If you have a certain kind of mental health problem or condition that causes pain, your doctor might suggest Cymbalta as a treatment option.
Cymbalta is a prescription medication used to treat the following:
- major depressive disorder (MDD) in adults
- generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) in adults and some children
- fibromyalgia in adults and some children
- diabetic neuropathy (diabetic nerve pain) in adults
- chronic musculoskeletal pain (long-term pain in the muscles, bones, or joints) in adults
The active ingredient in Cymbalta is duloxetine. An active ingredient is what makes a drug work. It belongs to a group of drugs called serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).
Cymbalta comes as a delayed-release capsule that you take by mouth.
This article describes the dosages of Cymbalta, as well as its strengths and how to take it. To learn more about Cymbalta, see this in-depth article.
Note: This article covers Cymbalta’s usual dosages, which are provided by the drug’s manufacturer. But when taking Cymbalta, always take the dosage that your doctor prescribes.
Below is information about Cymbalta’s usual dosages.
What is Cymbalta’s form?
Cymbalta comes as delayed-release capsules that you swallow. A delayed-release drug doesn’t break down in your body right away. This helps certain drugs such as Cymbalta work for a longer time and more effectively.
What strengths does Cymbalta come in?
Cymbalta is available in three strengths: 20 milligrams (mg), 30 mg, and 60 mg.
What are the usual dosages of Cymbalta?
Your doctor will likely start you on a low dosage of Cymbalta and adjust it over time to reach the right amount for you. They’ll ultimately prescribe the smallest dosage that provides the desired effect.
The information in this section describes commonly used or recommended dosages. But be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. They’ll determine the best dosage to fit your needs.
The chart below provides a summary of Cymbalta’s dosages for adults. Be sure to read on for more details, including dosages for children.
Cymbalta dosing schedule for adults:
|Condition Cymbalta treats
|Usual starting dosage
|Usual ongoing dosage
|Usual maximum dosage
|diabetic nerve pain
|60 milligrams (mg) daily
|60 mg daily
|60 mg daily
|generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
|60 mg daily*
|60 mg daily
|120 mg daily
|major depressive disorder (MDD)
|40 to 60 mg daily
|60 mg daily
|120 mg daily
|30 mg daily
|60 mg daily
|60 mg daily
|long-term pain in the muscles, bones, or joints
|30 mg daily
|60 mg daily
|60 mg daily
* The recommended starting dosage for GAD in adults ages 65 and older is 30 mg daily.
Dosage for diabetic nerve pain
For treating diabetic nerve pain in adults, the recommended starting dosage of Cymbalta is 60 mg once per day. This is also the recommended maintenance (ongoing) dosage, as well as the maximum dosage of the drug, for this purpose.
Dosage for GAD
For adults younger than age 65 years, the recommended Cymbalta starting dosage for GAD is 60 mg once per day. This is also the recommended ongoing dosage.
For adults ages 65 years and older, the recommended starting dosage for GAD is 30 mg once per day. Doctors may then increase the dosage to 60 mg once per day if they determine it’s safe to do so.
The maximum dosage of Cymbalta to treat GAD in adults of any age is 120 mg once per day.
Dosage for MDD
The recommended starting dosage for treating MDD in most adults is 40 mg to 60 mg per day.
How often you’ll take a dose depends on whether your doctor prescribes the lower or higher dosage. If you’re prescribed a starting dosage of 40 mg per day, you’ll take 20 mg twice per day. If you’re prescribed a starting dosage of 60 mg per day, you’ll take either 30 mg twice per day or 60 mg once per day.
The recommended ongoing dosage for MDD is 60 mg once per day, and the maximum dosage is 120 mg per day.
Dosage for fibromyalgia
For treating fibromyalgia in adults, the recommended Cymbalta starting dosage is 30 mg once per day for the first week. After that, your doctor will likely increase your dosage to 60 mg once per day. This is also the maximum dosage recommended for this condition.
Dosage for long-term pain in the muscles, bones, or joints
For treating long-term pain in the muscles, bones, or joints in adults, the recommended Cymbalta starting dosage is 30 mg once per day for the first week. After that, your doctor will likely increase your dosage to 60 mg once per day. This is also the maximum dosage recommended for this condition.
What’s the dosage of Cymbalta for children?
Cymbalta is used to treat GAD in children ages 7 and older. It is also used to treat fibromyalgia in children ages 13 and older.
Dosage for GAD in children
The recommended Cymbalta dosage for treating GAD in children is 30 mg to 60 mg once per day.
Children with this condition will usually start treatment by taking 30 mg of Cymbalta once per day. After 2 weeks, their doctor may increase the dosage to 60 mg once per day if needed. The maximum dosage of Cymbalta to treat GAD in children is 120 mg per day.
Dosage for fibromyalgia in children
For treating fibromyalgia in children, the recommended Cymbalta dosage is 30 mg to 60 mg once per day. Children with this condition will usually start treatment by taking 30 mg of Cymbalta once per day. Their doctor may increase the dose to 60 mg once per day if needed. This is also the maximum dosage recommended for this condition.
Is Cymbalta used long term?
Yes, Cymbalta is usually used as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine it’s safe and effective for your condition, you’ll likely take it long term.
Below are answers to some commonly asked questions about Cymbalta’s dosage.
What is the maximum dose of Cymbalta?
The maximum dose of Cymbalta will depend on the condition you’re using the drug to treat.
Studies of Cymbalta helped determine the dosages that were safe and effective for a specific condition but didn’t cause too many side effects.
Your doctor will usually start you on the lowest dose that helps your condition. They may increase your dose to the highest that’s recommended if the drug works well for your condition and you don’t have bothersome side effects.
For more information about the maximum dose of Cymbalta for your condition, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Will increasing my Cymbalta dosage from 30 mg to 60 mg affect my risk of side effects?
Increasing dosages of any drug, including Cymbalta, may increase your risk of side effects. Your doctor will usually start you on the lowest dosage of Cymbalta for your condition.
The recommended Cymbalta dosage for treating fibromyalgia or long-term pain in the muscles, bones, or joints in adults is 60 mg once per day. But if you have one of these conditions, your doctor will likely start you on 30 mg once per day. If you’re doing well on this dose, your doctor may increase your dose to 60 mg once per day.
For more information about the risk of Cymbalta side effects with your dosage of the drug, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
If you miss a dose of Cymbalta, take the missed dose as soon as you remember.
But if it’s almost time for your next dose, skip your missed dose and take your next dose as scheduled. You should not take two doses at once to make up for a missed dose. This can increase your risk of side effects from Cymbalta.
If you need help remembering to take your dose of Cymbalta on time, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or downloading a reminder app on your phone.
The dosage of Cymbalta you’re prescribed may depend on several factors. These include:
- the type and severity of the condition you’re using the drug to treat
- your age
Cymbalta comes as a capsule that you’ll swallow whole. You can take it with or without food. Do not chew, crush, or open the capsule.
For information on the expiration, storage, and disposal of Cymbalta, see this article.
If you have trouble swallowing capsules, see this article for tips on how to take this form of medication.
Accessible drug containers and labels
If you find it hard to read the prescription label on your medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist. Some pharmacies provide medication labels that:
- have large print or use braille
- feature a code you can scan with a smartphone to change the text to audio
Your doctor or pharmacist may be able to recommend pharmacies that offer these accessibility features if your current pharmacy doesn’t.
If you have trouble opening medication bottles, let your pharmacist know. They may be able to supply Cymbalta in an easy-open container. They may also have tips to help make it simpler to open the drug’s container.
Do not take more Cymbalta than your doctor prescribes as this can lead to serious side effects.
Symptoms of overdose
Symptoms caused by an overdose can include:
- fast heart rate
- low blood pressure or high blood pressure
- serotonin syndrome
What to do in case you take too much Cymbalta
Call your doctor right away if you think you’ve taken too much Cymbalta. You can also call 800-222-1222 to reach the American Association of Poison Control Centers or use its online resource. But if you have severe symptoms, call 911 (or your local emergency number) immediately or go to the nearest emergency room.
Cymbalta can cause withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop taking it.
Withdrawal symptoms of Cymbalta include:
- feeling irritable or anxious
- fatigue (low energy)
- nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- numbness or tingling
- excessive sweating
Do not stop Cymbalta treatment without talking with your doctor. Your doctor can help you safely stop taking Cymbalta. They will likely decrease your dose over time until it’s safe for you to stop taking Cymbalta altogether.
The sections above describe the usual dosages provided by the drug’s manufacturer. If your doctor recommends Cymbalta for you, they’ll prescribe the dosage that’s right for you.
Remember, you shouldn’t change your dosage of Cymbalta without your doctor’s recommendation. Take Cymbalta exactly as prescribed. Talk with your doctor if you have questions or concerns about your current dosage.
Here are some examples of questions you may want to ask your doctor:
- Should my dosage change if Cymbalta isn’t working well enough for me?
- Would a different dosage increase or reduce my risk of side effects from Cymbalta?
- If I have a history of kidney or liver problems, can I take Cymbalta?
- Does my dosage of Cymbalta need to change if I’m taking other drugs?
To learn more about Cymbalta, you might be interested in these articles:
- Side Effects of Cymbalta: What You Need to Know
- Cymbalta Interactions: Alcohol, Medications, and Others
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Disclaimer: Healthline 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.