Cymbalta and Weight Changes

by on April 22, 2012


In various cases, side effects have been known to include both weight gain and weight loss. Mild weight loss is generally not a problem and only about 2 percent of users reported notable weight loss on the drug. Severe weight loss can be dangerous, however, and should be addressed.  Side effects relating to weight gain are less common. When this occurs, the patient’s doctor will typically recommend changes in diet and exercise to maintain a healthy body weight. If serious weight gain persists, the medication may need to be stopped.

Weight Gain

Only a small percentage of patients who take Cymbalta report gaining weight while doing so. The amount of weight gained is generally only a few pounds in most cases.

Women who are prescribed this drug for Fibromyalgia are more likely than other women are to experience weight gain. Overall, more women than men report gaining weight after they begin taking this medicine, which could mean that hormones play a role in this.

Weight Loss

One of the more common side effects of Cymbalta is weight loss. The reason for this is that it often works as an appetite suppressant, so patients who take this medication may eat less than others do. Another side effect is diarrhea, so people who experience severe cases of it may lose weight as a result. People who are taking this prescription to help them with depression may be more likely to lose weight than those taking it for pain relief. Even though Cymbalta and weight loss often go together, doctors generally do not prescribe this medication to help their patients become thinner.

Counteracting the Effects

Since it is difficult to tell whether a patient might gain or lose weight while taking Cymbalta, planning a strategy to maintain a healthy weight can be hard to do. In order to prevent gaining weight, patients should try to plan healthy meals and avoid junk food while taking this medication. Regular exercise can help people maintain a healthy weight but could offer an extra advantage for those who lose too much weight on Cymbalta. Since exercise often increases the appetite, it could counteract the tendency this drug has to suppress this urge, thereby keeping people from losing an excessive amount of weight during treatment.

Those who gain or lose an extreme amount of weight while taking this medication should speak to their doctor before continuing treatment. In most instances, fluctuating weight is not a major concern and can be easily controlled by making simple changes to the diet and lifestyle.