Can you switch from Prozac to Cymbalta? (3 ways to do that) 

As a BetterHelp affiliate, we may receive compensation from BetterHelp if you purchase products or services through the links provided

In this blog post, we are going to answer the question, “Can you switch from Prozac to Cymbalta?”. Prozac, a brand name for Fluoxetine, is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). 

This antidepressant is one of the most commonly prescribed meds and can be used for a number of mental health conditions. However, it may not work for everyone. This blog will cover all there is to know about switching from Prozac to Cymbalta. 

Can you switch from Prozac to Cymbalta?

Counseling is Key to a Healthy Marr...
Counseling is Key to a Healthy Marriage

Yes, you can switch from Prozac to Cymbalta, but only if your healthcare provider believes that Cymbalta is a better option for you. Both Prozac and Cymbalta are strong antidepressants and they are prescribed quite frequently. However, not everyone can tolerate these meds. 

There are people who may get allergic to the active ingredient present in Prozac, which is Fluoxetine. Some people may develop unbearable side effects while being treated with Prozac. 

These conditions can lead to the discontinuation of Prozac and your doctor may switch your antidepressant to Cymbalta, which is also a good antidepressant. Prozac and Cymbalta belong to two different classes of antidepressants. 

Prozac (Fluoxetine) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). It works by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin by blocking serotonin transporters (SERT). This way more serotonin is available in the synaptic cleft to bind to its respective receptors. 

Cymbalta (Duloxetine), on the other hand, is a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). It works by inhibiting the reuptake of two excitatory monoamine neurotransmitters; serotonin and norepinephrine. It does so by blocking serotonin and norepinephrine transporters, SERT and NET respectively. 

This makes more serotonin and norepinephrine available to bind to their respective receptors. They’re both inhibiting the reuptake of excitatory neurotransmitters to counteract the symptoms associated with depression, anxiety, and several other mental health-related problems. 

How can you switch from Prozac to Cymbalta? 

There are a few ways to switch from Prozac to Cymbalta under your doctor’s supervision. These include:

  • Taper off Prozac while starting Cymbalta from the lowest effective dose. 
  • Taper off and stop Prozac first, then start Cymbalta 
  • Taper off and stop Prozac, wait a couple of days, and then start Cymbalta 

Taper off Prozac while starting Cymbalta from the lowest effective dose. 

This is one of the most common ways to switch from Prozac to Cymbalta. First, your doctor will gradually taper off your Prozac dose. This step is crucial because of the effects of Prozac on your brain and the fact that your brain is now used to this effect. 

If you take away Prozac abruptly and give Cymbalta right away, your body may start to malfunction. This is because antidepressants make your brain somehow dependent on them. 

When you suddenly take them away, your brain starts to crave the excessive amount of excitatory neurotransmitter serotonin that was present because of Prozac. 

This condition can take a disturbing turn because the symptoms associated with Prozac withdrawal are not so easy to deal with. So, your doctor will gradually decrease the dose of Prozac to make it easy for your brain to comprehend what’s actually going on. 

Meanwhile, a very low dose of Cymbalta is started to kind of introduce the drug to the brain. This step is crucial as now two antidepressants can be present in your body. 

You have to make sure to stick to your doctor’s recommended dose if you wish to avoid overdosing on your antidepressants. As the process goes on, Prozac is slowly tapered off and then stopped finally, whereas the dose of Cymbalta is gradually increased until it reaches the most appropriate dose as per your condition. 

Taper off and stop Prozac first, then start Cymbalta 

For people who are extremely sensitive to antidepressants, the first option that we have discussed does not really work. This is because their body may not completely understand the process of stopping one antidepressant and starting another one at the same time. 

That’s when this switching strategy comes in handy. If you’re one of the sensitive people, your doctor may start to slowly taper you off Prozac first. 

Once the drug is completely out of your system, that’s when Cymbalta is started from the lowest effective dose to see how your body reacts to the new antidepressant. 

If everything is clear, you’re not allergic to Cymbalta and do not suffer from unusual side effects, your dose is then escalated slowly so that your body adjusts to it well. 

Taper off and stop Prozac, wait a couple of days, and then start Cymbalta 

This switching strategy is not that common in the case of antidepressants like Prozac and Cymbalta, but it can still be considered an option. This strategy is more common when you’re switching from a Monoaminoxidase inhibitor (MAOI) to any other antidepressant. 

In the case of Prozac and Cymbalta, the first two strategies are most commonly used. However, if the person stopping Prozac has overdosed on it or suffers from symptoms associated with serotonin syndrome, this strategy should be applied.

First Prozac should be gradually stopped to prevent Prozac withdrawal syndrome. Then some time should be given to such a person to recover from this mess and then the treatment with Cymbalta should be started from the lowest effective dose.

Serotonin syndrome can be life-threatening. This is why you should never overdose on any antidepressant. 

What reasons lead to the discontinuation of Prozac? 

There could be a number of reasons leading to Prozac’s discontinuation. Some of them include:

  • An allergic reaction 
  • Unbearable side effects 
  • Insufficient therapeutic response 

An allergic reaction 

If a person develops signs of an allergic reaction soon after taking their first ever Prozac dose, there is no point in the continuation of treatment. If your body is allergic to the active ingredient of Prozac, that is Fluoxetine, or any excipient present in it, your treatment will be discontinued right away. 

This is because if you can’t even tolerate a single dose, how can you expect to tolerate taking it on a daily basis, that too for months? Make sure you inform your healthcare provider if you have been allergic to Prozac in the past. 

Unbearable side effects

Prozac is associated with some side effects, like every other antidepressant. However, these side effects may disturb some people more than others. 

This is because every single person on this planet has a different physiological composition and everyone reacts differently when exposed to antidepressants. Some people can get away with mild side effects, whereas some people are severely affected. 

Such people can not bear this antidepressant and it results in the discontinuation of the treatment with Prozac. Some of the side effects include:

  • Restlessness 
  • Anxiety 
  • Drowsiness 
  • Dizziness 
  • Skin rash
  • Muscular pain
  • Joint pain
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting 
  • Tiredness 
  • Sweating 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Loss of sexual desire 

Insufficient therapeutic response

Prozac, although it is a very good antidepressant, may not work well for everyone. It is a common fact that these medications take at least 4 to 6 weeks to kick in. Before that, you can not expect to see any changes in your mental health condition. 

Even when they do kick in, they can take up to months to start making noticeable changes. However, they may not work at all for some people. Studies suggest that 1 in 200 people may not even respond to Prozac. 

Some case studies included people who took Prozac for more than 13 weeks, but they did not even notice a slightest difference in their depression. This indicates that Prozac is just not made for some people and no matter how properly they take it, it will never work well for them. 

Conclusion 

In this blog post, we have discussed switching from Prozac to Cymbalta. Prozac, the brand name for Fluoxetine, is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). 

This antidepressant is one of the most commonly prescribed meds and can be used for a number of mental health conditions. However, it may not work for everyone. You can switch to Cymbalta, but only if your healthcare provider believes that Cymbalta is a better option for you. 

Both Prozac and Cymbalta are strong antidepressants and they are prescribed quite frequently. We have also looked at the best ways to switch from Prozac to Cymbalta and some common reasons associated with Prozac discontinuation. Make sure you consult your healthcare provider before making any such decisions on your own.

FAQs: Can you switch from Prozac to Cymbalta 

Can Cymbalta replace Prozac?

Yes, Cymbalta can replace Prozac. Cymbalta is one of the most commonly prescribed antidepressants and it works very well in some people. Cymbalta is a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). It works by inhibiting the reuptake of two excitatory monoamine neurotransmitters; serotonin and norepinephrine. 

It does so by blocking serotonin and norepinephrine transporters, SERT and NET respectively. This makes more serotonin and norepinephrine available to bind to their respective receptors to actively counteract the symptoms associated with depression. 

Can you take Prozac with Cymbalta?

Yes, you can take Prozac with Cymbalta, but only if recommended by your prescribing physician. Both of these antidepressants are considered strong meds for the management and treatment of depression, anxiety, and several other mental health conditions. 

However, this combination may not cause beneficial effects in every other individual and it may interact negatively with some of the other prescription medications for such patients.

Can you switch antidepressants without tapering?

Yes, you may be able to switch antidepressants without tapering, but it depends on the two drugs. If you’re switching from one SSRI to another SSRI, your doctor may not taper off the first drug at all and you may be switched directly to the other antidepressant. However, this is very rare and can only be done if you’re switching from one antidepressant to another antidepressant belonging to the same class. 

Can you switch from SSRI to SNRI?

Yes, you can definitely switch from an SSRI to an SNRI, but only if your healthcare provider recommends this. First, your doctor will gradually taper off your SSRI dose. Meanwhile, a very low dose of SNRI is started to kind of introduce the drug to the brain. As the process goes on, SSRI is slowly tapered off and then stopped finally, whereas the dose of SNRI is gradually increased until it reaches the most appropriate dose as per your condition. 

How are Prozac and Cymbalta different?

Prozac (Fluoxetine) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). It works by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin by blocking serotonin transporters (SERT). Cymbalta (Duloxetine) is a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). It works by inhibiting the reuptake of two excitatory monoamine neurotransmitters; serotonin and norepinephrine. It does so by blocking serotonin and norepinephrine transporters, SERT and NET respectively.

References 

[Sassy_Social_Share type="standard"]