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Cymbalta Vs. Prozac

author image Elizabeth Wolfenden
Elizabeth Wolfenden has been a professional freelance writer since 2005 with articles published on a variety of blogs and websites. She specializes in the areas of nutrition, health, psychology, mental health and education. Wolfenden holds a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in counseling from Oakland University.
Cymbalta Vs. Prozac
Talk to a doctor before using Cymbalta or Prozac.

Cymbalta and Prozac are two popular antidepressant medications manufactured by Eli Lilly and Company. Although there are many similarities between the two medications, there are also many differences. People should always talk to a doctor or psychiatrist to determine which antidepressant option would be most appropriate for their situation.

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Cymbalta and Prozac are both approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat depression. Cymbalta is also approved to treat generalized anxiety disorder, diabetic nerve pain and fibromyalgia, while Prozac is also approved to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder, bulimia nervosa and panic disorder.


Cymbalta is a selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. It works by affecting the chemicals in the brain called serotonin and norepinephrine. Prozac, on the other hand, is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. It works by affecting serotonin production in the brain.


The maximum dosage of Cymbalta is 60 mg per day. Cymbalta tablets are available in 20 mg, 30 mg and 60 mg doses. The maximum dosage of Prozac varies depending upon the specific situation. Prozac tablets come available in 10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg and 90 mg doses. Patients should always follow their doctor’s dosing instructions when taking either medication.

Side Effects

The most common adverse reactions of patients taking Prozac in clinical trials were abnormal dreams, abnormal ejaculation, anorexia, anxiety, weakness, diarrhea, dry mouth, indigestion, flu syndrome, impotence, insomnia, decreased libido, nausea, nervousness, sore throat, rash, sinusitis, sleepiness, sweating, tremor, dilation of blood vessels and yawning, according to the Prozac prescribing information. These adverse reactions occurred in more than 5 percent of patients during clinical trials and occurred at least twice as often for these patients as those taking a placebo. The most common adverse reactions of Cymbalta were dry mouth, nausea, sleepiness, constipation, excessive sweating and decreased appetite, according to the Cymbalta prescribing information. These adverse reactions also occurred in more than 5 percent of patients taking Cymbalta during clinical trials and occurred twice as often in patients taking Cymbalta instead of a placebo during clinical trials.


Medications can affect people in different ways. People should realize that just because they know someone who experienced a particular reaction while taking Cymbalta or Prozac, this does not mean that they will experience the same reaction if they take the medication. Individuals trying to decide between Cymbalta or Prozac should always discuss their specific situation with a doctor or psychiatrist to determine which medication would be most appropriate. Consumer Reports notes that some people need to try several different antidepressants before finding the one that is most effective for their specific situation.


Both Cymbalta and Prozac may increase the risk of suicidal thinking or behavior in people younger than 24 years old. Patients taking either medication should ask family or friends to monitor their behavior while taking the antidepressant and report unusual behavior to a doctor or mental health professional. Those who take antidepressant medication should always call a doctor immediately if suicidal thoughts occur.

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