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Difference Between Cymbalta and Effexor

worried-girl-413690_1280The Difference between Cymbalta and Effexor
A lot of people suffer from depression and anxiety, all they ever wanted is to be back to their normal state and be happy again. But the question is, is there a cure for such psychological conditions? Treatment can be quite tedious, it necessitates having the support of family, friends and society, suitable environmental conditions, psychological treatment and of course medical therapy.

According to some psychologists, controlling panic and anxiety attacks can be tricky. Most often than not, when these attacks occur, it is almost impossible to stop it. The key here is to prevent it before they actually happen. After all, prevention is still the best medicine, right?

One way to control these attacks is through medications. There are many kinds of these medications sold in the market. However, it is utmost important to seek for medical advice first before someone takes such medications. Besides, most of these drugs should come with a prescription and cannot be bought as over-the-counter.

SNRIs (Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors)

Two of the most common antidepressants that most doctors prescribe today are Cymbalta and Effexor. These drugs are classified as SNRIs and are used to treat depression, anxiety and other affective disorders. SNRIs prevent the two neurotransmitters – serotonin and noradrenalin from being reabsorbed into the cells of the brain, which prolong the effect of these transmitters and alleviates depression.

SNRIs are commonly preferred treatment because of the specifity for serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake proteins. There is a decreased known side effects related to SNRIs compared to its other counterparts. In addition to this, medications that belong to this classification are generally faster acting and more effective in treating affective disorders. It usually takes two to four weeks to notice a positive change in a person taking these medications.

Now that we tackled on SNRIs, let’s take a look at some differences and similarities between Cymbalta and Effexor.

 cym  effex
Classification SNRI SNRI/SSRI
Generic Name Duloxetine hydrochloride Venlafaxine hydrochloride
Generic Availability No Yes
Manufacturer Eli Lilly Wyeth
FDA Approved since 2004 Approved since 1993
Active metabolite 5-hydroxy-duloxetine6-methoxy-duloxetine O-Desmethlvenlafaxine
Mechanism of Action Strong, balanced SNRI
  • SSRI at lower doses (75mg/day)
  • SNRI at higher doses (150 – 250 mg/day)
  • Weakly blocks dopamine reuptake at very high doses (above 350 mg/day)
  • Major Depressive Disorder
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathic Pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Major Depressive Disorder
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Panic Disorder
Side Effects
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Somnolence
  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Decreased appetite
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Constipation or Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Somnolence
  • Dry mouth
  • Nervousness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diaphoresis
  • Impotence or Abnormal ejaculation
  • Constipation


Besides affective disorders, the Cymbalta is also used to treat bipolar disorders and recently, this drug is also used to treat pain associated with depression and stress incontinence.

Effexor (Venlafaxine)

Compared to Cymbalta, Effexor is a more flexible antidepressant medication when used in different doses. In addition to this, there are a few “off label” where this drug is being used. It is proven to be effective for migraine prophylaxis and diabetic neuropathy.

Cymbalta and Effexor have quite a few differences, the bottom line is the use of these medications or any drug for that matter depends on how an individual reacts to the medication. Some people may find Effexor more effective than the other, and for others, Cymbalta works better for them. Signs and symptoms of psychological disorders can be alleviated as long as the proper treatment and therapy are rendered. But remember, more than any medication, understanding and support are more needed by people who suffer psychological conditions.


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  1. This was pretty worthless information, and does not go into the differences between the two medications at all. This is background information on the two medications, not comparing or contrasting them as claimed.

  2. FYI: Cymbalta is available as a generic.

  3. I think the issue with this information on generic availability and other important features of the 2 meds mentioned in this article are lacking because of the date of the article is from 2011

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