Compare Zoloft vs. Cymbalta

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

Zoloft
(Sertraline)

Cymbalta
(Duloxetine)

Improves mood and helps you relax. Zoloft (Sertraline) is good for treating depression and anxiety. It's more likely to cause insomnia and diarrhea 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.
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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
4.690531177829099Zoloft
Reviews for Zoloft (Sertraline)
59%
of people say Zoloft (Sertraline) is worth it
40%
say it works well
15%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Cymbalta (Duloxetine)
59%
Same vs. Zoloft (Sertraline)
49%
+9% vs. Zoloft (Sertraline)
24%
9% vs. Zoloft (Sertraline)
Side effects
ZoloftCymbalta
  • Nausea 19%
  • Ejaculation failure 18%
  • Sleep difficulty 16%
  • Diarrhea/loose stools 14%
  • Fatigue 9%
  • Loss of appetite 9%
  • Lower sex drive 9%
  • Sweating increased 9%
  • Dizziness 8%
  • Indigestion 8%
More Zoloft side effects »
  • 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
ZoloftCymbalta
Zoloft (Sertraline) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant. It increases the activity of serotonin 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
ZoloftCymbalta
Antidepressant
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)
Prescription only
Antidepressant
Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI)
Prescription only
Available as
ZoloftCymbalta
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Extended release
Used for (click to learn more)
ZoloftCymbalta
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 Zoloft (Sertraline), here’s how much better people feel.

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

Risk factors for serious side effects
ZoloftCymbalta
  • Under 24 years old
  • Interactions with other medications
      • Stopping Zoloft (Sertraline) suddenly
      • Taking with blood-thinning drugs
      • Elderly
      • Taking with diuretic medications
      Detailed Zoloft (Sertraline) 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
        ZoloftCymbalta
        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.No specific alcohol-related info.
        Food
        No specific food-related info.
        • 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
        • Can cause sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate.
        • 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
        • Causes less drowsiness than other antidepressants.
        • 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
        ZoloftCymbalta
        • Effective at lowering symptoms and relapse rates of depression and anxiety disorders.
        • Causes less drowsiness than other antidepressants.
        • 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
        ZoloftCymbalta
        • Can cause sexual side effects like low libido and an inability to orgasm or ejaculate.
        • More likely to cause diarrhea than other antidepressants.
        • 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
        ZoloftCymbalta
        • Takes about 8 to 12 weeks to see the medication's full effects on your mood.
        • It interacts with St. John's Wort and Tryptophan.
        • 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 ZoloftSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
        More about CymbaltaSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert