Compare Cymbalta vs. Paxil

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

Cymbalta
(duloxetine)

Paxil
(paroxetine)

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 mood and helps you relax. Paxil (Paroxetine) is good for treating depression and anxiety but it causes more weight gain, sleepiness, and withdrawal symptoms than other antidepressants.
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Coupons for Cymbalta
Best available price for 30 (60mg) capsules of cymbalta
Coupons for Paxil
Best available price for 30 (20mg) tablets of paxil
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
4.84Cymbalta
Reviews for Cymbalta
58%
of people (All ages) say Cymbalta is worth it
49%
say it works well
24%
say it's a big hassle
496 reviews
Have you used Cymbalta (duloxetine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Paxil
52%
+6% better vs. Cymbalta
39%
+10% better vs. Cymbalta
24%
Same vs. Cymbalta
694 reviews
Have you used Paxil (paroxetine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
CymbaltaPaxil
  • Nausea 15%
  • Headache 2%
  • Dry mouth 8%
  • Somnolencee 7%
  • Fatigue 4%
  • Sleep difficulty 4%
  • Constipation 5%
  • Dizziness 4%
  • Diarrhea 3%
  • Decreased appetite 5%
More Cymbalta side effects »
  • Nausea 17%
  • Drowsiness 14%
  • Dry mouth 6%
  • Headache 1%
  • Muscle weakness 9%
  • Constipation 5%
  • Sleep difficulty 7%
  • Ejaculatory disturbance‡§ 13%
  • Dizziness 7%
  • Diarrhea 4%
More Paxil side effects »
How it works
CymbaltaPaxil
Cymbalta (Duloxetine) is a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) antidepressant. It increases serotonin and norepinephrine activity in the brain, which regulates mood.Paxil (Paroxetine) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant. It increases serotonin activity in the brain, which regulates mood.
Type of medication
CymbaltaPaxil
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
CymbaltaPaxil
  • Extended release
  • Pill
  • Extended release tablet
  • Liquid
Used for
CymbaltaPaxil
Risk factors for serious side effects
CymbaltaPaxil
  • 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
Detailed Cymbalta (duloxetine) risks & warnings »
  • Age 24 years or younger
  • Using other medications that affect serotonin
  • Stopping Paxil (Paroxetine) suddenly
  • Taking other blood-thinning drugs
  • History of bipolar disorder
Detailed Paxil (paroxetine) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

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.

Research studies with real people found harmful effects on unborn babies, but the benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

Food
CymbaltaPaxil
  • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
  • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
Kidneys and liver
CymbaltaPaxil
  • Not a good option if you're a heavy drinker, or if you have liver or kidney problems.
No kidneys and liver related info.
Pain
CymbaltaPaxil
  • Full effects in 8 to 12 weeks for mood, 2 weeks for pain.
No pain related info.
Sleep
CymbaltaPaxil
No sleep related info.
  • It causes drowsiness, so it's good for people who have trouble sleeping.
Weight
CymbaltaPaxil
No weight related info.
  • Can cause weight gain, which can be helpful if you've recently lost weight or have a low appetite.
  • More likely to cause minor weight gain (1 to 5 pounds) or make you feel sick if you miss a dose than other antidepressants.
Upsides and benefits
CymbaltaPaxil
  • 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.
  • Effective at relieving depression and anxiety symptoms.
  • Lowers relapse rates of depression and anxiety disorders, including OCD, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.
  • It causes drowsiness, so it's good for people who have trouble sleeping.
  • Can cause weight gain, which can be helpful if you've recently lost weight or have a low appetite.
  • Six out of ten people who use an antidepressant for the first time find that it works for them.
Downsides and risks
CymbaltaPaxil
  • 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 more sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate than most antidepressants.
  • More likely to cause minor weight gain (1 to 5 pounds) or make you feel sick if you miss a dose than other antidepressants.
  • Can harm an unborn child, so you can't take it if you're pregnant.
  • Like most antidepressants, it can cause a higher risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior for people younger than age 24.
  • 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.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
CymbaltaPaxil
  • 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.
  • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
  • Takes about 8 to 12 weeks to see the medication's full effects on your mood.
  • Stop taking it slowly to avoid getting withdrawal symptoms.
  • Tell your doctor if you notice sudden mood changes or unusual thoughts.
  • The controlled-release (CR) tablet can cause less nausea than other forms.
  • Don’t crush, break, or chew the Paxil (Paroxetine) controlled-release tablet or the Pexeva film-coated tablets.
  • It’s best to take Paxil (Paroxetine) in the morning, except Brisdelle, which can be taken at bedtime.
Learn more
More about CymbaltaSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Cymbalta (duloxetine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about PaxilSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Paxil (paroxetine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it