Compare Cymbalta vs. Lidocaine

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



Improves mood and relieves certain kinds of pain. Cymbalta (Duloxetine) is good for treating depression and anxiety, and may help with chronic pain. More likely than other antidepressants to cause problems if you drink or have high blood pressure.Treats nerve pain. Lidoderm (Lidocaine) patches work well by releasing a local anesthetic into the skin and relieving pain by targeting damaged nerves.
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Reviews & ratings
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Reviews for Cymbalta (Duloxetine)
of people (All ages) say Cymbalta (Duloxetine) is worth it
say it works well
say it's a big hassle
411 reviews
Have you used Cymbalta (Duloxetine)?
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Have you used Lidoderm (Lidocaine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
  • Nausea 15%
  • Dry mouth 8%
  • Drowsiness 8%
  • Constipation 7%
  • Somnolencee 7%
  • Decreased appetite 7%
  • Fatigued 6%
  • Sleep difficulty 5%
  • Dizziness 4%
  • Fatigue 4%
More Cymbalta side effects »

The Lidocaine FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Lidocaine side effects »
How it works
Cymbalta (Duloxetine) is a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) antidepressant. It increases serotonin and norepinephrine activity in the brain, which regulates mood.Lidoderm (Lidocaine) is a local anesthetic. It absorbs into your skin where it targets damaged nerves and relieves burning pain.
Type of medication
Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI)
Prescription only
Local anestheticPrescription only
Available as
  • Extended release
  • Cream, gel, or ointment
  • Jelly
  • Spray
  • Topical solution
  • Patch
Used for (click to learn more)
How well it works for depression
The free Iodine Start program helps people track how well they are improving, and find the right antidepressant faster.

After 4 weeks using Start and Cymbalta (Duloxetine), here’s how much better people feel.

The free Iodine Start program (personal reports and coaching) is currently only for antidepressants. For now, you can read our pharmacist info about this medication.Learn more about Lidoderm (Lidocaine)
Risk factors for serious side effects
  • Age 24 years or younger
  • Using other medications that affect serotonin
  • Stopping Cymbalta (Duloxetine) suddenly
  • History of high blood pressure
  • Taking other blood-thinning drugs
    • History of bipolar disorder
    • At risk for bipolar disorder
    Detailed Cymbalta (Duloxetine) risks & warnings »
    • Use of heating pad on skin
    • Applying patch to red, irritated or broken skin
    • Leaving patch on for more than 12 hours
    • Using patch on a very large area
    • Older age and lower body weight
    • Liver disease
    • Allergy to numbing medications (local anesthetics)
    • Not disposing of Lidoderm (Lidocaine) correctly
    • Children and pets can reach medication
    • Not washing hands after touching or applying Lidoderm (Lidocaine)
    • Applying Lidoderm (Lidocaine) to warm skin
    • Covering patch with wrap or heating pad
    • History of heart problems
    • Using Lidoderm (Lidocaine) with drugs to treat irregular heartbeat
    Detailed Lidoderm (Lidocaine) risks & warnings »
    Pregnancy category
    CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

    Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

    See the FDA package insert
    BFDA pregnancy category (Probably safe)

    Research studies with animals haven’t found a risk to unborn babies, but it hasn’t been properly studied in humans.

    See the FDA package insert
    • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
    No specific food related info.
    Kidneys and liver
    • Not a good option if you're a heavy drinker, or if you have liver or kidney problems.
    No specific kidneys and liver related info.
    • Cymbalta (Duloxetine) can cause lower sex drive or difficulty having an orgasm. If the problem persists after the first 2 to 3 months, you can talk to your doctor about alternative antidepressants or performance-enhancing medications.
    No specific sex related info.
    • Stopping Cymbalta (Duloxetine) suddenly may cause withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, anxiety, agitation, flu-like symptoms, trouble sleeping, and dizziness. Withdrawal symptoms usually occur within 3 days of stopping the medication, and go away within 1 to 2 weeks. Work with your doctor to gradually reduce your dose.
    No specific weight related info.
    Upsides and benefits
    • Effective at relieving depression and anxiety symptoms.
    • Lowers relapse rates for depression.
    • Can relieve some types of chronic pain. Might be particularly good at pain relief for people who are also depressed.
    • Six out of ten people who use an antidepressant for the first time find that it works for them.
    • Lidoderm (Lidocaine) can treat pain better for people who can't take oral pain medications due to allergies or bad side effects.
    • Has been shown to relieve nerve pain due to shingles for up to 12 hours at a time.
    • Patches can be cut into smaller pieces to best fit the areas of skin they need to be used on.
    Downsides and risks
    • Not a good option if you're a heavy drinker, or if you have liver or kidney problems.
    • Not the best option for people with high blood pressure.
    • Like most antidepressants, can cause higher risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior for people age 24 and younger.
    • The first antidepressant you try doesn't always work or it can cause side effects you really don't like. You might need to try a few different medications until you find one that works for you.
    • Can cause skin irritation after using it the first time, but for most people it's mild and goes away in a few minutes or hours.
    • Used patches contain enough medicine to be dangerous to children and pets, so store and dispose of the patches in a safe place out of their reach.
    • Might not be the best choice if you've had allergic reactions to numbing medications (local anesthetics) in the past.
    • Even though only small amounts of Lidoderm (Lidocaine) are absorbed into the body through the skin, if you're taking medications that treat arrhythmias, Lidoderm (Lidocaine) can affect how they work.
    • Patches shouldn't be left on for more than 12 hours, used on very large areas of skin, or covered with a heating pad.
    Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
    • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
    • Full effects in 8 to 12 weeks for mood, 2 weeks for pain.
    • Stop taking slowly to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
    • Tell your doctor if you notice sudden mood changes or unusual thoughts.
    • Starts working with the first dose, but full effects can take longer.
    • Remove the protective lining on the patch before applying the patch to unbroken skin.
    • Leave the patch on for up to 12 hours during a 24 hour period.
    • You can cut the patches to create a custom fit for the area of skin you need to apply it to.
    • Don't place any tight wraps or heating pads over the patch while it's on.
    • Make sure not to touch your eyes after touching the patch. Always wash your hands after putting it on or taking it off.
    Learn more
    More about CymbaltaSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    Have you used Cymbalta (Duloxetine)?
    Worth itNot sureNot worth it
    More about LidocaineSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    Have you used Lidoderm (Lidocaine)?
    Worth itNot sureNot worth it