Compare Pristiq vs. Cymbalta

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

Pristiq
(Desvenlafaxine)

Cymbalta
(Duloxetine)

Improves mood. Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine) is basically the same medication as Effexor, which is cheaper because it's available as a generic.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.
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Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
4.81Pristiq
Reviews for Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine)
53%
of people (All ages) say Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine) is worth it
49%
say it works well
23%
say it's a big hassle
196 reviews
Have you used Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Cymbalta (Duloxetine)
58%
+5% better vs. Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine)
49%
Same vs. Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine)
24%
-1% worse vs. Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine)
496 reviews
Have you used Cymbalta (Duloxetine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
PristiqCymbalta
  • 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 »
  • 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 »
How it works
PristiqCymbalta
Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine) is a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) antidepressant. It increases serotonin and norepinephrine activity in the brain, which regulates 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
PristiqCymbalta
Prescription only
Prescription only
Available as
PristiqCymbalta
  • Extended release
  • Extended release
Used for
PristiqCymbalta
Risk factors for serious side effects
PristiqCymbalta
  • 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
    • History of bipolar disorder
    • At risk for bipolar disorder
    Detailed Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine) 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

      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
      PristiqCymbalta
      No food related info.
      • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
      Kidneys and liver
      PristiqCymbalta
      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
      PristiqCymbalta
      No pain related info.
      • Full effects in 8 to 12 weeks for mood, 2 weeks for pain.
      Upsides and benefits
      PristiqCymbalta
      • 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.
      • 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
      PristiqCymbalta
      • 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.
      • 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
      PristiqCymbalta
      • 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.
      • 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 PristiqSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
      Have you used Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine)?
      Worth itNot sureNot worth it
      More about CymbaltaSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
      Have you used Cymbalta (Duloxetine)?
      Worth itNot sureNot worth it