Duloxetine and fluoxetine are medications prescribed by physicians to treat depression. While the two drugs are typically used for depression, they work in two different ways. Duloxetine is considered an SNRI medication, while fluoxetine is categorized as an SSRI medication. While they possess similar characteristics, they are very different.


Duloxetine is also known by its brand name, Cymbalta, and it is considered a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake


inhibitor (SNRI). It works to regulate serotonin and norepinephrine neurotransmitters in our brain. The medication was approved in 2004 to treat diabetic nerve pain, depression, and muscle pain. In some cases, it is used to treat generalized anxiety disorder and chronic musculoskeletal pain.

Duloxetine is available in 20 mg, 30 mg, and 60 mg capsules. While your dosage is dependent on the condition being treated, the maximum dose is between 60 mg or 120 mg each day. Doctors explain that there is no benefit for individuals who use more than 60 mg per day.


Fluoxetine also goes by its brand new, Prozac, and it is considered a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). As an SSRI drug, fluoxetine works by enhancing the effects of serotonin in our brain. The medication is used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and depression, but it can be used in some cases for panic disorders and bulimia.

Fluoxetine is available in various doses ranging from 10 mg, 20 mg, or 40 mg oral capsules. Doctors suggest that the lowest effective dose is 80 mg per day. You may also take a delayed-release 90 mg oral tablet on a weekly basis.

Duloxetine Versus Fluoxetine

Duloxetine and fluoxetine are two medicines that treat depression, while they possess similarities, there are many differences between them as we’ve explained above. Some of these differences include:

Fluoxetine is Prescribed For:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depression
  • Neuropathic pain stemming from diabetes
  • Musculoskeletal pain (chronic)
  • Fibromyalgia

While Duloxetine is Prescribed For:

  • OCD
  • Panic disorder
  • Depression
  • Bulimia

Side Effects of Duloxetine Include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Somnolence
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Decreased appetite
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • High blood pressure

Side Effects of Fluoxetine Include:

  • Shaking
  • Agitation
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Somnolence
  • Nervousness
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Pharyngitis
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Decreased libido
  • Ejaculation disorder
  • Indigestion
  • Anorgasmia


Summarizing the Two Drugs

These two medications are both prescribed to treat depression, while one is an SNRI, and the other is an SSRI. Due to their specific uses, one may be preferred over the other. Still, it will be solely dependent on the condition the person is struggling with. Both medications are available in oral form. Again, duloxetine comes in a delay-release capsule taken daily, while fluoxetine is available as a daily oral capsule or delayed-release tablet that is taken weekly.

Which Medication is Right for Me?

If you are struggling with any of the disorders we’ve listed above, you must speak with a medical professional who can adequately diagnose you. Your physician may start you on one medication to see how it affects you. If you are not satisfied with the results, they may start you on the other to see if it works better. Only a medical professional can make this determination. If you are ready for help, make a phone call today.

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