Effexor vs Cymbalta: Which Is Really Better for You?

More people everyday are prescribed serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors aka SNRIs, which are a class of antidepressant used to treat depression. There are four main SNRIs: enlafaxine (Effexor XR), duloxetine (Cymbalta), milnacipran (Savella), and desvenlafaxine (Pristiq).

Today we are going to focus on two of the most commonly used of the four. Lets take a look at some of the similarities and differences between the two drugs, so that you can make a more informed decision when choosing between the two.

Effexor is the first and most commonly used SNRI while Cymbalta was most recently released on the market. It was approved by the FDA in August of 2004.

What Disorders Do SNRIs Treat?

Both drugs work by preventing serotonin and noradrenaline from being reabsorbed back into the nerve cells in the brain. Effexor has been approved to treat, major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder while Cymbalta has been approved to treat major depressive disorder, diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain, generalized anxiety disorder, and fibromyalgia.

Effexor vs Cymbalta: Which Is Better for Depression?

When treating depression, both drugs are similarly affective. In a randomized, double-blind study which compared Cymbalta 60mg a day and Effexor XR 150mg a day both Cymbalta and Effexor XR demonstrated substantial antidepressant efficacy and received a HAMD 17 total score. Both drugs are also effective at treating generalized anxiety disorder.

Off Label Uses

Effexor has also been proven effective at treating several “off label” uses as well. Many doctors are prescribing it for the treatment of diabetic neuropathy and migraine prophylaxis. Cymbalta has been recently prescribed “off label” to treat bipolar depression and new studies are also showing that it may be effective at treating painful physical symptoms associated with depression as well as stress from urinary incontinence.

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Both have side effects that can range from moderate to serious. For a complete list of side effects, click here.


All in all, how effective an SNRI is for you depends on how your body reacts to the medication. One medication may work better than another for you, and not for someone else. Be sure to ask you doctor about the pros and cons of each before you determine whether Effexor or Cymbalta would be right for you.

If you already have a prescription for Effexor or Cymbalta and would like to get it much cheaper than your local drug store, go to eDrugSearch.com, freely compare prices amongst licensed online pharmacies and start saving anywhere from 50-90% on US retail drugs prices  try it out today!

About Cary Byrd

eDrugSearch founder, Cary Byrd, has been called an “e-health innovator” by MarketIntellNow, interviewed by top pharmaceutical industry journalists, invited to Matthew Holt’s Health 2.0 Conference and a Consumer Report's health summit, and highlighted on numerous health blogs.

What is the Difference Between Effexor and Cymbalta?

0 thoughts on “Effexor vs Cymbalta: Which Is Really Better for You?

  • Heather Sturges says:

    My doctor has prescribed Cymbalta for the treatment of Fibromyalgia accompanied by severe headaches. I have previously taken Effexor and 1/2 tablet sent me to the ER with severe shaking, dizziness, nausea, ringing in my ears and tingling in my hands and legs. Is there a reason to be concerned in taking the Cymbalta? I don’t know what the commonalities are of these two medications that I need to be concerned about.

  • I’m coming off of effexor after 10 months. My dr has taken 6 weeks to get me off the drug to minimize side effects. I’m now 4 days without taking any and I’m having a terrible time. The effexor seemed to be the cause of a 20lb. (in 10 months) weight gain, which is the reason I decided to come off the drug. NOw I’m having the same anxiety symptoms I had when I started taking it, the same pain and I’m overwhelmingly depressed (which I wasn’t 10 months ago when I started taking it)and to top it off I have 20 lbs to lose.
    I love my doctor, truly she’s been wonderful for 15 years, otherwise I’d leave her practice. I’d think long and hard and do your own research before going on a drug like effexor…

  • i am on restoril for sleep but realize it works to help the nerve pain…been on it for 7 years . I need something else— have a ton on anxiety….cymbalta i’ve tried and it
    seems like it might have a deydratioing effect. At least I pee a large amt in a sitting (sorry for tmi). and after taking it for summer i was itching.
    One doctor has me on tramadol just as needed…it gives me some major dreams
    scenerios…i don’t think that’s good except maybe i’m getting deeper sleep?
    I’m looking at dropping the cymbalta and getting on exxefor…what do you think?
    can you comment?

  • Orlandoblonde@hotmail.com says:

    Hello Dr. Byrd,
    I was on Effexor DR for many years, (15+) but after so long, it didn’t seen as effective as it had been in the past. I just switched to Cymbalta, but I don’t feel like it works NEAR as well as the Effexor.

    My doctor seems hesitant in raising my dose, but I feel like it wears off before the next scheduled dose, AND doesn’t take care of as many of my symptons, like the effexor…any suggestions you have, any insight at all, would be greatly appreciated.

    I’m 60 years old, just to let you know, had been on Effexor since my 40s

    Thank you for your time & support,
    Yvonne Frye

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