Worse experience ever - Stopped Cymbalta, Withdrawal?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by jaltair, Jan 3, 2006.

  1. jaltair

    jaltair New Member

    This past weekend, my husband and I traveled to our home in UT. This is a 9 hour trip (without stops). We went in my husband’s pride and joy, the Jeep that he’s been having work done on for over 7 years. It’s a 1966 Jeep gladiator. The trip was not really comfortable, but I always manage to sleep more than ½ the way when we go.

    I had been thinking about going off of the Cymbalta because of what I read on how SSRIs “fry” our brains, and decided that I would do it over the long weekend that we had. I told my husband that I was stopping the Cymbalta 60 mg, and discussed slowly going off as well; however, I didn't have any smaller doses, only the 60 mg capsules.

    We were there for several days over New Years and just returned tonight, 1/3/06. On New Years’ Day, the third day off of Cymbalta, I got up at about 10 AM and took my usual pills (minus the Cymbalta of course) and tried to eat some breakfast. I couldn’t finish breakfast. I began having diarrhea, and became so ill that I laid down on the sofa and just couldn’t make myself get up. Most of the day, I just slept. Every inch of my body had pain. I couldn’t even move my fingers, especially on my right hand, after lying down and sleeping. My bones ached, my muscles ached, and my head ached. In all of my flares, I had never hurt so much that I couldn't move like this particular day.

    The next day, I decided to take Cymbalta fearing that the pain happened because of not taking it. It’s now been two days since I resumed the Cymbalta and I haven’t had the pain that I experienced over New Years’ Day.

    Normally, I take pain pretty well. When I had my children, most of the hospital staff were amazed at how I managed my labor and how I did not have to have pain medication. I work full-time with "usual" pain. My Ultracet and Neurontin generally “knock” the pain or take the edge off. I knew that the Cymbalta did hel, because when I started it, the seemingly constant migraine stopped.

    I’m wondering if I experienced withdrawal from Cymbalta, or just what the experience may have been. Have any of you ever had similar experiences stopping a SSRI medication?

    I'm going to bed now as I'm exhausted from the trip, but will check back in tomorrow.

  2. minimonkey

    minimonkey New Member

    Yes, Cymbalta and Effexor are both notorious for having terrible withdrawal symptoms -- just like what you are describing. Some of the other antidepressants do too, at least for some folks. I've read it is best to taper off very, very slowly, and even then it can be pretty awful...
  3. suzetal

    suzetal New Member

    I stopped .I did not have any diarrhea but I did have lots of pain.I was off it for 1 week.

    I called my neurologist. and asked her if I could up my nuontrin .She asked me why I told her I had stopped taking the cymbalta ( it was my shrink who prescribed it not her ).Why did you do that.Her words cymbalta and the nuontrin work together for your pain.

    I was very jittery and crying allot also when off it.

    Well I'm back on it and my pain is still here 24/7 but not ever as bad as it was without it.So for now I'm staying on that combo to help with my pain.Without it I can not function.

  4. tonakay

    tonakay New Member

    Decided it wasn't going anything and quit it cold turkey since like you I had only 60 mg. capsules. I didn't have any withdrawal other than one bad nightmare that hubby said I screamed once. Glad I'm off it. After all that I read someone else that went off it opened their capsules and kept dumping some out to wean theirself off....

    Good luck!
  5. AC77

    AC77 New Member

    Hi, I used to come to the boards often here, about 3 years ago. But have stopped. My problem isn't so much FMS but CFS. I do get pain but don't feel right posting here because my pain is only minor compared to most others and is mostly in my back, neck and sometimes my legs.

    I recently, (4 1/2 weeks ago started) Cymbalta. I am not up to 60mgs. I also take tramdol/ultram, which for me has the worst withdrawls--much worse than Effexor.

    I will tell you the combo of Cymbalta and Tramdol has helped my pain by about 20%, especially pain upon awakening. I hear many times that either Cymbalta works well or doesnt work at all. But it never works 100% well. (Then again nothing ususally does)

    I know Cheney's articles well. I tend to agree with much of what he says but feel some of it is a lot of black and white thinking. That klonopin is all good and SSRIs are All bad.... I don't buy that logically and am well studied in this area. Prozac and SSRI's, have been out since 1987. That's almost 20 years. Some people have had long term side-effects from it, especially at high doses, others have not. This goes for many meds, including antibiotics like doxycycline and blood pressures meds, like Inderal. (Both of which are excellent medications)

    I agree SSRIs and SSNRI's can be downright evil to be used only for pain disorders instead of real pain medications. BUT if you, like me have Very severe depression AND pain and CFS, then there are no other choices! You may need an antidepressant.

    See, I am writing this article to you after years of being too depressed to get out of bed in the morning, but because of Cymblata, I think I am slowly getting my mind and state of well-being back. (I think that's why.)

    It hasn't been a miracle. The side-effects suck but to be honest with you, after much soul searching and praying, I feel that even if this drug were to reduce my life by 20 years, I would take something that makes me feel better during that time, than something that might be safer but doesn't doesn't improve my quality of life.

    Like I said, I dont know what your diagnosis are but if you are depressed and in pain and Cymbalta or any other antidepresant works, here's my personal opinion on what to do. Please only take it as unprofessional advice from personal experience and much reading and lots and lots of research:

    1) Cymbalta comes in: 20, 30 and 20mgs caps. You can make a dose that is the lowest but still gives you the relief you need. Some people do well on 40mgs, some on 60, some on 120mgs. In theory, the lower the dose, the safer ANY drug is of course. Only use the dose that works, never over-or undershoot a dose because a package insert says otherwise. (unless the dose isn't approved or your dr doesn't agree)

    2) Cymblata DOES have withdrawl symptoms, just like Paxil, Ultram, and Effexor. Don 't (as you know) ever decide to stop taking it, like you might Tylenol; it's a serious drug for a serious problem(s). Even with other meds such as beta-blockes for High Blood Pressure, you can't just stop, you need to be weaned. Don't confuse the bodys adjustment to a medication as habituation.

    3) If you decide you want to come off this med, do so slow. Over a 3 or 4 weeks. Get the 20mgs caps, some Benadryl and Klonopin if you can. You may also need #5 or so 10mgs tablets of Prozac. I will tell you why in a second.

    reduce your dose by 10 mgs (sprinkle about 1/2 the 20mg cap out) and go from 60, to 50 for 3-4 days, then 50 to 40 for about 5 days, then keep doing this until you reach 20mgs. Stay at 20mgs for at least a week. Further reduce to 10mgs and 5mgs/ stay at the 10 to 5mgs dose for 7 days or so.

    You will maybe get some withdrawl, when and if you get the withdrawl symptoms, take the smallest does of Klonopin you can to reduce any jitters or anxiety and the Benadryl for sleep. In very small doses 12.5mgs (don;t drive on it) it often helps the withdrawl states of these meds, even during the day. Most people take about 25 to 50mgs at night for sleep.

    If after this time you are ready to totally stop, ask your doctor to replace the cymbalta with Prozac for 3 to 5 days. Be warned Prozac has many side effects too but you will only be on it a short time. I would take 10mgs a day WITH FOOD for the 3 to 5 days, then stop! The prozac stays in your system then for about 3 weeks--it's metabolites. This helps reducem in many people the withdrawl symptoms of other antidepressants with shorter half lives, like cymblata and effexor and paxil.

    Hopefully, by this point your body will be over the withdrawl state from the Cymbalta. This method is effective for the other antidepressants mentioned too.

  6. unbalanced

    unbalanced New Member

    Over the past 5 years I have been on just about all anti-depressants imaginable. I had pretty bad side effects from Prozac, sweating so bad that I was embarassed to go out in public, even extreme sweating during the winter months. Elavil, Celexa, Wellbutrin, etc.,had no effect what-so-ever, I had no relief from my pain,or depression.Last year I was going to a counselor, she had me talk to the Psychiatrist so I could get a med that would help with the depression AND Chronic Pain. She prescribed Cymbalta, this drug was still a bit new, but I wanted relief from all of my symptoms so I agreed, even though I had not done any research on this drug. During the first 30-40 days of using Cymbalta, I had nausea pretty bad, some days I felt very tired, some I had an unusual amount of energy. I kept taking it, & now I have noticed I do not have such horrible aches in my legs, back, neck, my muscles don't seem to be so sore & tired, personnaly this drug has been such a blessing!! Anyone who tells me they are taking Cymbalta & don't care for it because of the side effects, I tell them to KEEP TAKING it!! The side effects do go away!! I no longer have the nausea, that went away after the first 30-40 days. I am a huge fan of Cymbalta!!! Yesterday I went to see my doc at the pain clinic, he shared with me that he has had 17 surgeries on different areas, some areas he has had 2-3 surgeries, I was telling him what a difference I have noticed in myself emotionaly & physically since I have been on Cymbalta, He told me that he too takes Cymbalta, & agrees this drug has been a blessing to alot of people with depression/chronic pain issues. He had said that he cannot take narcotic pain meds because of his job, he is a Pain Specialist so narcotics are a big NO-NO!! He said the Cymbalta has improved his pain & depression ( anyone with chronic pain experiences some sort of depression). Now, considering he is a specialist in pain, has chronic pain just like the people he cares for, & he is taking Cymbalta, I'd say that is the best person to say "Cymbalta works"!!! You must MAKE youself get past the side effects, this IS a drug that is effective in treating pain & depression. It is clear that you too were getting relief from Cymbalta, & yes you will go through withdrawals if you suddenly stop this med. My advice to you is to continue taking it, it really does work!! I understand that not all people are able to take the same things, but from what I have heard & read the biggest complaint about Cymbalta is the side effects, they do go away!! Keep that in mind, it isn't like the others where they never go away. I hope everyone who is taking, considering taking/stopping, Cymbalta gives it a chance, do not read too much into what people say negative about it. If we all did that, some people wouldn;t even take a Tylenol because of different reactions people have had to that!! I wish all the best luck to you, & everyone else!! KEEP TAKING THE CYMBALTA!!!!! Years ago people were saying this is a Prozac Nation!! Not anymore, It's a Cymbalta Nation!!! I love it!!!!!!!!
  7. angeljoe

    angeljoe New Member

    I've taken Cymbalta for over a year and boy oh boy. I ran out of it on vacation and my life changed for the worse. I didn't appreciate the Medication until I didn't have any for a week.
    I have gained weight on the Cymbalta (15lbs so far) but I can't live without it right now.
  8. jaltair

    jaltair New Member

    Thanks minimonkey, Sue, msmoody, tonakay, and ac77 for all the input!

    ac77, I remember you back when I started using the Board.

    If what I had was withdrawal, I never want to have it again! Tonakay, I may take your suggestion about dividing the medication in the caps to wean off. Then again, like ac77, if the medication has good benefit, I'm hesitant to wean off!

    ac77, I have FMS/CFS/Nerve impingement from osteoarthritis, and probably lupus. The Cymbalta is for help with he pain that I have. Before taking Cymbalta, I was on Celexa. I had to lower the doses of Celexa before beginning Cymbalta and then increase Cymbalta on up to the 60 mgs.

    Right now, I'm just tired . . it's so hard to think about what to do sometimes. My brain feels like its on overload, and I'd like to just sleep. The pain that's always there is not too bad today.

    Again, thanks everyone. Good comments to think about. I'll let you know how I decide or what I decide to do with the Cymbalta. I really appreciate everyone's help.

    Warm hugs to you all, Jeannette
  9. dononagin

    dononagin New Member

    I guess I won't be cold turkeying from mind! Sooo.. How's the flood waters on your side of the valley?? Starting to dry up over here but still a few roads closed..
  10. jaltair

    jaltair New Member

    It must have been one furious storm here! We got home from Utah and found that our awning had a rip and other things kinda "moved around" somewhat. Today, some of my co-workers told me that there had been near tornados here, and I believe it! However, in Porterville, there was no damage that I could find out about reported from the wind. Just broken limbs, etc.

    Good to know that you've survived the New Year weather out your way! Take care and stay dry and warm ..

    Love, Jeannette
  11. dunnlb

    dunnlb New Member

    Antidepressants are not new. They have been around since the 50's and have helped many people. The newer ones have been around since the early 90's.

    I don't know what I would do without them. I take Cymbalta for severe anxiety and pain. I started it on the day it became available in my area. I wouldn't think of going without it.

    For the one waiting on insurance: generic Cymbalta is available online from Pharmacy Geoff. It is under "generics." It is just about the same price as my co-payment. I can't tell the difference in what they sell and the real stuff. I do get a prescription from a doctor but keep some extras on hand in case my prescription runs out.

  12. Connie3

    Connie3 New Member

    I tapered off cymbalta by taking 30mg. for quite a while, then pouring half the capsule granules out, putting the capsule back together and swallowing. I did this for about 2 weeks. Today is the 12th day to be completely off. The first 3 days were the worst with the brain zaps and swishing feeling and sound when moving eyes. Each day has gotten better.

    The cymbalta helped a great deal the first 3-4 months, then I started feeling just as badly with it...so I decided to quit. I tried getting off several times, but the half 30mg. capsule was the only thing that worked.

    Hang in there! I am now off antidepressants for the fist time in 15 years.

  13. dononagin

    dononagin New Member

    That's right! I forgot you missed all the action! There were tornado warnings in Lemoore as well. The wind got pretty bad. Our awning tore lose on one side and we lost a few shingles on the roof..
    Rained for like 16 hours straight with no breaks! It's beautiful today though and the roads are mostly re-opened. I hear the north entry to Huron will be closed for about a month! The feed lot is one big mudd puddle.. Yipes! You should see Joe's car!
    Hope you got some rest..

  14. 1sweetie

    1sweetie New Member

    I thought Cymbalta was great when I started it in Jan. 05. The Lexapro was starting to make me think strange thoughts. It did not help with pain. Several months ago I began crying for nearly no reason. I was on 60 mg. I found that the days that I forgot to take the medicine first thing in the morning, I was getting very emotional & at times suicidal. It frightned me that forgetting a med for a few hours could make you feel this way. I dropped it to 30 mg and would still have the same response. I began taking Sam-E a & Rhodila 1 week ago & was hoping to get off of it this way. These supplements seem to be helping with my mood. I am glad to get the info off this thread about getting off the Cymbalta. I will start dumping part of the 30mg tablet. I can't wait to get it out of my body!
  15. jaltair

    jaltair New Member

    All of the information was really helpful.

    I think aside from what I read about keeping the serotonin from being taken up and the extra serotonin helping to, in essence, "fry the brain," I am also just plain tired from taking all the medications that I'm on and want to eliminate some so that when I'm not working and not covered by the insurance, my costs for getting really needed medication won't be exorbant! Right now with the number of meds I'm on as well as my husband, we pay $175 / mo in co-pays. Imagine what the costs will be without the insurance? And, neither of us will be eligible for Medicare benefits for about 4 or 5 years when we leave our jobs. I'm now off the estrogen medication; no symptoms different from what I've been experiencing.

    I think that I'll estimate and take out 1/2 of the medication from the caps for 2 weeks, then go down further. That way I will be "tapering" off.

    Still, I'm not convinced that the symptoms last weekend were actual withdrawal. I didn't experience any mood shifts or uneasiness that I understand accompanies withdrawal. Not sure what happened that day to my body to have me so totally down!

    Again, thanks for all the ideas, I really appreciate the help!

    L, Jeannette
  16. upsidedown

    upsidedown New Member

    I am in day 5 of Cymbalta withdrawl.

    I will never ever go on any of these "non-addictive" pills again. THESE MEDS ARE ADDICTIVE!!!!!!! It is pure hell going off of this stuff. Give me the good old "addictive" pills over this crap any day. These new drugs are worse than the old, in my humble opinion. They are physically addictive.

    The part that makes me angry is the doctors are so uninformed about the danger of these meds. Or, do they just chose to hide their heads in the sand?

    The doctor sent me to the er yesterday because my withdrawal symptoms mimicked a heart attack. I can talk until I'm blue in the face, and it's like talking to a wall with this medical community. I keep saying, "It's Cymbalta withdrawal." Talk about denial. I am so very mad right now. (I knew it was Cymbalta withdrawal is because I tried going off of Cymbalta twice during 2005, and I had the same symptoms. I gave in and went back on the Cymbalta.)

    I experienced the same thing back in the 70s with Restless Leg Syndrome. I'd go to the doctor and they all wanted me to have pain or cramps. I'd say no, it's not pain and it's not cramps.

    They take me and try to make me fit into the criteria set out for them from their books.

    No, doctor, I'm not having a heart attack. No, doctor, I'm not crazy. This zapping in my head is part of Cymbalta withdrawl.

    Zapping in your head. We don't understand what you are talking about, therefore, we pronounce you crazy.

    Why doesn't the medical community hear me????????

    Forgive me my tangent.

    Yes, jaltair, that is Cymbalta withdrawl. I have made up my mind that I am going to sweat it out (literally.) The pain bordered on excruciating all over my body. I slept on the floor last night to relieve my lower back pain. Of course, it didn't help the rest of my body.

    I did fit the criteria for a heart attack. Although, all the tests said no heart attack.

    For a list of withdrawl symptoms, check out yahoo groups: http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/cymbalta/message/613

    My question is how long is this going to last. The pain has disappated, but the brain zaps are making me incapable of doing anything. I'm afraid to leave the safety of my home.

    This is to you, Eli Lilly u'u
    <br>[<i>This Message was Edited on 01/05/2006</i>]
    <br>[<i>This Message was Edited on 01/05/2006</i>]
  17. LonelyHearts

    LonelyHearts New Member

  18. rickj44

    rickj44 Member

    I thought i would Die getting off Effexor.. i ended up taking it apart , and thats the only way i got off.. Now i am on Cymbalta and i feel its helping , i will stay on it but if i ever need to get off i will do the same thing...&lt;BR&gt;
    You had Withdrawl for sure.. u should have went down too 30 mgs , and and then maybe try one every other day..and so on.&lt;BR&gt;
  19. rickj44

    rickj44 Member

    Aussiewomen, i live in Ontario also, and i agree, you just cant go to a new Dr and ask for stimulants, thats when there red flag goes up. Also seeing a new Dr they will first ask you about your last Dr so they can have your files sent too them. But also, not that easy in Ontario to get a new Doctor.&lt;BR&gt;