Suicide as a Side Effect of Cymbalta

by | Feb 2, 2011

Cymbalta is the brand name for duloxetine, an antidepressant made by Eli Lilly.    Side effects are expected while taking drugs, but Cymbalta has been singled out by the FDA because it has a HIGHER than expected rate of suicide attempts.


Starting with the clinical trials at Eli Lilly, a 19 year old woman without any history of mental problems hung herself.  There were four other suicides that took place during these trials.  Cymbalta was approved by the FDA and more suicides and attempted suicides took place.


A 37 year old man without any history of depression, was on Cymbalta for 2 months to handle his back pain.  He tried to kill himself by carbon monoxide poisoning.  He could not explain why he wanted to kill himself and returned to normal once off the drug.  A man in Texas, also without any history of depression, was prescribed Cymbalta.  He had a normal day at work and went home and shot himself. A 19 year old college student was put on Cymbalta and within a short time period he hung himself in his dorm room.


Other side effects include:  mood or behavior changes, anxiety, panic attacks, hostile, aggressive, stiff rigid muscles, hallucinations, unusual bleeding, memory problems, excessive sweating, seizures, persistent dizziness, skin problems and more.


Long term side effects are not known as this drug just came on the market approximately five years ago.  One person reported involuntary twitching and jerking motions that persisted three years after being off the drug.


Even The Indianapolis Star, Eli Lilly’s hometown newspaper, reported, “Cymbalta has proven to be the ‘Swiss Army Knife’ of Lilly drugs.


It’s vital to get fully informed about the adverse effects of any psychiatric drug as well as the alternative treatments.


  1. Jodie

    Started Cymbalta 8 days ago. Feeling severely anxious and depressed. Suicidal thoughts. Think I’m going to stop meds now

    • Maria

      I was about 44 yrs old when I was put on cymbalta for pain not depression .A few days into the medication upon waking I would stare into space for a good hr not moving just laying in bed still but my mind was in a fantasy of how beautiful breathing in water into my lungs in the bay ,we were at my families beach house right on the bay in chincoteague va.and the image in my mind lasting for about a hr was breath in the water then I will be forever in this colorful world of beautiful tropical fish so beautiful !well first of all there are no colorful fish in chincoteague bay only mostly gray it’s nothing tropical in there but that’s what I was watching myself do walk into the bay go under the water breath in the water without any struggle then pure bliss like a extra colorful world I would exist in and it was going to be so wonderful and beautiful ,since in the mind I was watching myself do this step by step like in 3rd person in the colorful coral reef world interacting with these beautiful species it started to seem that’s what I was supposed to do this repeated day after day for a hr after waking not moving just straight into this thought process while staring off into space once I started to move around it stopped after about a hr but while it was happening I felt like I could not move just lost staring into space for what seemed like a very long time a hr anyway thank goodness my mom says hey are you feeling ok and I said no something’s wrong I need to stop the medicine I did and within 2 or 3 days it stopped this is a dangerous med I have been on other similar antidepressants before with no issues just glad I did not do what it was convincing me was going to be the most beautiful horrific thing!Dont take this med it’s not just kids having issues!

    • doc mike witort,pmd.

      Jodi… you are sooooo fortunate…. call me any time doc mike witort,pmd…..630 613 8537 in chicago

    • Dawn

      I am having a similar reaction. I was prescribed it for anxiety, and since I have neuropathy in my foot, my psychiatrist thought it be a good choice. It completely cured my anxiety, but slowly I started feeling depressed. Over the months, I became numb, and randomly have super strong urges to drive off cliffs, jump from high places, or stab myself in the stomach while making salad. Like I feel excited when I think these horrible things. It’s scary. And the pull to actually do it is super strong! I KNOW it’s not me. It has to be the drug. I have never struggled with depression or suicidal thoughts. At first I thought it just might be me adjusting to the absence of anxiety. But, It’s changed my personality, and I feel more negative than I have in years. I am extremely irritable, and have zero desire to talk to anyone, ever. I’m on day 3 of no Cymbalta, and I’m dizzy, grouchy, and nauseous. I don’t think I’ll try meds anymore for anxiety.

      I am 44 and female.

  2. Pamela

    I have been on doluxetine 90 ml for many years and the proof is in the pudding as they say , the only problems I’ve ever had if I haven’t taken it for any reason that’s when I feel suicidal and so sad it’s unbelievable, as soon as I take it again within a day I’m back to normal, ive even said to my daughter if ever I seem down or crying for no reason then ask if ive taken it, so can’t praise it enough

  3. Robert Burns

    I am a financially wealthy male with some physical pain from past accident. I am 59 years old and a very positive person. I was put on Cymbalta for depression by my family doctor 12/20/19. About 2 weeks into the medication I felt different and could not put a handle on it. I was being compulsive and started gambling online for known reason and was becoming obsessed with it. I don’t like gambling online against a computer at all in the right frame of mind. I could not stop. I had a six week checkup with my Doctor and he wanted to increase the dosage and I told him I was not comfortable with that and he kept me on the same dosage. I still was not feeling right on the medication, but could not figure it out. One day I just decided to take a bunch of different medications to end my life. I could not stop myself it was crazy to think back why I would even want to end my life, but I could not stop it. I felt the world would be a better place without me in it. My wife came home to find me passed out and called 911 they came and gave me 2 shots of Narcan, there was no response to the drug. They rushed me to the hospital where they gave me a different drug that they said would bring me around. No response to that. They put feeding tube, breathing tube and a vile tube down my throat. My liver was damaged from all of the drugs I took and they flushed that out of me. I was in a coma for 4 days before I woke up from this night mare. I was released to a psychiatric hospital for 6 days and then to a 10 day step down program. Today I am doing great, I have no suicidal thoughts. This drug just turned my whole world up side down. Please read the Black box warnings of this medication. I know it can effect every person differently.
    I was depressed because of my physical health that I have been living with for 20 years now, but I never thought once of killing myself until I went on this drug.

    • Kimberly Shawn Geier

      Thank you for sharing….I was taking this “safe” med that is know to treat fibromyalgia…after one week I started feeling hopeless… crying every morning I woke up. I quit taking it. People need to know that this drug IS NOT SAFE

  4. Simone

    I’m in Cymbalta 2 years and can’t say enough good things about it. I’ve always had suicidal thoughts. So it’s no different now. However prior to Cymbalta, I cried all day about anything or nothing. Now I don’t cry, my mood is stab but I don’t have much emotion to begin with thanks to my dissociative disorder. I’ve been very lucky on it. And no weight gain. I wish everyone had the same experience on it and we could avoid these sad stories. I’ve been suicidal for 12 years, so if I ever follow thru, I doubt Cymbalta will be the catalyst. In my case it’s a matter of which came first? Suicidal wishes/zero desire to participate in life or Cymbalta. For me it’s the former. Good luck

  5. Jeffrey

    I was on Cymbalta for lower back pain, I was not given the drug for the antidepressant properties, I’m not saying I wasn’t depressed but that’s not why I was taking it. I took it for nearly 2 years, looking back now that I’m off of it I feel as if I didn’t have a soul. It made me feel as if I was a passenger of a car, seeing everything that was being done but not being able to make a conscious decision of what to do.
    I did things while on cymbalta that I would never do or even think of doing. It has ruined my life and my marriage. I am now trying to pick up the pieces of my life. I don’t know how I kept from killing myself or others all I know is what I did was the best worst outcome.
    I would not recommend this drug to anyone, I was on 60mg and it emotionally stripped me and made it feel (looking back) like I had no soul.

    • Kimberly Shawn Geier


  6. Jackie Kuenzel

    I am currently taking this medication, prescribed to me to help with neuropathy and back pain, along with meloxicam, also to help with a hysterectomy (not total only 1 lone soldier of an ovary in there) just in case hormones came to be an issue as well. I was taking pain meds, tramadol and I don’t like to have to take a pain med to get moving. At times my body feels so painful to touch even and my hips and joints don’t want to move. I asked if there was anything new for arthritis and back pain, an d also, to maybe help with mood, because my husband said I I got upset about stuff to much. Which, translated to, at all. I was only 43 at theid time. Throughout the last year and a half, I have watched my child go on hospice and pass , lost my job, had another child graduate and move away, had to move, and lost my marriage. I have had terrible bouts with emotions and dark thoughts and all of the above. It’s worse now then ever. It’s been almost a year since she passed, I almost had a heat attack the other day, the doctor at the ER said I am working too much and way to stressed. She asked me if I had ever thought Of killing myself and Lied and said no…….but like you all…I do. I am not the type of person to have these thoughts. But I realize that I am 45 and have had a really bad year and reasons to be sad but never suicide. I have one more to graduate and see through college still and she is my world. I would NEVER leave my babygirl, just like I never left my other daughters side. So help me…..I am more scared of the stories of trying to get off this medication,…..than the the horror I live being on it.
    Scared to death of bringin on my own,

  7. Dan Truesdale

    I was prescribed cymbalta for lower back pain and anxiety. Four days after starting 30mg i had a panic attack. I couldn’t catch my breath, i was shaking and could not stop crying. I felt worthless , depressed and a failure . Everything bad rushed into my head i just wanted to end it all. I sat crying thinking of the quickest way to commit suicide, nothing mattered, nothing was making sense. Now im thankful i made it through the night. I had done some research on this medication as i due for anything prescribed . I stopped taking it immediately, i have a clearer mind today.
    I cant believe it.

    • Shayna

      Please share son is in treatment. For suicidal ideation after this drug for 2 months

  8. Ashley S

    I’m sorry – I understand. I had a similar thought like that about speeding up and just ramming in to a median sign pole to end it. The fact that those thoughts and feelings even show up is scary. Thankfully the police were around but I know that doesn’t help a huge ticket and fees. You can try to appeal by showing up in court and explaining your situation, they may reduce it. But I also understand that just the pain of dealing with all that and the energy it takes can feel not worth it. I think it’s important to let someone close know your struggles until you’re either off this drug or in a better place. I’ve been “off” about 12 days now and it’s still affecting me terribly.

  9. Alex

    I’m taking cymbalta for nerve pain due to a broken back and today I almost killed myself for no reason. I was driving along a stretch of highway alone and just started ramping up speed up to 210km/h and was aiming to hit a cement bridge with my car before an officers lights and siren called me back to reality. It wasn’t even like I was depressed or sad or anything, all of a sudden it was just “now’s a good time to go”.
    Now I’ve got a wonderful 2000 dollar speeding ticket. Looks like I got my reason after the intent.

  10. Reign Delacore

    I am taking Cymbalta currently, it’s be 3-4 weeks. The first couple of days were amazing, I went from not feeling my feet to walking in a 24 hour period of time. Then I really wanted to go out and do stuff, my mind running a thousand miles a minute then it hits… I feel better, I want to go out, but before I get to the door I’m exhausted probably because I can’t sleep. My situation is very unusual so I’m not sure if it’s the medication or not. Every thought I have twist into thoughts of suicide, bloody car wreck, accidents that don’t end well… which other people would gasp and freak out, me, I work in law enforcement and deal with a lot of grisly deaths. I’m a rather morbid person, I study death for entertainment as well as work, and I’ve been that way since I was a child. I’ve attempted suicide 7 times, every single time I had no idea what happened, I have no idea why anything. Doctors warned me to really take a long look at those black box warning labels. I have a severe mental illness as well as physical illness, I HAVE to take medication to function at the very minimum of basic human standards. Every antidepressant has a black box warning, I’ve tried 52 of them, and all 7 suicide attempts occurred while I was on those antidepressants… most of which didn’t really work, Cymbalta works. But the intrusive thoughts are insane! They basically rationalize suicide thoughts and everything that is around you can kill you… it’s a lot like a cartoon devil on your shoulder just not as comically. I want to know what is in this medication that isn’t in other medications. Is there a medication that can counter act this side effect? It works for me and I don’t want to go back to antidepressant roulette.

  11. Sav

    I’ve been on cymbalta for almost two years now . I’ve had side affects at times but when I decided to come off I really started to feel depressed and want to kill myself . I live God with all my heart and have a beautiful family who cares about me I would never do anything to hurt them , however I’m hoping that I can get through this fight I’ve been on it so long I’m not sure if I’ll make it . Why they allow this I do not know but it shouldn’t be sold . Period it is very dangerous and not at all worth it in anyway never take this drug for it is satan . And it will steal your life away .

  12. Ashley S

    I was on cymbalta for 8 months after I was switched to it from an anti-depressant I was on for 10 years because I have chronic pain and the doctor thought it would be a good change. Over the past 8 months I experienced unexplained severe emotional and mental struggles along with feeling tired, lethargic and weight gain. I have an auto-immune disease with chronic pain and others in my community with the same disease expressed horror stories about being on and getting off Cymbalta. Because it was having more negative effects on me than positive so have been trying to get off. Over the past week of not taking it, I have had suicidal thoughts and desires that I’ve never experienced before. I’ve had dizziness, extreme emotional swings and bouts of crying, tingling sensations in my face and arms, jolts of what feels like nerve-related twitches and feeling miserable and inpredictable. I have my significant other to help and he is aware of what I’m experiencing because I understand I am not myself and need someone watching and being with me right now. I will never recommend this drug to anyone and I’m angry and disgusted that the research I’ve done shows many people in similar situations as myself because of this drug.

  13. Mia

    I’m praying for you all, and am sorry for anybody experiencing loss.
    I’ve been on Cymbalta for nearly two weeks now. I’m in my mid twenties and have been experiencing depression since I was eleven, though recently my thoughts of suicide have been the strongest I’ve ever experienced. I’ve never developed a plan before, though last night was the first time I did – I feel so unbelievably low.
    I realise it takes a few weeks for a new anti-depressant to kick in properly, so I’m not sure if these feelings are due to this. Reading this article and the comments of you lovely people, now I don’t know what to think.
    I’m going to give the medication some more time (and definitely tell my psychiatrist), though if these intense suicidal thoughts continue, I’m going to discuss weaning off with my psychiatrist.

  14. Tiffany Cowgill

    Bad side effects from this medication. Mire aggitated, anxious, and suicdal thoughts. Which isnt me @ all. I stopped it after 1 week. I’ve been off it almost 2wks, but, still itching, and ill

  15. Tiffany Cowgill

    I tried cymbalta years ago and it helped. Recently i was becoming depressed, so i tried it again, 1 week into the medication, i was feeling worse, aggitated, anxious, and had suicidal thoughts 😔 thats not like me! I stopped the meds almost 2wks ago, im still having those thoughts. Im praying my God protects me! I will never take it again EVER! plus, its made me itch all over

  16. doc mike witort,r,fmd

    my name i doc mike witort R,FMD. i am featured in the drugging of the military documentary in the drugs chapter. call me any time at 630 613 8537 or email GOD BLESS CCHR for all their good work.

    • CCHR

      Thank you. Someone will contact you.

  17. Richard Love

    Im on 90ml cymbalta daily and feel as though my life is on the edge of a razor blade,its nasty.

  18. Richard Love

    Ive been switched from setraline 60ml daily and have been slowly been put on cymbalta ive just bwen put up to 90ml daily and am in a very dark place.

  19. Gabriele

    I just lost a good friend to suicide after he had stopped taking Cymbalta. He shot himself in the head and I found him. His family, and friends are heartbroken. He was off of Cymbalta for several months and was trying multiple other treatment methods, none of which seemed to work. I wonder if some of these other treatments exacerbated the negative symptoms he was having from Cymbalta. He just passed a few days ago, June 24th. I don’t understand why that drug is still out there.

  20. Lee

    My son 18 was diagnosed with MDD Feb 21st and started on Cymbalta. On April 23rd he attempted Suicide with overdose of Cymbalta. I thank God he is still with us today. He is now taking Wellbutrin. Does anyone have any experience with this drug.

    • CCHR

      I am so sorry to hear this, I hope he is okay now.

    • Big Richard

      Lee, I am a young 20s guy in Texas. Wellbutrin and klonopin played a role in my own suicide attempt at 18 – it functions as a kind of mild stimulant, and for some people that effect is more pronounced than others. I have a history of psychosis and have to stay away from stimulants for that reason, and that combination of drugs made me enter a pretty weird headspace.
      I have several friends that have had their lives radically improved by wellbutrin, though. Just keep up a good relationship with your son.

  21. Lindz

    My ex husband was on cymbalta for 2 weeks and just passed away 3 days ago of overdose. He was in a good place in his life and I hands down blame Cymbalta’s side affects. This drug is not good for MOST people.

  22. Marlene

    I was feeling suicidal myself and started doing some research. Had a hunch it was maybe this drug so I googled suicide and Cymbalta. Unbelievable. I’m on a new medication as of today and thank God I’m a good responder. I should have been warned about this. Patients need to do their own research and check for drug interaction. I’m starting to wean off tomorrow. Very slowly. Had every damn side effect and just today made the connection.

  23. Lee

    I’ve been on Duloxetine for years now and have no problems.

  24. Nancy E Jones

    My 79 year old mother was on Cymbalta and developed panic attacks and memory issues. Two weeks later she committed suicide.


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