestyle and manage medications safely:

  • Knowledge is your key: Learn about foods that contain gluten and common sources of gluten such as wheat, barley, and rye. While naturally gluten-free foods include rice, quinoa and corn.


  • Read labels: Check the labels of food and medications for gluten-containing ingredients. Starch, modified starch or dextrin presence in the products may be derived from gluten-containing grains.


  • Consult a dietitian: Work closely with a dietitian or nutritionist to ensure you are meeting your nutritional needs on a gluten-free diet.


  • Contact the pharmaceutical company: In case the label on the medication is unclear about the medication ingredients, you can contact the pharmaceutical company directly to provide you with information about the gluten content.


  • Check official sources: To ensure the absence of gluten in medications, check official sources such as the FDA website, drug information websites and the medication label.


  • Be careful about generic medications: Generic versions of medications may have different formulations, including potential gluten-containing ingredients.


  • Consult your healthcare provider: You should inform your healthcare provider about your gluten intolerance. They can prescribe medications that are gluten-free or recommend suitable alternatives.



We can conclude that Cymbalta does not contain gluten. Gluten intolerance can interact with Cymbalta indirecly and cause potential problems. Moreover, understanding the impact of gluten on the neurological system sheds light on the importance of addressing both physical and mental aspects of gluten-related disorders.

Remember, maintaining a gluten-free lifestyle extends beyond food and includes medications. I recommend you to have an open communication with your healthcare providers. This is essential to ensure that your medications align with your gluten-free requirements and overall health goals.



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Zylberberg HM, Ludvigsson JF, Green PHR, Lebwohl B. Psychotropic medication use among patients with celiac disease. BMC Psychiatry. 2018 Mar 27;18(1):76.


Severe serotonin syndrome under duloxetine in a patient with coeliac disease — Is there a connection? A case report, Maximilian Hansbauera, Catharina Straussb
a Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Hospital Munich, Nußbaumstraße 7, 80336 München, Germany, b Department of Plastic, Aesthetic, Hand & Reconstructive Surgery, University Hospital Regensburg, Regensburg, Germany.


Busby E, Bold J, Fellows L, Rostami K. Mood Disorders and Gluten: It’s Not All in Your Mind! A Systematic Review with Meta-Analysis. Nutrients. 2018 Nov 8;10(11):1708.

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