Cymbalta Sexual Side Effects In Females And Males

Last Updated: December 18, 2019

Authored by Sharon Levy, MD, MPH

Cymbalta sexual side effects, as well as other antidepressants, are one of the most complained among patients who are prescribed the drug. As a result, these duloxetine sexual side effects can make the patients stop taking the medication. This is detrimental to their health and wellbeing. Therefore, having an understanding of Cymbalta sex drive changes and how to cope with them is important.

Cymbalta Sexual Side Effects In Men

The most common sexual side effects of Cymbalta in men are erectile dysfunction, difficulty reaching orgasm, reduced sexual desire, and ejaculatory dysfunction. These duloxetine side effects are not pleasant, so many patients strive to find help.

Orgasm Problems

Sexual orgasm is the last of the three sexual functioning stages in men after desire (libido) and psychological arousal. One theory that links Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs) such as Cymbalta to orgasm problems is based on the drug’s effects on serotonin and norepinephrine levels in the brain. Serotonin tends to inhibit sexual activity, and once there is an increase in the brain, sexual functions tend to decline. According to the FDA, only 4% of men experience orgasm abnormalities.

Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction is the difficulty of a man to have or maintain an erection. Generally, 4% of men on Cymbalta may experience erectile dysfunction at some point. This duloxetine side effect can impact the patient’s quality of life and, therefore, they should consult a doctor to adjust the treatment plan.
cymbalta sexual side effects in men

Ejaculatory Dysfunction

Ejaculatory dysfunction as one of duloxetine side effects in men occurs either when a man ejaculates sooner or later than his partner expects on all occasions – delayed ejaculation or retrograde ejaculation. Ejaculatory Dysfunction occurs in about 3% of male patients on duloxetine. However, these sexual side effects of Cymbalta can be managed.

Decreased Libido

Decreased libido is generally a lower sexual desire and interest. Cymbalta use and libido problems occur more predominantly in men than women. About 6% of men being treated for depression are affected. Similarly, this duloxetine libido side effect is seen in about 7% of all patients being treated for generalized anxiety disorder.

Cymbalta Side Effects In Females

The sexual side effects of Cymbalta in women affects them just as much as it does in men. Similar to men, depressive female patients who are on duloxetine experience a decreased sex drive. Furthermore, women experience delayed lubrication making sex quite unpleasant. Relative to men, women are at a higher risk of depression and anxiety, but the lower sexual side effects of Cymbalta.

Orgasm Problems

Women who are on duloxetine may find it difficult to reach sexual climax. Having unsatisfying orgasm is another symptom of orgasm dysfunction in women. As a result, some of them may stop taking the drug altogether. The FDA reports that nearly 2% of women experience duloxetine orgasm abnormalities of any type. And once they become frequent, women stop taking antidepressant medication.

Decreased Libido

Similarly to men, women also can experience duloxetine libido changes, although to a lower extent: only 1% of women are reported to have such problems.

Managing Sexual Side Effects

It is important to talk to a doctor about these sexual side effects. This is because not all remedies will work for everyone. Therefore, if a patient is experiencing sexual side effects of Cymbalta, it would be recommended to talk to a doctor to adjust a dose. If taking two Cymbalta 30mg capsules daily makes a patient experiences these effects, then they should consider reducing the dosage.

cymbalta sexual side effects in women

Apart from the above-mentioned general advice, if Cymbalta is causing erectile dysfunction, here are some recommendations that can be taken to manage these effects:

  • Determine proper timing and take the medication after sex.
  • Switch the current brand of antidepressant medication to a different one to manage Cymbalta sex drive changes. This should be facilitated by medical supervision.
  • Consider taking erectile dysfunction medication for men. As for women, Cymbalta and Wellbutrin may be used in combination to counter SSRI-induced sexual dysfunction. However, these drugs should be used under close medical supervision.
  • Consult your sexual partner on a possible solution that will be beneficial for both the patient’s mental health, as well as their sexual lives.
  • Wait and see if the duloxetine erectile dysfunction will go away. This normally happens once the body has adjusted to the antidepressant medication.

The Other Side Of Sex Drive Problems

It is common for antidepressants medication to have sexual side effects on both genders. Cymbalta causes erectile dysfunction, ejaculatory dysfunction, and orgasm problems in men. Duloxetine has similar sexual side effects in females as well. Nonetheless, the depressive patients taking the medication can use some techniques to manage these effects. Sometimes, sex drive changes can happen as a result of drug abuse. In this case, the only right solution is to find proper addiction treatment as soon as possible. Drug rehabs specializing in antidepressant abuse treatment are worth considering.

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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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