Compare Cymbalta vs. Pamelor

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

Cymbalta
(Duloxetine)

Pamelor
(Nortriptyline)

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.Improves your mood. Pamelor (Nortriptyline) is a good option for treating depression, especially for people who also have problems with persistent nerve pain.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
4.873479318734793Cymbalta
Reviews for Cymbalta (Duloxetine)
59%
of people say Cymbalta (Duloxetine) is worth it
49%
say it works well
24%
say it's a big hassle

Not enough reviews for this drug. Help someone out, leave a review!

Side effects
CymbaltaPamelor
  • 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 »

We haven’t found good data for Pamelor side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Pamelor »
How it works
CymbaltaPamelor
Cymbalta (Duloxetine) is a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) antidepressant. It increases serotonin and norepinephrine activity in the brain, which regulates mood.Pamelor (Nortriptyline) is a tricyclic antidepressant (TCA). It helps improve your mood by altering the levels of serotonin, norepinephrine, and other similar chemicals in your brain.
Type of medication
CymbaltaPamelor
Antidepressant
Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI)
Prescription only
Antidepressant
Tricyclic antidepressant (TCA)
Prescription only
Available as
CymbaltaPamelor
  • Extended release
  • Pill
  • Liquid
Used for (click to learn more)
CymbaltaPamelor
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 Pamelor (Nortriptyline)
Risk factors for serious side effects
CymbaltaPamelor
  • 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 »
    • Age 24 years or younger
    • Age 65 years or older
    • Stopping Pamelor (Nortriptyline) suddenly
    • Using other medications that affect serotonin
    • History of heart disease
    • Older age
    • Electrolyte imbalance
    Detailed Pamelor (Nortriptyline) risks & warnings »
    Pregnancy category
    CymbaltaPamelor
    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
    NFDA pregnancy category (Unknown)

    The FDA hasn’t classified this medicine’s effects on unborn babies. Talk with your doctor about this medicine if you’re pregnant or planning on it.

    See the FDA package insert
    Alcohol
    No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
    Food
    • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
    • Take it with food and/or at bedtime to decrease the potential side effects.
    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.
    Sex
    • 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.
    Sleep
    • 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.
    • Stopping Pamelor (Nortriptyline) suddenly may cause withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, anxiety, agitation, flu-like symptoms, trouble sleeping, and dizziness. Withdrawal symptoms usually occur within 3-5 days of stopping the medication, and go away within 1-2 weeks. Work with your doctor to gradually reduce your dose.
    Weight
    No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
    Upsides and benefits
    CymbaltaPamelor
    • 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.
    • Helpful with treating certain types of pain, like migraines or nerve-related pain.
    • Generally well tolerated and has fewer side effects than other medicines in the same class of drugs.
    Downsides and risks
    CymbaltaPamelor
    • 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.
    • Side effects are usually manageable, but can be annoying.
    • Increases the risk of falls, especially when used in the elderly.
    • There's an increased chance of it causing heart problems, especially in people with a history of heart problems.
    Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
    CymbaltaPamelor
    • 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.
    • Needs to be taken every day for 1 to 2 weeks to start feeling better, and for 6 to 8 weeks to see the full effect of the medication.
    • It's important to keep taking Pamelor (Nortriptyline) even when you feel your symptoms are getting better.
    • Take it with food and/or at bedtime to decrease the potential side effects.
    • If you decide to stop taking Pamelor (Nortriptyline), work with your doctor to slowly get off this medicine to avoid getting withdrawal symptoms.
    • Tell your doctor if you notice sudden mood changes or unusual thoughts.
    Learn more
    More about CymbaltaSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    More about PamelorSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert