Compare Cymbalta vs. Wellbutrin

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

Cymbalta
(Duloxetine)

Wellbutrin
(Bupropion)

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. Wellbutrin (Bupropion) is good for treating depression and has fewer sexual side effects than other antidepressants, but you need to be okay with avoiding alcohol.
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Reviews & ratings
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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
Reviews for Wellbutrin (Bupropion)
58%
1% vs. Cymbalta (Duloxetine)
38%
11% vs. Cymbalta (Duloxetine)
13%
+11% vs. Cymbalta (Duloxetine)
Side effects
CymbaltaWellbutrin
  • 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 »
  • Tremor 13%
  • Dry mouth 10%
  • Agitation 10%
  • Constipation 9%
  • Excessive sweating 7%
  • Dizziness 6%
  • Blurred vision 5%
  • Nausea/vomiting 4%
  • Headache/migraine 4%
  • Menstrual complaints 4%
More Wellbutrin side effects »
How it works
CymbaltaWellbutrin
Cymbalta (Duloxetine) is a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) antidepressant. It increases serotonin and norepinephrine activity in the brain, which regulates mood.Wellbutrin (Bupropion) is an atypical antidepressant. Researchers don't know exactly how it works, but it seems to change dopamine and norepinephrine activity in the brain, which regulate mood.
Type of medication
CymbaltaWellbutrin
Antidepressant
Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI)
Prescription only
Antidepressant
Norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor
Prescription only
Available as
CymbaltaWellbutrin
  • Extended release
  • Pill
  • Extended release
Used for (click to learn more)
CymbaltaWellbutrin
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.

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

Risk factors for serious side effects
CymbaltaWellbutrin
  • 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
    • History of depression
    • History of bipolar disorder
    • At risk for bipolar disorder
    • Withdrawing from nicotine
    • History of seizures
    • Alcoholism
    • Eating disorder
    • Higher dose
    • Drug interactions
    • History of bipolar disorder
    • At risk for bipolar disorder
    • Current kidney problems
    • Current liver problems
      Detailed Wellbutrin (Bupropion) risks & warnings »
      Pregnancy category
      CymbaltaWellbutrin
      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
      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
      Alcohol
      No specific alcohol-related info.
      • Has a higher risk of causing seizures, especially if you have a seizure disorder, eating disorder, or if you drink alcohol. So, it's not a good medication if you drink a lot.
      Food
      • 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.
      • Wellbutrin (Bupropion) is processed by the kidney and liver. If you have kidney or liver problems, you may need a different dose to prevent increased risk for side effects.
      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.
      • Causes fewer sexual side effects than other antidepressants. Can actually boost sex drive for some people.
      • Can be taken with other antidepressants to counteract their sexual side effects.
      • There are no sexual side effects from this medication.
      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.
      • Wellbutrin (Bupropion) makes you energized, so take it in the morning to avoid difficulty sleeping later that night.
      Weight
      No specific weight-related info.
      • It's less likely to cause weight gain than other antidepressants.
      • Wellbutrin (Bupropion) may cause weight loss. Talk to your doctor if weight loss is not desirable.
      Upsides and benefits
      CymbaltaWellbutrin
      • 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 symptoms.
      • Causes fewer sexual side effects than other antidepressants. Can actually boost sex drive for some people.
      • Can be taken with other antidepressants to counteract their sexual side effects.
      • Has some stimulant effects, so it can be energizing.
      • Can help with ADHD symptoms.
      • Also used to suppress appetite and help you quit smoking.
      • Six out of ten people who use an antidepressant for the first time find that it works for them.
      Downsides and risks
      CymbaltaWellbutrin
      • 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.
      • Wellbutrin (Bupropion) can be stimulating, so it can cause anxiety or insomnia the first few days you're taking it.
      • Generally not as good as other antidepressants for people who have anxiety.
      • It's less likely to cause weight gain than other antidepressants.
      • Has a higher risk of causing seizures, especially if you have a seizure disorder, eating disorder, or if you drink alcohol. So, it's not a good medication if you drink a lot.
      • It contains the same ingredient as a medication that helps you to stop smoking, (Zyban), so these two meds can't be used together.
      • Like most antidepressants, it can cause a higher risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior for people younger than 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
      CymbaltaWellbutrin
      • 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.
      • Wellbutrin (Bupropion) makes you energized, so take it in the morning to avoid difficulty sleeping later that night.
      • Takes about 8 to 12 weeks to see the medication's full effects on your mood.
      • There are no sexual side effects from this medication.
      • Stop taking it slowly to avoid getting withdrawal symptoms.
      • The extended-release tablet shell can show up unchanged in your stool, but don't worry since the medication was still absorbed by your body.
      • Tell your doctor if you notice sudden mood changes or unusual thoughts.
      Learn more
      More about CymbaltaSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
      More about WellbutrinSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert