Does Cymbalta withdrawal cause diarrhea? (3+ tips)

In this article, we will discuss whether Cymbalta withdrawal causes diarrhea, what research suggests, what factors can affect the occurrence of diarrhea as Cymbalta withdrawal,  what to do if you experience diarrhea as a withdrawal effect of Cymbalta, and what other withdrawal effects of Cymbalta are.

Does Cymbalta withdrawal cause diarrhea?

Yes, Cymbalta withdrawal may cause gastrointestinal issues, including diarrhea. The withdrawal symptoms of Cymbalta can vary from person to person. It’s important to discontinue Cymbalta by gradually tapering the medication under the supervision of your healthcare provider to ensure safety. (1)

Cymbalta (duloxetine) is a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor and is commonly prescribed to treat major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, fibromyalgia, diabetic neuropathic pain, and chronic musculoskeletal pain. (2)

Abrupt discontinuation of Cymbalta can cause symptoms like headache, nausea, anxiety, fatigue, dizziness, insomnia, etc. (1)

How does Cymbalta withdrawal cause diarrhea?

Cymbalta mainly affects serotonin and norepinephrine levels in the brain. Serotonin is not only involved in mood regulation but also has a significant impact on the gastrointestinal tract. Changes in serotonin and norepinephrine levels can affect the contractions of the muscles in the gastrointestinal tract, potentially leading to diarrhea.

However, it is important to note that individual responses to Cymbalta withdrawal can vary, and not everyone will experience diarrhea. So, it’s important to follow the prescribed tapering schedule to avoid the symptoms of Cymbalta withdrawal.

What does research suggest?

Research on Cymbalta withdrawal and its associated symptoms, including diarrhea, is in process. An analysis of six trials concluded that Cymbalta (duloxetine) withdrawal causes typical discontinuation emergent adverse effects (DEAE), including diarrhea, in 44.3% of patients. Cymbalta has a 10-fold selectivity for 5-HT receptors and thus causes more serotonin-related withdrawal effects. (3)

However, the studies linking diarrhea to Cymbalta withdrawal are limited. Some studies have reported gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhea, as part of the withdrawal profile for duloxetine and other SNRIs. (4

It is essential to note that individual responses to Cymbalta withdrawal can vary, and not everyone who discontinues Cymbalta will experience diarrhea. The severity and duration of symptoms can also differ among individuals depending on the frequency and dosage of Cymbalta they are taking.

What factors affect the occurrence of diarrhea as Cymbalta withdrawal?

It’s crucial to note that individual responses can vary, and not everyone will experience diarrhea due to Cymbalta withdrawal. Several factors can influence the presentation of diarrhea as Cymbalta withdrawal, including:

  • Age: The metabolism and elimination of drugs can change with age. It can affect how quickly the body eliminates Cymbalta from the circulatory system in older adults. Older adults may be more prone to certain withdrawal symptoms, including diarrhea.


  • Coexisting health conditions: Individuals with gastrointestinal issues may experience more pronounced digestive symptoms, including diarrhea, during Cymbalta withdrawal.


  • Length of treatment: The duration of treatment with Cymbalta can affect the severity, nature and duration of withdrawal symptoms. Long-term users may experience more pronounced gastrointestinal effects, including diarrhea, than those who have taken the medication for a short time.

What are some other withdrawal symptoms of Cymbalta?

Cymbalta withdrawal may be associated with a range of other symptoms, including, but not limited to:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Fear
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia or changes in sleep patterns
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety

It’s essential to be aware of the potential withdrawal effects and communicate openly with your healthcare provider to address any concerns or difficulties during the discontinuation process. (1,8)

What to do if you experience diarrhea as Cymbalta withdrawal?

If you are experiencing diarrhea as a withdrawal effect of Cymbalta, it is crucial to seek guidance from your healthcare provider. Here are some tips for managing diarrhea:

  • Consult Your Healthcare Provider: Informing your healthcare provider about your symptoms, including diarrhea, and discussing a tapering schedule can help you get better soon. Your healthcare provider can also recommend cross-tapering with Prozac to help with the withdrawal symptoms of Cymbalta.


  • Over-the-counter (OTC) antidiarrheals: Your healthcare provider may recommend OTC antidiarrheal medications like Imodium (loperamide) and Pepto-Bismol (bismuth-subsalicylate) to control diarrhea. (5)


  • Gradual Tapering: Suddenly stopping Cymbalta can increase the probability and severity of withdrawal symptoms. If your healthcare provider decides to discontinue Cymbalta, they will recommend a 2-week tapering schedule to help minimize withdrawal effects. (7)


  • Hydration: Diarrhea can lead to dehydration, so drinking lots of fluids and using oral rehydration solution (ORS) to compensate for lost electrolytes is essential. (6)


  • Diet: Maintaining a balanced diet and avoiding foods that may exacerbate diarrhea, e.g., spicy and oily foods, can be beneficial. Your healthcare provider may offer specific dietary recommendations, e.g., porridge or soup. (6)


According to my knowledge and research, diarrhea may be a withdrawal symptom associated with discontinuing Cymbalta, but individual experiences can vary. If you are considering discontinuing Cymbalta or are already in the discontinuation process, it is crucial to consult your healthcare provider.

Your healthcare provider will develop a tapering plan according to your needs that minimizes withdrawal symptoms and ensures your safety.

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!



HIGHLIGHTS OF PRESCRIBING INFORMATION: Cymbalta (duloxetine hydrochloride) by The U.S. Food and Drug Administration,


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


Perahia DG, Kajdasz DK, Desaiah D, Haddad PM. Symptoms following abrupt discontinuation of duloxetine treatment in patients with major depressive disorder. J Affect Disord. 2005 Dec;89(1-3):207-12. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2005.09.003. Epub 2005 Nov 2. PMID: 16266753.


Fava GA, Benasi G, Lucente M, Offidani E, Cosci F, Guidi J. Withdrawal Symptoms after Serotonin-Noradrenaline Reuptake Inhibitor Discontinuation: Systematic Review. Psychother Psychosom. 2018;87(4):195-203. doi: 10.1159/000491524. Epub 2018 Jul 17. PMID: 30016772.


Fletcher P, Steffen R, DuPont H. Benefit/risk considerations with respect to OTC-descheduling of loperamide. Arzneimittelforschung. 1995 May;45(5):608-13. PMID: 7612062.


Brandt KG, Castro Antunes MM, Silva GA. Acute diarrhea: evidence-based management. J Pediatr (Rio J). 2015 Nov-Dec;91(6 Suppl 1):S36-43. doi: 10.1016/j.jped.2015.06.002. Epub 2015 Sep 6. PMID: 26351768.


Bitter I, Filipovits D, Czobor P. Adverse reactions to duloxetine in depression. Expert Opin Drug Saf. 2011 Nov;10(6):839-50. doi: 10.1517/14740338.2011.582037. Epub 2011 May 5. PMID: 21545241.


Hou, Y., & Lai, C. H. (2014, January 1), Long-Term Duloxetine Withdrawal Syndrome and Management in a Depressed Patient, Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences; American Psychiatric Association Publishing, Available from:

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