Compare Cymbalta vs. Pristiq

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

Cymbalta
(duloxetine)

Pristiq
(desvenlafaxine)

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. Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine) is basically the same medication as Effexor, which is cheaper because it's available as a generic.
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Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
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4.84Cymbalta
Reviews for Cymbalta (duloxetine)
58%
of people (All ages) say Cymbalta (duloxetine) 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 Pristiq (desvenlafaxine)
53%
-5% worse vs. Cymbalta (duloxetine)
49%
Same vs. Cymbalta (duloxetine)
23%
+1% better vs. Cymbalta (duloxetine)
196 reviews
Have you used Pristiq (desvenlafaxine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
CymbaltaPristiq
  • 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 16%
  • Dry mouth 8%
  • Sleep difficulty 6%
  • Excessive sweating 7%
  • Dizziness 5%
  • Drowsiness 5%
  • Constipation 5%
  • Decreased appetite 6%
  • Fatigue 3%
  • Anxiety 3%
More Pristiq side effects »
How it works
CymbaltaPristiq
Cymbalta (Duloxetine) is a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) antidepressant. It increases serotonin and norepinephrine activity in the brain, which regulates mood.Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine) is a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) antidepressant. It increases serotonin and norepinephrine activity in the brain, which regulates mood.
Type of medication
CymbaltaPristiq
Prescription only
Prescription only
Available as
CymbaltaPristiq
  • Extended release
  • Extended release
Used for
CymbaltaPristiq
Risk factors for serious side effects
CymbaltaPristiq
  • 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 Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine) suddenly
  • History of high blood pressure
  • Taking other blood-thinning drugs
Detailed Pristiq (desvenlafaxine) 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 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.

Food
CymbaltaPristiq
  • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
No food related info.
Kidneys and liver
CymbaltaPristiq
  • 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
CymbaltaPristiq
  • Full effects in 8 to 12 weeks for mood, 2 weeks for pain.
No pain related info.
Upsides and benefits
CymbaltaPristiq
  • 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 symptoms and lowering relapse rates for depression.
  • Six out of ten people who use an antidepressant for the first time find that it works for them.
Downsides and risks
CymbaltaPristiq
  • 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.
  • Similar to Effexor, without any extra benefits in clinical studies.
  • Can cause sexual side effects (usually low libido or the inability to have an orgasm or ejaculate).
  • Not available in generic form, so it's more expensive.
  • 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.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
CymbaltaPristiq
  • 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.
  • Takes 8 to 12 weeks to see full effects on mood.
  • Can cause sweating and high blood pressure.
  • Stop taking slowly to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
  • Tell your doctor if you notice sudden mood changes or unusual thoughts.
Learn more
More about CymbaltaSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Cymbalta (duloxetine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about PristiqSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Pristiq (desvenlafaxine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it