Compare Effexor vs. Cymbalta

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

Effexor
(venlafaxine)

Cymbalta
(duloxetine)

Improves mood and helps you relax. Effexor (Venlafaxine) is good for treating depression and anxiety. It may work when other antidepressants haven't, but it's more likely to cause side effects and withdrawal symptoms than other antidepressants.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.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
5.07Effexor
Reviews for Effexor
62%
of people (All ages) say Effexor is worth it
51%
say it works well
23%
say it's a big hassle
577 reviews
Have you used Effexor (venlafaxine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Cymbalta
58%
+4% better vs. Effexor
49%
+2% better vs. Effexor
24%
+1% better vs. Effexor
496 reviews
Have you used Cymbalta (duloxetine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
EffexorCymbalta
  • Nausea 26%
  • Headache 1%
  • Somnolence 14%
  • Dry mouth 11%
  • Dizziness 11%
  • Insomnia 8%
  • Abnormal Ejaculation 16%
  • Constipation 8%
  • Nervousness 17%
  • Asthenia 14%
More Effexor side effects »
  • Nausea 15%
  • Headache 2%
  • Dry mouth 8%
  • Somnolencee 7%
  • Fatigue 4%
  • Insomnia 4%
  • Constipation 5%
  • Dizziness 4%
  • Diarrhea 3%
  • Decreased appetite 5%
More Cymbalta side effects »
How it works
EffexorCymbalta
Effexor (Venlafaxine) is a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) antidepressant. It increases serotonin and norepinephrine activity in the brain, which regulate mood.Cymbalta (Duloxetine) is a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) antidepressant. It increases serotonin and norepinephrine activity in the brain, which regulates mood.
Type of medication
EffexorCymbalta
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
EffexorCymbalta
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Extended release
Used for
EffexorCymbalta
Risk factors for serious side effects
EffexorCymbalta
  • Age 24 years or younger
  • Using other medications that affect serotonin
  • Stopping Effexor (Venlafaxine) suddenly
  • History of high blood pressure
  • Taking other blood-thinning drugs
Detailed Effexor (venlafaxine) risks & warnings »
  • 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 »
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
EffexorCymbalta
No food related info.
  • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
Kidneys and liver
EffexorCymbalta
No kidneys and liver related info.
  • Not a good option if you're a heavy drinker, or if you have liver or kidney problems.
Pain
EffexorCymbalta
No pain related info.
  • Full effects in 8 to 12 weeks for mood, 2 weeks for pain.
Sex
EffexorCymbalta
  • Can cause sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate.
No sex related info.
Upsides and benefits
EffexorCymbalta
  • Effective at relieving depression and anxiety symptoms.
  • Lowers relapse rates of depression.
  • Causes more sleepiness than other antidepressants, so it's good for people who have trouble sleeping.
  • Six out of ten people who use an antidepressant for the first time find that it works for them.
  • Might work when other antidepressants haven't worked since it affects two chemicals in the brain that impact your mood. Many other antidepressants affect only serotonin, but not norepinephrine too.
  • 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.
Downsides and risks
EffexorCymbalta
  • Can cause sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate.
  • Not the best option for people with high blood pressure.
  • Overdosing on this medication could be fatal.
  • It's more likely to cause nausea and vomiting or make you feel sick if you miss a dose than other antidepressants. Also causes more sleepiness than others.
  • 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.
  • 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.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
EffexorCymbalta
  • Takes about 8 to 12 weeks to see the medication's full effects on your mood.
  • You can take the extended-release form once a day with food either in the morning or in the evening at about the same time each day.
  • Extended-release capsules should be swallowed whole. If you can’t swallow pills, open the capsule, sprinkle it on a spoonful of applesauce and then swallow it without chewing.
  • Stop taking it slowly to avoid getting withdrawal symptoms.
  • Tell your doctor if you notice sudden mood changes or unusual thoughts.
  • 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.
Learn more
More about EffexorSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Effexor (venlafaxine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about CymbaltaSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Cymbalta (duloxetine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it