Compare Pamelor vs. Cymbalta

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

Pamelor
(Nortriptyline)

Cymbalta
(Duloxetine)

Improves your mood. Pamelor (Nortriptyline) is a good option for treating depression, especially for people who also have problems with persistent nerve pain.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.
Find lowest prices
Powered by GoodRxSave on your next prescription. Be sure you’re getting the lowest price for your medication, even if you have insurance.
Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active

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

Reviews for Cymbalta (Duloxetine)
59%
18% vs. Pamelor (Nortriptyline)
49%
28% vs. Pamelor (Nortriptyline)
24%
9% vs. Pamelor (Nortriptyline)
Side effects
PamelorCymbalta

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

FDA side effect reports for Pamelor »
  • 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 »
How it works
PamelorCymbalta
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.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
PamelorCymbalta
Antidepressant
Tricyclic antidepressant (TCA)
Prescription only
Antidepressant
Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI)
Prescription only
Available as
PamelorCymbalta
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Extended release
Used for (click to learn more)
PamelorCymbalta
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.
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)

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

Risk factors for serious side effects
PamelorCymbalta
  • 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 »
  • 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 »
    Pregnancy category
    PamelorCymbalta
    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
    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.No specific alcohol-related info.
    Food
    • Take it with food and/or at bedtime to decrease the potential side effects.
    • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
    Kidneys and liver
    No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
    • Not a good option if you're a heavy drinker, or if you have liver or kidney problems.
    Sex
    No specific sex-related info.
    • 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.
    Sleep
    • 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.
    • 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.
    Weight
    No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
    Upsides and benefits
    PamelorCymbalta
    • 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.
    • 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
    PamelorCymbalta
    • 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.
    • 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
    PamelorCymbalta
    • 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.
    • 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 PamelorSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    More about CymbaltaSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert