Cymbalta Vs. Zoloft

Cymbalta and Zoloft are two well-known medications generally prescribed for depression, but they differ significantly. The two antidepressants are often actively compared based upon their differences. For those seeking mental help through medication, it is important to know the details, differences and effects of each drug before deciding upon which one to take.

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Cymbalta is a selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) antidepressant. It is believed to correct the chemical imbalance of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain by blocking its serotonin reuptake, which treats severe depression. It is also used for chronic pain disorder and those with diabetes who suffer from nerve damage pain.

Zoloft is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRIs) antidepressant. It used to treat depression, panic and anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Zoloft corrects the chemical imbalance of serotonin within the brain by increasing the levels of serotonin while blocking reuptake of serotonin.

Significant Factors

Cymbalta comes in 20 mg, 30mg and 60 mg capsules, which are specifically designed for gradual time release. The generic name for Cymbalta is Duloxetine. The most common manufacturer of Cymbalta is Eli Lilly. Cymbalta has not been approved for children.

Zoloft comes in 25 mg, 50 mg, 100 mg tablets and 20-mg/ml oral concentrate. The generic name for Zoloft is Sertraline. The most common manufacturer of Zoloft is Pfizer. Zoloft has not been FDA approved for children suffering from depression, but Zoloft has been FDA approved for the treatment of OCD in children.


Both Cymbalta and Zoloft cannot be taken in combination with any monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Pain, fever and arthritis medications might cause easier bruising or bleeding when taking either Cymbalta or Zoloft. Before taking Cymbalta, you must advise your doctor if you are taking blood thinners or certain antibiotics. Before taking Zoloft, you must advise your doctor if you are taking blood thinners or heart rhythm medications.

Side Effects

The side effects of Cymbalta are generally the same as Zoloft. Some common side effects found in both medications include but are not limited to experiencing dry mouth, drowsiness, mild nausea, constipation, gas, insomnia, joint pain, weight changes, decreased sexual drive or impotence. The more serious effects shared by both include:

  • but are not limited to stomach pain
  • fever
  • appetite
  • weight fluctuation
  • stiff muscles
  • heart tremors
  • headache
  • memory problems
  • weakness
  • loss of coordination or shallow breathing


Common over-the-counter medications such as cold or allergy medicines or sleep inducers as well as prescribed medications for seizures or anxiety can increase drowsiness often caused by both Cymbalta and Zoloft. Both Cymbalta and Zoloft are believed to cause harm to infants of pregnant or breastfeeding women. Conditions such as liver or kidney disease, seizures or epilepsy and bipolar disorder are extremely sensitive to the adverse effects of Zoloft.