Lyrica (pregabalin) vs. Cymbalta (duloxetine)

  • Medical Editor: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Lyrica (pregabalin) vs. Cymbalta (duloxetine)

What is Lyrica? What is Cymbalta?

Lyrica (pregabalin) is an oral medication chemically related to gabapentin (Gralise, Neurontin) used to treat pain caused by neurologic diseases such as postherpetic neuralgia as well as seizures. It also is used to treat fibromyalgia.

Cymbalta (duloxetine) is a selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) antidepressant used for treating depression, anxiety disorder, diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain, fibromyalgia, and chronic musculoskeletal pain. Other drugs in this class include milnacipran (Savella), venlafaxine (Effexor), and desvenlafaxine (Pristiq).

What are the side effects of Lyrica and Cymbalta?

Lyrica

WARNING

  • Antiepileptic medications have been associated with increased risk of suicidal thinking and behavior. Anyone considering the use of antiepileptic drugs must balance this risk of suicide with the clinical need. Patients who are started on therapy should be closely observed for clinical worsening, suicidal thoughts, or unusual changes in behavior.

The most common side effects of Lyrica are

Other side effects include

Increased creatinine kinase can be a sign of muscle injury, and in clinical trials three patients experienced rhabdomyolysis (severe muscle injury). Therefore, patients should report unexplained muscle pain, tenderness or weakness to their doctors, especially if associated with fever and malaise (reduced well-being). Lyrica has rarely been associated with angioedema (swelling of the face, tongue, lips, and gums, throat and larynx).

Cymbalta

The most common side effects of duloxetine are nausea, dry mouth, constipation, diarrhea, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, and dizziness. Increased blood pressure can occur and should be monitored. Seizures have been reported. Sexual dysfunction (decreased sex drive and delayed orgasm and ejaculation) has been associated with duloxetine.

Some patients may experience withdrawal reactions upon stopping duloxetine. Symptoms of withdrawal include:

The dose of duloxetine should be gradually reduced when therapy is discontinued to prevent symptoms of withdrawal.

Antidepressants increased the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in short-term studies in children and adolescents with depression and other psychiatric disorders. Anyone considering the use of duloxetine or any other antidepressant in a child or adolescent must balance this risk with the clinical need. Patients who are started on therapy should be closely observed for clinical worsening, suicidality, or unusual changes in behavior.

What is the dosage of Lyrica vs. Cymbalta?

Lyrica

  • Lyrica may be taken with or without food.
  • Treating diabetic peripheral neuropathy: The initial dose for neuropathic pain associated with diabetic peripheral neuropathy is 50 mg three times a day (150 mg/day). The dose may be increased to a maximum dose of 100 mg 3 times daily (300 mg/day) after one week.
  • Treating postherpetic neuralgia: The recommended dose for postherpetic neuralgia is 75-150 mg twice daily or 50-100 mg three times daily. Dosing should begin at 75 mg two times a day or 50 mg three times a day (150 mg/day). The dose may be increased to 100 mg 3 times daily (300 mg/day) after one week. If pain relief is inadequate after 2-4 weeks of treatment at 300 mg/day, the dose may be increased to 300 mg twice daily or 200 mg three times daily. Doses greater than 300 mg cause more side effects.
  • Treating neuropathic pain associated with spinal cord injury: The dose for treating neuropathic pain associated with spinal cord injury is 150 to 600 mg daily. Begin dosing at 75 mg two times a day an increase to 150 mg two times daily after one week if response is inadequate. May increase to 300 mg twice daily if response is inadequate after 2 to 3 weeks.
  • Treating seizures: The recommended dose for treating seizures is 150-600 mg/day divided into 2 or 3 doses, starting at 150 mg daily and increasing based on response and tolerability. The maximum dose is 600 mg/day.
  • Treating fibromyalgia: Fibromyalgia is treated with 300-450 mg/day in 2 or 3 divided doses.

Cymbalta

The recommended dose for treating depression is 20 or 30 mg twice daily or 60 mg once daily. Patients may be started with 30 mg once daily for one week before the dose is advanced to 60 mg daily.

The recommended dose for anxiety disorder, pain associated with diabetic neuropathy, fibromyalgia, or chronic musculoskeletal pain is 60 mg daily. Starting at 30 mg daily for one week before increasing to 60 mg daily may help patients adjust to the drug. There is no evidence that doses greater than 60 mg/day provide additional benefits. However, the maximum dose for depression or anxiety disorder is 120 mg/day.

What drugs interact with Lyrica and Cymbalta?

Lyrica

  • Alcohol and drugs that cause sedation may increase the sedative effects of pregabalin.
  • Pioglitazone (Actos) and rosiglitazone (Avandia) cause weight gain, fluid retention, and possibly heart failure. Therefore, combining pregabalin with these drugs may increase the occurrence of weight gain and fluid retention.

Cymbalta

  • Duloxetine should not be used in combination with a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) such as phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate), isocarboxazid (Marplan), and selegiline (Eldepryl), or within 14 days of discontinuing the MAOI. At least 5 days should be allowed after stopping duloxetine before starting an MAOI. Combinations of SNRIs and MAOIs may lead to serious, sometimes fatal, reactions including very high body temperature, muscle rigidity, rapid fluctuations of heart rate and blood pressure, extreme agitation progressing to delirium, and coma. Similar reactions may occur if duloxetine is combined with antipsychotics, tricyclic antidepressants or other drugs that affect serotonin in the brain. Examples include tryptophan, sumatriptan (Imitrex), lithium, linezolid (Zyvox), tramadol (Ultram), and St. John’s Wort.
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac, Serafem), paroxetine (Paxil, Paxil CR, Pexeva), fluvoxamine (Luvox), and quinidine increase blood levels of duloxetine by reducing its metabolism in the liver. Such combinations may increase adverse effects of duloxetine.
  • Combining duloxetine with aspirin, nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), warfarin (Coumadin) or other drugs that are associated with bleeding may increase the risk of bleeding, because duloxetine itself is associated with bleeding.
  • Duloxetine has an enteric coating that prevents dissolution until it reaches a segment of the gastrointestinal that has a pH higher than 5.5. In theory, drugs that raise the pH in the gastrointestinal system (for example, Prilosec) may cause duloxetine to be released early while conditions that slow gastric empyting (for example, diabetes) may cause premature breakdown of duloxetine. Nevertheless, aAdministration of duloxetine with an antacid or famotidine (Axid) did not significantly affect the absorption of duloxetine.
  • Duloxetine may reduce the breakdown of desipramine (Norpramine), leading to increased blood concentrations of desipramine and potential side effects.

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Are Lyrica and Cymbalta safe to use while pregnant or breastfeeding?

Lyrica

  • There are no adequate studies of Lyrica in pregnant women.
  • It is not known whether Lyrica is excreted in breast milk.

Cymbalta

Duloxetine is excreted into the milk of lactating women. Because the safety of duloxetine in infants is not known, breastfeeding while on duloxetine is not recommended.

Summary

Lyrica (pregabalin) and Cymbalta (duloxetine) are used to treat neuropathic pain associated with diabetic peripheral neuropathy or postherpetic neuralgia, and fibromyalgia. Lyrica is also used in combination with other drugs to treat partial onset seizures in adults. Cymbalta is also used to treat depression and anxiety disorder.

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Medically Reviewed on 12/11/2018
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