Cymbalta vs Effexor? Perhaps, you have been wondering which between these two drugs is better. Or is there any difference?
To start with, you should know that both duloxetine (Cymbalta) and venlafaxine (Effexor) are under the same class of antidepressant medications – Serotonin Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs). Other medications under the SNRI class include desvenlafaxine (Pristiq) and milnacipran (Savella). SNRIs work on certain parts of the brain to normalize levels of brain chemicals – serotonin and norepinephrine. They are most commonly used to treat depression.
Compared to earlier classes of antidepressants, Cymbalta and Effexor lack the adverse side effects most common with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs). Moreover, SNRIs act quicker and are more effective in treating depression.
So, is there any difference between Cymbalta and Effexor?
Released in 2004, duloxetine HCl (Cymbalta) is the newer SNRI on the market. It is widely advertised as a safer and more effective type of SNRI. On the other hand, Venlafaxine HCl (Effexor), which was released in 1994, is the more commonly prescribed and used drug.
Limited studies conducted to compare Effexor and Cymbalta suggest that both drugs are similarly effective in treating depression. In a double-blind study, both medications showed substantial antidepressant efficacy. They were also equally effective in treating generalized anxiety disorder.
Doctors have also prescribed Cymbalta “off label” for patients suffering from bipolar depression. It has also been reported to be effective in treating painful physical symptoms most commonly associated with depression. Meanwhile, Effexor has also been prescribed “off label” for preventing migraine and diabetic nephropathy.
Both medications also have side effects that range from mild to serious. The most common side effect of SNRIs is nausea, often the most common cause why people withdraw from the treatment. Effexor XR (extended release formulation) is less likely to cause nausea compared to Cymbalta. Normally, side effects of both medications are easily managed with doctor’s help.
At present, there are no evidence-based facts that will firmly recommend which antidepressant medication is better. Basically, the selection of an effective antidepressant therapy depends is individualized and based on the patient’s response to treatment. It should also be noted that drugs may work differently for different people. You may find this medication effective but it may not work as effectively in another.
Finally, the better medicine between Cymbalta and Effexor still depends on the user’s response to medication. It is best to discuss your treatment with your doctor to determine which medication is best for you.