Does duloxetine cause acid reflux? (+5 factors)

In this article, we will discuss the acid reflux caused by duloxetine and the research studies linking the use of duloxetine to acid reflux. We will also discuss the factors that may increase the risk of acid reflux while taking duloxetine, as well as the management tips for acid reflux if it occurs after taking duloxetine. 

Does duloxetine cause acid reflux?

Yes, duloxetine can cause acid reflux. However, it is an uncommon side effect associated with this medication. The most common gastrointestinal side effects of duloxetine may include, stomach upset, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.

Duloxetine is an antidepressant medication that is frequently indicated in various medical conditions such as depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, and pain. The mechanism behind the therapeutic benefits of duloxetine may involve its interference with serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. Duloxetine, by increasing the levels of these neurotransmitters, helps in the reduction of sadness and regulation of mood associated with various mental disorders(1).

While duloxetine is a well-tolerated medication and the incidence of serious side effects associated with this medication is low, it may cause rare side effects such as acid reflux, in susceptible patients.

What does research suggest?

There is currently limited research on duloxetine-induced acid reflux. However, a few research studies have suggested a connection between the use of duloxetine and the occurrence of acid reflux in some individuals.

According to research, acid reflux is an uncommon side effect associated with duloxetine and has been reported in only 2% of individuals using the medication. In one case highlighted in a research study, an elderly woman reported experiencing acid reflux after using duloxetine to manage fibromyalgia pain (2).

Although such occurrences are not common, it is possible for some individuals to experience acid reflux when taking duloxetine. Research also suggests that women are more likely to experience this side effect, with a reported rate of 85% in women (2).

What factors can increase the risk of duloxetine-induced acid reflux?

Several factors may increase the risk of occurrence of side effects of duloxetine such as acid reflux, which does not occur frequently in most of the individuals who take this medication. These factors may include:

Individual sensitivity: Individual responses to medications may vary from one person to another. An individual sensitivity to duloxetine may increase the risk of occurrence of various side effects of the medication including acid reflux.

Higher dosage: A high dosage of duloxetine is more likely to cause side effects that rarely occur with its usage in individuals. In such cases, dosage adjustment can reduce the occurrence of these side effects in susceptible patients.

Concurrent medications: Concurrent use of medications with duloxetine, which commonly causes gastrointestinal side effects, including acid reflux, doubles the risk of experiencing these side effects. Such medications may include ibuprofen, naproxen, aspirin, and various other NSAIDs (3).

Pre-existing gastrointestinal disorders: Individuals with underlying gastrointestinal disorders, such as Zollinger-Ellison syndrome and peptic ulcers, are more susceptible to experiencing acid reflux as a side effect of duloxetine (4).

Stress and anxiety: Stress and anxiety can also impact the functioning of the digestive system by changing the body’s response to certain stimuli. During periods of stress, the body may produce more stomach acid, leading to an increased likelihood of acid reflux (5).

What to do if duloxetine causes acid reflux?

If you are experiencing persistent and unbearable symptoms of acid reflux after taking duloxetine, it is recommended that you consult your healthcare provider. They can assess your condition and determine the actual cause of the acid reflux.

If the symptoms are related to the use of duloxetine, your healthcare provider may adjust the dosage of the medication. However, if the symptoms persist even after the dose reduction, your healthcare provider may recommend an alternative medication for the management of your underlying mental disorder, which is less likely to cause or exacerbate the symptoms of acid reflux.

In some cases, your healthcare provider may also prescribe additional medication to manage acid reflux while taking duloxetine. These medications aim to reduce stomach acid production. Examples of such medications include Omeprazole, Pantoprazole, Ranitidine, and Cimetidine.

It is important to note that the choice of medication for the management of acid reflux should be based on individual sensitivity to medication, concurrent medications, and underlying medical conditions of an individual.

What are alternatives to duloxetine if it causes acid reflux? 

Acid reflux is a rare side effect of antidepressant medications, including duloxetine. However, if you experience this side effect while taking duloxetine and it is affecting your quality of life, then you should consult your healthcare provider. They may recommend an alternative medication that is less likely to cause acid reflux compared to duloxetine. Some of these alternative medications include:

  • amitriptyline
  • buspirone
  • mirtazapine
  • fluvoxamine
  • venlafaxine

It is important to note that while these medications do not typically cause acid reflux, they may be associated with other potentially serious side effects. The decision to switch from one antidepressant to another should be based on the overall risks and benefits of therapy.

This transition should only be done under the supervision of a healthcare professional because the sudden withdrawal of antidepressants, including duloxetine, may lead to discontinuation syndrome.

To my knowledge, acid reflux is not a common side effect of duloxetine, and patients rarely report this side effect in clinical studies. However, it is important to note that individual responses to medications may vary, and some patients are more susceptible to the side effects of certain medications, including duloxetine. If you experience any unwanted symptoms during treatment with duloxetine, consult your healthcare provider as soon as possible.




Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!



Dhaliwal JS, Spurling BC, Molla M. Duloxetine. 2023 May 29. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan–. PMID: 31747213.


Vaghela N, Jadav N, Kollampare S, Patel P, Oza M. Acid Reflux: A Rare Adverse Effect of Duloxetine. Cureus. 2023 Jul 23;15(7):e42327. doi: 10.7759/cureus.42327. PMID: 37621822; PMCID: PMC10445045.


Bigard MA, Pelletier AL. Complications oesophagiennes des médicaments anti-inflammatoires non stéroïdiens [Esophageal complications of non steroidal antiinflammatory drugs]. Gastroenterol Clin Biol. 2004 Apr;28 Spec No 3:C58-61. French. doi: 10.1016/s0399-8320(04)95279-7. PMID: 15366675.


Cho MS, Kasi A. Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome. 2022 Nov 21. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan–. PMID: 30726029.


Bradley LA, Richter JE, Pulliam TJ, Haile JM, Scarinci IC, Schan CA, Dalton CB, Salley AN. The relationship between stress and symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux: the influence of psychological factors. Am J Gastroenterol. 1993 Jan;88(1):11-9. PMID: 8420248.

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