Cymbalta And Alcohol: Can One Drink On Duloxetine?

Last Updated: December 18, 2019

Authored by Sharon Levy, MD, MPH

Cymbalta and alcohol interaction is a concerning matter for many patients who have only begun taking the drug. Some wonder whether they can drink on Cymbalta, others may worry about the consequences after drinking. Mixing alcohol and duloxetine can certainly lead to the development of severe health problems and even result in death. In some cases, however, small amounts of alcohol may not affect the person taking the drug in an adverse way.

Cymbalta And Alcohol

Can One Drink Alcohol While Taking Cymbalta?

Duloxetine is a drug that requires careful attention and close monitoring. Taking Cymbalta while pregnant, receiving treatment despite the potential side effects, and having a glass of wine at dinner while on duloxetine – all involve certain risks. It is generally not recommended to mix alcohol and Cymbalta. This medication poses a threat to patients with existing liver problems, and frequent or excessive drinking significantly increases the risk of severe liver damage when it is taken with duloxetine. Drinking may also disrupt the treatment and reduce the therapeutic effects of duloxetine.

At the same time, taking Cymbalta and drinking a small amount of alcohol once might not affect the person in an adverse way. The level of risk increases along with the amount of ingested alcohol. If a person is unwilling to stop drinking completely for the duration of the treatment, it is crucial to consult a doctor and determine the best course of action. In certain cases, the benefits of duloxetine will outweigh the risks of its interaction with spirits. Frequently, however, it will be necessary to switch to a different medication.

drinking on cymbalta

Why Does One Shouldn’t Drink On Duloxetine?

As in the case with the majority of antidepressants, duloxetine and alcohol don’t go well together. Cymbalta generic name is duloxetine, a balanced serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. Since treatment with SNRIs usually lasts for months, this property can present an unexpected challenge to those who drink rarely. Such patients can encounter a variety of social occasions when drinking is expected.

Cymbalta And Alcohol Side Effects

General Side Effects While Drinking On Duloxetine

Alcohol intensifies Cymbalta side effects and how long they last. Drinking on duloxetine influence the production of the same chemicals in the brain and, hence, can amplify each other’s side effects, while reducing the effectiveness of the antidepressant. After drinking while on the medication, a person may experience:

  • severe nausea
  • vomiting
  • confusion
  • drowsiness
  • dizziness

These effects are similar to the symptoms that appear as a result of combining Cymbalta and gabapentin.

Another significant issue is Cymbalta and alcohol cravings. While the drug is sometimes prescribed to help relieve the psychological effects of alcohol withdrawal, it can result in stronger cravings when used incorrectly. Duloxetine might also facilitate intoxication. Therefore, Cymbalta can induce more prolonged alcohol blackouts.

Liver Damage

In combination with alcohol, Cymbalta is more prone to causing liver damage. Even without any additional substances, an initial dose of duloxetine 30 mg might be damaging to a person with severe intolerance to the medication.

The possibility of severe liver damage is one of the most dangerous side effects of duloxetine. For this reason, alcohol use while on duloxetine should be approached with extreme caution. The level of risk is determined by every person’s tolerance for both the medication and any spirit. However, it is advisable to refrain from drinking during Cymbalta treatment or seek medical advice on switching to a different antidepressant drug. If a patient feels unable to quit Cymbalta, as well as drinking, it is vital to find professional treatment to overcome these addictions successfully.

drinking on cymbalta and liver damage

Increased Depression

Another peril of mixing Cymbalta with alcohol is worsening of the person’s mental state. All liquors act as a depressant, canceling out the positive impact of duloxetine. The individual might speculate that the drug has suddenly stopped working instead of attributing the change to drinking. Moreover, it is known that liquors tend to worsen the existing symptoms of depression or trigger their development. Therefore, their concurrent use with duloxetine may subsequently lead to suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

In addition, there is a risk of developing antidepressant discontinuation syndrome. Drinking any spirits during this period may result in a relapse of depression and make it harder to get back on track with the recovery process. Besides, discontinuation of Cymbalta treatment and its replacement with alcohol might leave the person more vulnerable to developing an alcohol addiction.

Always Stay Aware Of Drinking On Duloxetine

Drinking on Cymbalta is a dangerous and ill-advised activity. Alcohol interacts with duloxetine and exerts a variety of negative effects on the person’s body, including extreme drowsiness and confusion, blackouts, and nausea. Drinking while on duloxetine is also associated with a high risk of liver damage. Finally, alcohol reduces the effects of the antidepressant, negating the person’s progress, inhibiting the recovery and increasing the risk of suicide. While one can drink alcohol with Cymbalta as long as the amount remains quite low, it is best to refrain from it or consult a doctor and switch medications. In case if any signs of addiction to the medication, it is urged to visit a professional rehabilitation center and follow further advises.

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Published on: May 30th, 2019

Updated on: December 18th, 2019

About Author

Sharon Levy, MD, MPH

After successful graduation from Boston University, MA, Sharon gained a Master’s degree in Public Health. Since then, Sharon devoted herself entirely to the medical niche. Sharon Levy is also a certified addiction recovery coach.


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