Does Cymbalta contain ibuprofen? (+3 differences)

In this article, we will discuss the composition of Cymbalta formulation and explore whether it contains ibuprofen. We will also discuss the key differences between Cymbalta and ibuprofen including their mechanism of action, therapeutic uses, and side effects.

Does Cymbalta contain ibuprofen? 

No, Cymbalta does not contain ibuprofen. Cymbalta is a brand name for duloxetine, an antidepressant medication that is prescribed in the management of various mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety (1). 

On the other hand, ibuprofen is an analgesic medication that is marketed under various brand names such as Advil and Brufen. It can be used as an over-the-counter pain reliever medication. While both Cymbalta and ibuprofen may be used to manage pain, they work through different mechanisms and are intended for different purposes.

What does the formulation of Cymbalta contain?

The formulation of Cymbalta includes both active and inactive ingredients, collectively composing the final dosage of the medication.

Active ingredient duloxetine hydrochloride
Inactive ingredients (excipients) binders, fillers, diluents, disintegrants, lubricants, colorants, bulk-forming agents

What is the difference between Cymbalta and ibuprofen?

Cymbalta and ibuprofen are completely different medications with distinct active ingredients and purposes. The most common differences between these two medications may include:

  • mechanism of action
  • therapeutic benefits
  • side effects

Mechanism of action

The mechanism of Cymbalta responsible for its various therapeutic benefits may involve its interference with certain neurotransmitters in the brain. These neurotransmitters may include serotonin and norepinephrine, which are responsible for the regulation of mood and behavior in individuals. Cymbalta blocks the reuptake of these neurotransmitters which in turn increases their level in the brain (1).

On the other hand, the mechanism by which ibuprofen works may involve its inhibitory action on the enzymes namely, cyclooxygenase 1 and cyclooxygenase 2 (3).

Therapeutic uses

Cymbalta is an antidepressant medication, most commonly employed in the management of depression. However, it may have other therapeutic benefits as well, such as (1): 

  • anxiety disorders
  • panic disorders
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • fibromyalgia
  • joint pain
  • muscle pain
  • pain associated with arthritis
  • chronic back pain

On the other hand, the indications of ibuprofen may include (3):

  • headaches
  • fever
  • joint pain
  • arthritis
  • toothache
  • menstrual pain
  • muscle aches

Side effects

The most common side effects associated with the use of Cymbalta and ibuprofen may include (1):  

Cymbalta Ibuprofen
weight changes ulcers
vomiting vomiting
drowsiness gastrointestinal discomfort
aggression fluid retention
lightheadedness dizziness
sleep disturbances edema
agitation rash
confusion gastrointestinal bleeding 
tiredness heartburn

It’s important to seek medical attention if you experience severe side effects associated with Cymbalta or ibuprofen to ensure the safety of the treatment.

Can you take Cymbalta and ibuprofen together?

Yes, you can take ibuprofen and Cymbalta together. There is no known interaction between these medications that may hinder their combined usage. However, it is crucial to use these medications only as directed by a healthcare professional and to be aware of their specific indications, and any contraindications based on your individual health conditions.

What are the side effects of taking Cymbalta and Ibuprofen together?

Combining Cymbalta and ibuprofen typically does not result in side effects for most individuals; however, some may experience additive side effects such as vomiting, nausea, dizziness, and stomach upset.

There is a potential for an increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding and ulcers when taken together, as both medications can affect the stomach lining.

Individuals with underlying liver diseases should use this combination cautiously, as both of these medications are metabolized by liver and ibuprofen specifically has some effects on the liver enzymes.

If you have doubts about these medications or their suitability for your needs, consult with a healthcare provider for personalized advice.

To my knowledge, the formulation of Cymbalta does not contain ibuprofen. However, in clinical practice, healthcare professionals may prescribe a combination of Cymbalta and ibuprofen for individuals with underlying mental health disorders and other conditions such as fever, inflammation, toothache, or body aches.

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


Ngo VTH, Bajaj T. Ibuprofen. 2023 May 29. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan–. PMID: 31194439.


Upadhyay A, Amanullah A, Joshi V, Dhiman R, Prajapati VK, Poluri KM, Mishra A. Ibuprofen-based advanced therapeutics: breaking the inflammatory link in cancer, neurodegeneration, and diseases. Drug Metab Rev. 2021 Feb;53(1):100-121. doi: 10.1080/03602532.2021.1903488. Epub 2021 Apr 5. PMID: 33820460.

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