What Are the Sexual Side Effects of Cymbalta?

Cymbalta is the brand name of the antidepressant duloxetine and belongs in the class of drugs called the serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. Cymbalta is indicated for the treatment of major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, pain caused by diabetic neuropathy and management of fibromyalgia. The medication works in the brain by blocking serotonin and norepinephrine and preventing their reabsorption. This leads to an increase in the brain chemicals and a decrease in symptoms of the diseases which it treats. Cymbalta may cause sexual side effects in some users.

A depressed couple in bed. (Image: IuriiSokolov/iStock/Getty Images)

Decreased Libido

Decreased libido, or sexual desire, may occur in patients who use Cymbalta, specifically in male patients. According to eMedtv.com, about 6 percent of men and 1 percent of women being treated for depression may experience a decreased libido. In patients who receive treatment for generalized anxiety disorder, this side effect may be seen in about 7 percent of individuals. About 2 percent of patients taking Cymbalta for fibromyalgia may experience a decreased sex drive. Decreased libido may be a symptom of depression in many patients and Cymbalta may lead to worsening of this symptom. As the patient sees an improvement in depression, however, this side effect may also improve.

Orgasm Problems

Patients using Cymbalta may experience orgasm problems, such as not being able to reach orgasm or having difficulty reaching orgasm. Men experienced difficulty with the ability to reach orgasms during four clinical trials designed to identify and measure sexual side effects, states RxList.com. Women did not experience the side effects during these trials. The patient should inform a health care professional if this side effect develops.

Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction, also known as impotence, is the inability to achieve an erection or maintain an erection long enough for sexual intercourse. The "Drug Information Handbook" reports that up to 5 percent of men may experience erectile dysfunction. This side effect may greatly affect an individual's quality of life and should be discussed with a physician. The physician can prescribe another medication that does not cause impotence or treat the erectile dysfunction with proper drugs.

Ejaculatory Dysfunction

Men using Cymbalta may experience ejaculatory dysfunction, including delayed ejaculation or absence of ejaculation. According to the "Drug Information Handbook," these adverse reactions may occur in three to four percent of individuals. The patient should speak with a physician if erectile dysfunction occurs. The physician may reduce the dose of the medication or decide to stop the medication altogether.

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