Does Cymbalta help mood swings? (3+ studies)

In this article, we will answer the question “Does Cymbalta help mood swings?”. We will also discuss what research studies say in this regard, what factors affect the efficacy of Cymbalta in managing mood swings and some tips and techniques to help improve your mood.

Does Cymbalta help mood swings?

Yes, Cymbalta can help with mood swings to some extent. Cymbalta (Duloxetine) is a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) approved by the FDA to treat various conditions like major depressive disorder (MDD), generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain (DPNP), fibromyalgia and chronic musculoskeletal pain (1).

Cymbalta inhibits the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine. It is also an inhibitor of dopamine reuptake but to a lesser extent. These hormones are crucial for the improvement of mood and depressive symptoms in individuals taking therapy.

Mood swings or mood disorders arise when the level of neurotransmitters in the brain goes off-balance. Sometimes, more than one neurotransmitter can also be disturbed. This disturbance in the levels of neurotransmitters can cause symptoms of anxiety or depression. Mood swings are not necessarily related to any life event. They can present a variety of symptoms, some of which are as follows:

  • Being angry
  • Unable to express joy
  • Being upset
  • Being extremely sad
  • Being Confused
  • Feeling worthless
  • Feeling hopeless

Cymbalta can be used to help improve depressed mood due to its antidepressant nature. However, you should never use any medication without consulting a healthcare provider.

What does research say?

Different research studies have been published that prove the fact that Cymbalta can be used to help improve the symptoms of mood swings. Clinicians sometimes prescribe this medication if the patient requires treatment with an antidepressant to help with his symptoms.

A research study assessing the effects of Duloxetine on advanced Parkinson’s disease (PD), reported that this medication can improve motor symptoms and have favourable effects on mood in patients with PD (3).

Another study, assessing the efficacy of Duloxetine in depression and mood disorders concluded that Duloxetine is effective not only for depressive illnesses but also for non-definitive issues like mood swings (4). 

A clinical study evaluating the use of Duloxetine for treating patients with depression stated that patients diagnosed with depression and also patients who do not fit the criteria of depression, but show signs of mood fluctuations, can be effectively treated with Duloxetine (5).

A study of the effect of Duloxetine on mood swings and mood disorders in cancer patients was also published. This study had 59 patients and a general improvement in mood was found in all of the study participants. This indicates that mood improvement can be achieved through duloxetine therapy (6).

When can Cymbalta be prescribed for mood swings?

Cymbalta may be used for the treatment of mood swings when the patient needs an antidepressant for their fluctuating mood. It can also be used for patients with bipolar disorder to stabilize their mood if no other option is working.

Keep in mind that this medication can only be used for mood swings under the guidance of a healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider will assess your situation, the nature of your mood swings and the need for Duloxetine treatment.

Factors affecting the efficacy of Cymbalta for managing mood swings

Some factors that can affect the efficacy of Cymbalta in managing mood swings are as follows:

Individual dissimilarities

Each person distinctively responds to each medication. This response may vary from person to person. What is good for one may not work for another individual. Moreover, each person has a different physiology, genetics and metabolism. These factors can influence the efficacy of Cymbalta.

Concomitant depressive illnesses

Cymbalta is mostly prescribed when the individual has symptoms of a depressive illness along with mood swings. Sometimes individuals may not present with definitive symptoms of depression or anxiety but have mood swings. This type of patients are given multiple therapies with varied combinations of antidepressants. 

Lifestyle factors

Lifestyle factors like diet, exercise and stress can affect the efficacy of any medication, including Cymbalta. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with plenty of exercise, sleep and healthy food can increase the efficacy of Cymbalta.

Patience and persistence

Cymbalta therapy, and antidepressant therapy in general may take weeks or even months to reach their full potential. Factors like patience, persistence and compliance all affect the efficacy of Cymbalta.

Individuals should be persistent and stick to the dosage regimen provided by their healthcare providers to see the full effect of Duloxetine on mood swings.

Potential side effects and considerations when using Cymbalta

If you are taking Cymbalta for your mood swings you may want to keep a watch for the following side effects: 

Sometimes rare side effects also occur, like:

  • Suicidal ideation
  • Seizures
  • Hyponatremia
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Hepatotoxicity
  • Serotonin syndrome
  • Blood pressure changes
  • Manic episodes

What to do if Cymbalta is not helping your mood swings?

If Cymbalta is not helping with your mood swings and your symptoms do not seem to improve, you can do the following to help manage your condition

Consult your doctor

First and foremost, you should tell your doctor about your situation and let him evaluate and decide the best plan that will meet your needs. Your doctor can give you proper guidance regarding your condition and suggest alternative treatment options if needed.

Dosage adjustment

The dose of Cymbalta is crucial for it to work. It is normally started at the lowest possible dose and then gradually increased just to make sure that it works as intended. Cymbalta needs to be at a steady level in the body to show effects. Your doctor may suggest increasing or decreasing the dose based on your requirements.

Mood stabilizers

Additive therapies of mood stabilizers to the regimen can also be an option if Cymbalta monotherapy is not improving your mood swings. Agents like lithium, carbamazepine, lamotrigine and valproate can help with your condition. The choice of adjunctive therapy depends on individual characteristics and the evaluation of your healthcare provider.

Monitoring by healthcare provider

The efficacy of Cymbalta depends on close monitoring of the individual at the start of treatment, or after any change. It is important to go for follow-up visits with your doctor so that necessary adjustments can be made in time.

Lifestyle factors

Lifestyle factors play an important role in helping to increase the efficacy of Cymbalta. Having a healthy lifestyle, proper nutrition and adequate sleep can manage mood along with increasing the effectiveness of Cymbalta.

Alternatives to Cymbalta for mood swings

If Cymbalta does not work for your mood swings many other options are available, that your healthcare provider can use. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) (like fluoxetine, sertraline and citalopram), other SNRIs (venlafaxine), norepinephrine dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRI) (like bupropion) and mood stabilisers (like lithium or lamotrigine) are some of the alternatives available.

These medications should only be given on the prescription of a healthcare professional after a thorough assessment of the associated risks and benefits for that specific individual.

Other tips to manage mood swings

Some other tips to manage and improve mood swings while on Cymbalta are as follows:

  • You should consult your doctor and show up for every follow-up so anything serious can be timely addressed.
  • You should maintain a healthy lifestyle with proper diet and plenty of exercise. 
  • You should try stress relaxation techniques like meditation and yoga to improve your situation.
  • Try joining therapy and social support groups that can teach coping strategies and different positive ways to process your emotions.
  • Try getting enough sleep each night by following a sleep schedule.

If these tips and Cymbalta do not improve your condition you should consult your doctor and request an alternative medication to manage your symptoms.


In this article, we discussed the efficacy of Cymbalta in helping with mood swings. We also discussed factors affecting the efficacy and tips on how to manage mood swings along with Cymbalta therapy.

To the best of my knowledge and research, Cymbalta does help mood swings. However, the efficacy of this medication depends on various factors and individual responses to the medication. It is always advised to start this therapy on the prescription of a healthcare provider after a thorough assessment of risks and benefits.

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Torta R, Leombruni P, Borio R, Castelli L. Duloxetine for the treatment of mood disorder in cancer patients: a 12‐week case‐control clinical trial. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental. 2011 Jun;26(4-5):291-9.

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