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Cymbalta dosage: A detailed guide

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Form and strengthsDosageFAQHow it's takenCouponOverdoseAsk your doctorBoxed warning
Doctors prescribe Cymbalta for depression and anxiety. It’s also used to treat nerve pain related to diabetes, fibromyalgia, and chronic (long-term) musculoskeletal pain. You take it by mouth one or two times per day.
Medically reviewed by Paul Hetrick, PharmD
Updated on

This article describes Cymbalta’s dosages and strengths and gives details on how to take it. You’ll also find information on cost savings and coupon options for Cymbalta. If you want to know more about Cymbalta, see this overview article. It covers details about the drug’s uses and side effects, ways to save on cost, and more.

Cymbalta is a brand-name medication that comes as tablets that you swallow. It’s available in a generic version called duloxetine. This article describes dosages of Cymbalta.

Boxed warning: Risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors

Cymbalta has a boxed warning for the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

See the end of this article for more information about this warning.

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Form and strengths of Cymbalta

Cymbalta comes as follows:

  • Form: delayed-release capsule that you swallow
  • Strengths: 20 milligrams (mg), 30 mg, 60 mg

Note: “Delayed release” means the drug is released into your body slowly over time.

Dosage of Cymbalta

This article describes the recommended dosages for Cymbalta. The drugmaker provides these dosages.

If your doctor prescribes this medication, you should follow the dosage they prescribe. Your doctor will determine the dosage that best meets your needs. Do not change your dosage of Cymbalta without your doctor’s recommendation.

Usual recommended dosages of Cymbalta in adults

Cymbalta is used to treat depression and anxiety. It’s also prescribed for diabetic nerve pain, fibromyalgia, and chronic (long-term) musculoskeletal pain.

Usually, doctors start by prescribing a low dosage of Cymbalta. Then, they’ll adjust it over time until the right dosage is reached. Ultimately, your doctor will prescribe the smallest dosage of Cymbalta that gives the desired outcome.

Dosage for fibromyalgia, depression, and other conditions

The dosage of Cymbalta depends on the condition you’re taking it for.

The following table shows the recommended dosages of Cymbalta for adults.

ConditionAgeStarting dosageTarget dosageMaximum dosage
depression18 years and older30 to 60 mg per day, taken as one dose or split into two dosesdetermined by your doctor120 mg per day
anxietyyounger than 65 years30 to 60 mg once per daydetermined by your doctor120 mg per day
anxiety65 years and older30 mg once per day60 mg per day120 mg per day
diabetic nerve pain18 years and older60 mg once per daydetermined by your doctor60 mg per day
fibromyalgia18 years and older30 mg once per day60 mg once per day60 mg per day
chronic (long-term) musculoskeletal pain18 years and older30 mg once per day60 mg once per day60 mg per day

Dosages of Cymbalta in children

Cymbalta is used to treat the following conditions in children:

The following table outlines the recommended dosages of Cymbalta for children.

ConditionAgeStarting dosageTarget dosageMaximum dosage
anxiety7 to 17 years30 mg once per day30 to 60 mg once per day120 mg per day
fibromyalgia13 to 17 years30 mg once per day30 to 60 mg once per daydetermined by your child’s doctor

Dosage adjustments for Cymbalta

Your doctor will prescribe a dosage of Cymbalta based on several factors. These include:

  • the specific condition being treated and how severe it is
  • your age
  • other health conditions you may have
  • other medications you take
  • how your condition responds to Cymbalta

Missed dose of Cymbalta

If a dose of Cymbalta is missed, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it’s almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and take the next Cymbalta dose at the regular time. Do not take two doses of Cymbalta at the same time.

If you forgot to take a dose of Cymbalta and you’re unsure of what to do, talk with your doctor or pharmacist right away. They may advise you to take the missed dose. Or they may advise you to skip it and take your next dose as scheduled.

For tips on how to plan your doses of Cymbalta and avoid missing a dose, read this article. You could also try:

  • downloading a reminder app on your phone
  • setting an alarm
  • putting a note where you’ll see it, such as on your calendar, bathroom mirror, or bedside table

Frequently asked questions

Below are answers to some commonly asked questions about Cymbalta and its dosage.

What is the lowest recommended daily dose of Cymbalta?

Cymbalta comes in three strengths: 20 mg, 30 mg, and 60 mg. The lowest recommended daily dose of Cymbalta is 30 to 60 mg, depending on your age and why you’re taking the drug. In certain cases, such as if you’re experiencing side effects or if you have kidney disease, doctors may prescribe a lower dose of Cymbalta.

Take Cymbalta exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Taking doses that differ from those prescribed can increase your risk of side effects or make the medication less effective.

If you have questions about the right dosage of Cymbalta for you, talk with your doctor.

Is Cymbalta taken long term?

Yes, doctors typically prescribe Cymbalta as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that it’s safe and effective for your condition, you’ll likely take it long term.

If you have questions about how long you should take Cymbalta, talk with your doctor.

Is there a risk of dependence or withdrawal with Cymbalta?

Yes, Cymbalta can cause drug dependence and withdrawal symptoms. (Withdrawal symptoms are side effects that can occur when you stop taking a drug that your body has become dependent on. And with dependence, your body needs the drug to function as usual.)

If you suddenly stop taking Cymbalta, you may experience “discontinuation syndrome,” which is another way to describe withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • dizziness
  • headache
  • increased sweating
  • fatigue
  • irritability
  • nausea or vomiting

Due to this risk, you should not stop taking Cymbalta without talking with your doctor. If you need to stop Cymbalta, your doctor will likely come up with a plan for you to slowly lower your dose over time until it’s safe for you to stop the drug completely.

If you have more questions about the risk of dependence and withdrawal, talk with your doctor.

How Cymbalta is taken

You’ll swallow Cymbalta one or two times per day as prescribed by your doctor. You can take it with or without food.

Your doctor may advise that you take this medication around the same time each day. This helps keep a consistent amount of the drug in your body. And that can help the drug work more effectively.

Cymbalta capsules should not be opened, crushed, or chewed. The capsules should not be opened and mixed with food or liquids. Doing so can affect how the medication is absorbed in your body. Swallow the capsules whole. If it’s hard for you to swallow capsules, view this article. It provides suggestions on how to swallow medications that come in pill form.

Also, be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you’re having difficulty taking your medication. They can offer recommendations about taking it.

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Overdose of Cymbalta

It’s important that you do not take more Cymbalta than your doctor prescribes. Doing so can lead to harmful effects.

Symptoms of Cymbalta overdose

Symptoms of an overdose can include:

  • sleepiness
  • coma
  • serotonin syndrome (too much serotonin)
  • seizures
  • fainting
  • fast heart rate
  • low or high blood pressure
  • vomiting

What to do if you take too much Cymbalta

If you think you’ve taken too much Cymbalta, call your doctor or pharmacist right away. Or you could call 800-222-1222 to speak with someone at America’s Poison Centers. You can also use its online resource. If you have severe symptoms, call 911 or a local emergency number immediately. You can also go to the closest emergency room.

What to ask your doctor

This article describes the usual recommended dosages for Cymbalta. If your doctor prescribes this medication, they’ll determine the dosage that’s best for you.

Do not change your dosage of Cymbalta without your doctor’s recommendation. You should take Cymbalta exactly as your doctor prescribes it. Let your doctor know if you have concerns or questions about your treatment plan.

Here’s a list of some possible questions you may want to ask your doctor:

  • Will a higher dosage of Cymbalta increase my risk of side effects?
  • How often will my dosage of Cymbalta change?
  • How does the dosage of Cymbalta compare with the dosage of other drugs that could treat my condition?

Boxed warning for Cymbalta

Cymbalta has a boxed warning for the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the FDA.

If you’re age 24 years or younger, taking Cymbalta can raise your risk of having suicidal thoughts and behaviors. During treatment, you and your loved ones should watch closely for any changes in your mood, thoughts, or behavior.

If you have thoughts of suicide during Cymbalta treatment, call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988. Or tell your doctor right away. You can also refer to this article for ways to seek support.

You can talk with your doctor to learn more about this warning.

Disclaimer: Optum Perks has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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