Compare Cymbalta vs. desipramine

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Cymbalta (duloxetine)

Prescription only

Norpramin (desipramine)

Prescription only
Improves mood and relieves certain types of pain.

Cymbalta (duloxetine) is good for treating depression, anxiety, and some forms of chronic pain, but it is more likely than other antidepressants to cause problems if you drink alcohol or have high blood pressure.

4.8/ 7 average rating with 496 reviewsforCymbalta
Stabilizes your mood.

Norpramin (desipramine) is not a first choice for treating depression because of its effects on the heart, but it can be good if other medicines haven't worked.

Upsides
  • Cymbalta (duloxetine) may help relieve nerve pain from diabetes and other forms of chronic pain.
  • Cymbalta (duloxetine) has several uses, which may be good for people with multiple conditions.
  • Available as a generic, which is cheaper.
  • Norpramin (desipramine) is available in generic and in many different strengths, so the dose can be more customized.
  • Norpramin (desipramine) has fewer side effects than similar tricyclic antidepressants.
Downsides
  • Cymbalta (duloxetine) may not be a good option if you're a heavy drinker, or have liver or kidney problems.
  • Cymbalta (duloxetine) can increase high blood pressure.
  • Like most antidepressants, Cymbalta (duloxetine) can cause higher risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior for people aged 24 and younger.
  • Norpramin (desipramine) isn't recommended if you or your family has heart disease, seizures, or glaucoma.
  • Norpramin (desipramine) isn't a first choice for depression because it has more side effects than other antidepressants.
  • In some people, Norpramin (desipramine) can make you sleepy. In other people, Norpramin (desipramine) can keep you awake.
  • If you have diabetes, Norpramin (desipramine) can make your blood sugar go up.
  • Not recommended in children under 12 years of age.
Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Pill
Price
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$16.25
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$15.87
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Reviews
496 
58%
think this treatment is worth it
49%
think this treatment works well
24%
think this treatment is a hassle

Have you used Cymbalta (duloxetine)?

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Side effects
10possible side effects
  • Nausea
    23%
  • Headache
    14%
  • Dry mouth
    13%
  • Drowsiness
    10%
  • Fatigue
    9%
  • Difficulty sleeping
    9%
  • Constipation
    9%
  • Dizziness
    9%
  • Diarrhea
    9%
  • Decreased appetite
    7%
See more detailed side effects
The Norpramin (desipramine) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
Risks and warnings
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior

    Age 24 years or younger

  • Serotonin syndrome

    Taking tricyclic antidepressants, lithium, tramadol, fentanyl, amphetamines, certain headache medications (triptans), St. John's Wort

  • Withdrawal

    Stopping Cymbalta (duloxetine) abruptly

  • Increased bleeding

    Taking other blood-thinning drugs (including aspirin, NSAIDs such as Advil, warfarin)

  • Changes in blood pressure and risk of falls

    Elderly patients

    ...and 4 more risk factors

  • Bipolar disorder

    History of bipolar disorder

    ...and 1 more risk factors

See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Higher risk of suicide

    People under age 24

  • Serotonin syndrome

    Tricyclic antidepressants

    ...and 5 more risk factors

  • Changes to the heartbeat

    History of heart disease

  • Higher risk for seizures

    History of seizures

    ...and 1 more risk factors

See more detailed risks and warnings