Drug vs. Drug

Cymbalta vs Lyrica: Main Differences and Similarities

By | May 29, 2019

Cymbalta (duloxetine) and Lyrica (pregabalin) are two prescription medications that can be used to treat muscle and nerve pain. While both medications can treat similar conditions, they differ in some important ways. Cymbalta is generally used to treat depression while Lyrica is primarily used for nerve pain. We’ll go over their different features here.

Cymbalta

Cymbalta is the brand name for duloxetine. It is grouped into a class of drugs known as serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, or SNRIs. Cymbalta works by enhancing the activity of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain.

Cymbalta is FDA approved to treat depression and anxiety disorders. It is also used to relieve muscle pain as well as nerve pain resulting from diabetes (diabetic neuropathy).

Available in a 20 mg, 30 mg, and 60 mg oral capsule, Cymbalta is usually taken once daily. However, the dose can depend on the condition being treated.

Lyrica

Lyrica is also known by its generic name, pregabalin. It belongs to a class of drugs called anticonvulsants. Lyrica primarily works by decreasing the release of different neurotransmitters. Like Cymbalta, it may also affect serotonin and norepinephrine transmitters in the brain.

Lyrica is approved to treat muscle pain and nerve pain as a result of peripheral diabetic neuropathy. It is also used in combination with other therapies to treat seizures.

Lyrica can be administered as an oral capsule in varying strengths. It is also available as an oral solution. Depending on the condition being treated, Lyrica is taken up to 2 or 3 times per day.

Cymbalta vs Lyrica Side by Side Comparison

Cymbalta and Lyrica are two drugs that can treat nerve pain. Despite their similar uses, they also have some differences in side effects and formulation. You can review these features in the table below.

Cymbalta Lyrica
Prescribed For
  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Neuropathic pain from diabetic peripheral neuropathy
  • Musculoskeletal pain (chronic)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Neuropathic pain from diabetic peripheral neuropathy
  • Postherpetic neuralgia
  • Adjunctive therapy for partial onset seizures
  • Fibromyalgia
Drug Classification
  • Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI)
  • Anticonvulsant
Manufacturer
Common Side Effects
  • Somnolence
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased sweating
  • Decreased appetite
  • Somnolence
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Swelling of hands and feet
  • Blurred vision
  • Weight gain
  • Sleepiness
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Muscle pain/soreness
  • Tremors
Is there a generic?
  • Yes, pregabalin
Is it covered by insurance?
  • Varies according to your provider
  • Varies according to your provider
Dosage Forms
  • Oral capsule, delayed release
  • Oral tablet, extended release
  • Oral capsule
  • pOral solution
Average Cash Price
  • $284 per 30, 60 mg delayed-release capsules
  • $530 for a supply of 60, 75 mg capsules.
SingleCare Discount Price
Drug Interactions
  • CYP1A2 inhibitors (fluvoxamine, cimetidine, ciprofloxacin, enoxacin)
  • CYP2D6 inhibitors (paroxetine, fluoxetine, quinidine)
  • Oral contraceptives (estrogen and progestin pills)
  • Steroidal agents (prednisone, methylprednisolone, etc.)
  • MAO inhibitors (selegiline, isocarboxazid, etc.)
  • Serotonergic drugs (fluoxetine, escitalopram, etc.)
  • CNS drugs (zolpidem, phenobarbital, etc.)
  • Tricyclic antidepressants (amitriptyline, doxepin, etc.)
  • NSAIDs (ibuprofen, ketorolac, diclofenac, etc.)
  • Theophylline
  • Lithium
  • Tramadol
  • St. John’s Wort
  • Aspirin
  • Warfarin
  • No significant drug interactions reported
Can I use while planning pregnancy, pregnant, or breastfeeding?
  • Cymbalta is in Pregnancy Category C. Animal studies have shown evidence for potential fetal harm. Adequate studies have not been performed in humans. Consult a doctor regarding steps to take while pregnant and breastfeeding
  • Lyrica is in Pregnancy Category C. Animal studies have shown evidence for potential fetal harm. Adequate studies have not been performed in humans. Consult a doctor regarding steps to take while pregnant and breastfeeding

Summary

Cymbalta (duloxetine) and Lyrica (pregabalin) are both potential options that can treat muscle and nerve pain. However, Cymbalta is also considered an SNRI antidepressant that can treat depression and anxiety. Lyrica, on the other hand, is classified as an anticonvulsant that can also treat seizures.

When compared in clinical trials, Cymbalta and Lyrica had similar effects on pain scores. Therefore, they are almost equally effective. However, Lyrica may produce more side effects of dizziness than Cymbalta.

Cymbalta is usually taken once daily to treat nerve pain while Lyrica may need to be taken multiple times throughout the day. Both medication produce similar side effects of sleepiness, dry mouth, and headache. While Cymbalta has several drug interactions to look out for, Lyrica has not been shown to have any significant drug interactions.

Discuss these treatment options with a doctor if you suffer from nerve pain. Because of their differences in how they are used, one option may be preferred over the other. The information presented here is meant to briefly compare two different medications.