A bottle of generic delayed-release Duloxetine (Cymbalta) 30 mg

Cymbalta was originally approved by the FDA in 2004 for the treatment of major depression. It is officially an SNRI-type antidepressant. In doctorspeak that means it is a serotonin-norepinehprine reuptake inhibitor and is somewhat similar to other antidepressants such as Effexor (venlafaxine) and Pristiq (desvenlafaxine).

The FDA also approved Cymbalta to treat nerve pain associated with diabetes in 2004. In 2007 the drug got a green light for anxiety and in 2008 the FDA agreed that it could ease the discomfort associated with fibromyalgia. It was also approved to treat musculoskeletal pain associated with arthritis and lower back pain in 2010. In other words, here was a drug that could relieve your blues and your aches and pains. And the drug company that makes Cymbalta (Lilly) has been aggressively marketing it as a good way to deal with chronic low back pain and osteoarthritis. Perhaps you have seen the commercials on TV promoting the pain relieving power of the drug with the slogan “Cymbalta can help.” It sounds almost too good to be true.

Ah…and there is the rub. Although there is a long list of serious side effects mentioned during the commercial, the video images seem quite reassuring and trump the scary message the FDA requires for this medication. So, let’s set the record straight. Here, without visual interference, are a list of potential complications associated with this medication.

Cymbalta (Duloxetine) Side Effects

  • Nausea, stomach pain, constipation, diarrhea, decreased appetite, vomiting
  • Dry mouth
  • Insomnia, anxiety, tremor
  • Dizziness, fatigue, sleepiness
  • Sweating, hot flashes
  • Blurred vision
  • Headache
  • Sexual dysfunction, lowered libido, erection difficulties, lack of orgasm
  • Liver damage
  • Serious skin reactions, rash, hives (requires immediate MD assistance!)
  • Glaucoma
  • Irregular heart rhythms
  • Bleeding problems
  • Blood pressure problems
  • Interaction with other drugs (leading to serotonin syndrome among other reactions)
  • Pneumonia
  • Seizures
  • Depressed mood, suicidal thoughts and behavior, suicide

Such a long list of side effects makes your eyes glaze over after the top 3 or 4. That is why we have included stories from real people so you can better understand what these complications feel like.

Even though such side effects are scary, there is another problem with Cymbalta. When people try to stop taking this drug they frequently report unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. An organization (QuarterWatch) that monitors the FDA’s database of serious adverse drug events has noted that:

“We observed a signal for serious drug withdrawal symptoms associated with duloxetine (CYMBALTA), a widely used antidepressant that is also approved to treat arthritis and back pain, anxiety, and fibromyalgia. In the first quarter of 2012 the FDA received 48 case reports of drug withdrawal identifying duloxetine as the suspect drug. They described a wide spectrum of withdrawal effects that began when the patients stopped the drug, including blackouts, suicidal thoughts, tremor, and nausea. Several cases involved hospitalization.

Probing deeper into the scientific record for duloxetine we found that withdrawal symptoms were reported in 44-50% of patients abruptly discontinuing duloxetine at the end of clinical studies for depression, and more than half of this total did not resolve within a week or two. In addition, we identified a serious breakdown at both the FDA and the manufacturer, Eli Lilly and Company, in providing adequate warnings and instructions about how to manage this common adverse effect.”

Doctors have taken to calling this “discontinuation syndrome.” These clinical words do not do justice to what it is like to stop antidepressants like Cymbalta, Effexor (venlafaxine), Paxil (paroxetine), Pristiq (desvenlafaxine) or Zoloft (sertraline) suddenly.

Sudden Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Brain “Zaps” (electric shock-like senstations in the brain)
  • Dizziness, light-headedness, vertigo, feeling faint
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety, irritability, hostility
  • Nausea, diarrhea, digestive upset
  • Tremor, hands shaking, nerve tingles, strange sensations
  • Fatigue, tiredness, lack of energy
  • Visual disturbances

Again, a list of symptoms does not do this problem justice. Below you will read some stories from people who have posted their comments to this website. We would love to hear your story, positive or negative. Share your experience with Cymbalta or any other antidepressant below.

Should you wish to learn more about dealing with depression through some other strategies, we offer our Guide to Dealing with Depression. You will also find a whole chapter on prescribing mistakes doctors make when treating depression and fibromyalgia in our book, Top Screwups Doctors Make and How to Avoid Them.

Cymbalta Withdrawal Stories from Readers

“My lovely, young daughter-in law, who was about to celebrate her 29th birthday, was prescribed Cymbalta, Klonopin, and Ambien and has committed suicide.

“She told her physician and her therapist that she’d had thoughts of suicide but no one took her seriously. She suffered from depression, as well as an eating disorder, and had very low body weight. She also used alcohol.

“Please remind your readers of the potentially disastrous effects these chemicals can cause when taken carelessly or in combination with alcohol.”
– D.G.

“I have been on Prozac over the last 20 years off and on and it finally stopped working. The last time I took it about 2 years ago I was taking the generic from Barr – the blue and white capsule. I was feeling as if I were in the deepest dark hole there ever was.

“My doctor put me on Cymbalta from which I had a lot of side effects such as palpitations, feeling constant dread, panic attacks, sweats, lightheadedness and general feeling of not being well.

“She added Abilify which put me over the edge. I was in the worst depression I have ever been in. Finally after living like this for several months, I asked to be put back on Prozac. I was taking the generic from Sandoz. When the prescription ran out I ended up on the big blue and white capsules from Barr.

“Over the last couple of weeks it has been constant crying spells, arguing with everyone and feeling pretty low. I talked to my doctor and she wrote the prescription for Sandoz only generic. The blue and white capsules are like taking a placebo. My doctor said she had had other patients who complained of the same thing and she had to write prescriptions for a certain generic or name brand.”

– P.J.

“I took Cymbalta for 3 days and thought I’d go nuts. I’m off it now and refuse to try any other drug like this. My main complaint was extreme hot flashes that estrogen wouldn’t help. I thought I’d be given Prozac, but was given Cymbalta instead. It was a rough 3 days and I stopped it last night. I am extremely tired yet cannot sleep at night. I think I was sweating even worse and my legs started feeling like I had Lyme disease again. And to be honest, within those 3 days of taking it, I didn’t contemplate suicide, but I had this crappy attitude of “who would care?”

– R.P.

“It took me 18 months to get off Cymbalta, with no doctor’s help. I can hardly believe that doctors have no exit strategy for this dangerous drug. I had to find this out on my own from reading and as soon as I weaned off that – about a month, the tinnitus that had occurred decreased almost completely. No doctor told me this.”
– Nancy

“My daughter experienced severe side effects when trying to come off Cymbalta – she had nausea, vomiting, lost peripheral vision for 24-48 hours, had shaking, etc. This was while she was doing a clinical in a hospital for college. Had she known she would have stayed on it until after clinical. I called the manufacturer and they acted like there were no such side effects from withdrawal.

“She too took apart the capsules and it took awhile, but finally she is free from that drug. I think it is a crime that the manufacturers don’t publish more detailed information concerning withdrawal. They could even make money selling a one month or two month step down prescription so individuals aren’t taking the capsules apart themselves.”
– J.K.

“I just turned 52 today. I went on a very low dose of Zoloft about 8 years ago to treat generalized anxiety disorder. It really did help for a long time. I recently have been pretty depressed (however I can cover it up really well) and my psychiatrist switched me to Effexor which was terrible for me. Now I’m trying Cymbalta which has not done anything either except make me feel more anxious and headachy and weird.”

“I am a registered nurse and I do not understand what the long term effects of these meds are and I am concerned. I really want to get off and see what I can do naturally for myself.”
– P.C.

“Getting off Cymbalta is challenging but not impossible. I, too, experienced the light-headedness, dizziness, and “brain zaps.” I described it as being able to “hear my eyes move.” It sounded like the light sabers on Star Wars. Very strange and disconcerting.

“The key is to do it very very slowly. Take the capsules apart and begin by removing 5 or 10 of the tiny balls inside. Do this for a week or so, then slowly increase the amount you remove each week or two as you can tolerate it.

“Your doctor will probably be no help at all. Mine wasn’t. He instructed me to wean off over a two to three week period and I almost lost my mind. I did it myself over about a YEAR or more. Be patient. I am completely off now and feeling GOOD.”
– K.T.

“I took Cymbalta for fibromyalgia and have just stopped taking it because of acute liver and GI pain- yes, pain! My liver poured bile into my gut and protested loudly! Cymbalta worked great on the fibromyalgia, but I had to stop.

“I agree that doctors don’t always realize how prescription drugs can alter your life so we must continue to advocate for ourselves.”
– V.C.

“I was prescribed Cymbalta ‘off-label’ to manage fibromyalgia pain When I stopped taking it because it wasn’t delivering on the promised effect of reducing my pain, I became so horribly depressed that I required hospitalization as I had become SUICIDAL!

“I will NEVER take another anti-depressant for an off-label purpose….such as Elavil/amitriptyline as a “sleep aid” which is very commonly prescribed.

“I believe it should be criminal to prescribe ANY drug for a purpose other than the one it was approved to treat.”
– Karen

“I’m a 76 year old man, my libido was very low. Taking Cymbalta for peripheral neuropathy added ED as a side affect of the drug. I had a testosterone blood test; it was 1/3 what the minimum should be. So I’m taking Androgel to raise testosterone levels and it is magic. I have great libido now and am working on minimizing the Cymbalta pills. In the meantime I have been prescribed Cialis for the ED. Each pill solves the sex problem for a couple of days.”
– R.H.

“I have the exact symptoms as everyone else and it’s been a week. I only took Cymbalta for 2 months, but the side effects from stopping it are horrible. My doctor didn’t, nor did anyone else tell me, about any side effects and I did read the insert. Most of the time the listed side effects of meds don’t bother me, so I figured no problem.

“From reading other posts on this website and on other sites, the drug seems to affect every person the same way. I would never have taken it for my neck pain if I had known about the likelihood of side effects. The worst part for me is the dizziness, the brain zings and the sudden burst of tears for no reason. I would never take this drug again. I think the FDA needs to do longer studies on all drugs and be honest with their findings and that doctors should be honest and tell their patients what really happens when you take Cymbalta.”
– M.O.

Please add your own experience below in the comment section.

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  1. Stacy

    Thanks to my insurance company, and their pre-authorization rules, my husband has been without his Cymbalta for 3 days now having brain zaps, headaches, high anxiety, crying spells, etc, all of the side effects listed from stopping this medicine suddenly. He fell out of a chair today in class. Doc’s office is closed today so no follow-up to insurance company until tomorrow, I have to pick up 5 pills for over $50 just to try to get him back on it until the authorization comes through. Thanks healthcare/insurance industry for nothing.

  2. Tiffany

    I ran out of my cymbalta 7 days ago. I thought oh well, I’ll get it refilled tomorrow. I began having a variety of symptoms that are listed here but also, many of them are symptoms I struggle with from time to time due to a year-old brain injury. Realizing I have not had a stretch of symptoms this bad for so long, I started questioning the cymbalta withdraw.

    When I had gone several days without it (and had not refilled because I felt too horrible to leave the house) I thought “well I am not feeling depressed so maybe I can try going off of it”. Now, after reading this, I am wondering, do I go back on and then wean off? Or just stick out the awful nausea, spinning and so on?


  3. Jen

    I have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia for over 15 years and the pain just kept on getting worse. I have tried all the approved drugs for Fibro, however they never worked for any great length of time. I finally went to a “pain” doctor who doubled my meds and took me off of trazadone which I had been on for 15 years and switched me to Ambien.. He then added antiinflammatories on top of the others. In two days I had a swollen tongue, a rash all over, horrible pain and got no sleep.

    I didn’t know if it was a singular drug I was on or a reaction to the other drugs and as a last resort due to frustration of poor medical follow up, I began a washout of all meds. I also found a group of doctors who are very hands on.

    It has now been over four months. The withdrawal has been horrendous. The cymbalta has been the worse. I have had massive hot and cold flashes, not hormone related, and extreme vertigo. Both side effects are tapering off now.

    I finally have a base line for the new doctors to work from. Guess what? My fibromyalgia pain is GONE! I am so proud of myself for having the guts to do a washout and for the first time in many years I have a positive outlook on the future. For those of us who have been in the pits suffering day after day, taking pill after pill – perhaps under a doctors supervision this might be worth a try.

  4. Amy D.

    I have been on 60 mg daily for 8 years. I credit cymbalta with saving my life. I suffered from severe panic disorder, depression, agoraphobia, and chronic pain. After trying Lexapro and Paxil with no relief, Cymbalta finally worked and I have been living very comfortably for the past eight years. Until the generic came out and my insurance made me switch.

    Even though the doctor and pharmacist assured me they were identical, I found myself right back to where I was 8 years ago- crying uncontrollably, irritable, afraid to leave the house, panic attacks several times a day, and an over feeling of dread. After 3 weeks of trying to make it work, I had to go back to Cymbalta. So thankful that I did, as the generic was horrible. While I’ve never suffered withdrawal symptoms from the Cymbalta, I have not experienced any side effects other than decreased libido. It’s terrible that it doesn’t work the same for everyone the way it has for me. But I will forever be thankful for Cymbalta.

  5. Nancy
    North Carolina

    I took Prozac off and on for at least 15 years for depression, but eventually, about 10 years ago, I found that it was leaving me emotionally numb, as in I didn’t cry when one of my oldest and dearest friends passed away unexpectedly. I went to a new psychiatrist who prescribed Cymbalta, a very new drug at the time, and it really did work for me with a minimum of side effects. As a side benefit, it seemed to alleviate some of my arthritis pain. Over the years, my dose has been as high as 120 mg/day, but had been at 60 mg/day for the last several years, until 6 months ago when my GP, who was my prescriber by this time, dropped my dosage to 30/mg day. Two weeks ago, my prescription ran out, and I thought since I was taking such a low dose that I could just quit. My doctor had suggested that the intense sweating I have experienced for years now might be related to the Cymbalta, and I was hoping to maybe have more energy. Bad plan. Very bad plan. Within a few days, I began having digestive issues, sleep disturbances (I’m awake every two hours, but still have sudden intense drowsiness during the day), clumsiness, brain fog, hot flashes alternating with chills, jitteriness, and worst of all, horrible rage and growing depression. Today is Sunday, and tomorrow I’m going to call my doctor’s office. Don’t know whether, since I’ve already been off for a couple of weeks, I should just ride it out, or need to get back on and taper. I guess it is time to consult a professional.

  6. Aaron
    United States

    I have been on 60 mg of Cymbalta for 18 months. I have been slowly transitioning off it for the last few weeks. On 30 mg daily for the last 3 weeks. I’ve been dizzy the whole time. I had 1 episode of extreme panic, which I was able to control through my meditation practices. Today is my 1st day on 0 mg. The dizziness is bad, severe, even. And I hope it goes away soon. I’ve been on many antidepressants over the years. Cymbalta, without a doubt, has the worst withdrawal side effects. For me, anyway.

  7. Susie
    Pensacola FL

    I have been taking Cymbalta for at least the past 6 years. When I started on it I thought it was a miracle drug, it helped me that much. However my insurance insisted that I switch to the generic, which I did. After taking that for this past year I knew I had to get off this medication. I am diabetic with high B/P and have developed NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease). My liver is quite tender all the time now and the Doc wants me to have a CT scan of it with contrast. I have developed gastrointestinal problems and had to have my gallbladder out in 2011. My withdrawal symptoms leans towards the extreme dizzy side with visual problems and snaps of something in my brain. It feels as though it is actually pulsing at the base of my brain, and my emotions are right on the surface.

    Today I have been crying, all day. I haven’t been in touch with my emotions in so long it feels like an overflow of something that has been dammed up for a long time. I will simply persevere through this and will not do the reduction thing. I am retired and can afford to just stay home and wallow if I want. I do have support around me and will consult my Doc if things get too bad but I have to say that crying has been soooooo damn relieving for me I think it might be a good way for me to cope. Wish me luck.

  8. Susie
    Pensacola FL

    I have been taking Cymbalta for at least the past 6 years. When I started on it I thought it was a miracle drug it helped me that much. However my insurance insisted that I switch to the generic which I did. After taking that for this past year I know I had to get off this medication. I am diabetic with high B/P and have developed NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease). My liver is quite tender all the time now and the Doc wants me to have a CT scan of it with contrast. I have developed gastrointestinal problems and had to have my gall bladder out in 2011. My withdrawal symptoms leans towards the extreme dizzy side with visual problems and snaps of something in my brain. It feels as though it is actually pulsing at the base in the back and my emotions are right on the surface. Today I have been crying, all day. I haven’t been in touch with my emotions in so long it feels like an overflow of something that has been damned up for a long time. I will simply preserver through this and will not do the reduction thing. I am retired and can afford to just stay home and wallow if I want. I do have support around me and will consult my Doc if things get too bad but I have to say that crying has been so relieving for me I think it might be a good way for me to cope. Wish me luck.

  9. TD

    I’d been taking Cymbalta 60mg daily for the last 2 years, and while it did greatly reduce my fibro symptoms, I have been gaining weight steadily since starting to take it. My rheumatologist said weight gain is not a side effect of Cymbalta, to stay on it. He even wanted in increase it! I’ve been trying to wean off for 2 weeks now, to see if I can lose the weight. I went from 60mg daily down to 30mg every other day. The withdrawal is horrible & its so bad today I can’t even leave the house. Severe nausea, shaking, migraine, dizziness & emotional upheaval. I just spent 2 hours in bed crying for no apparent reason. After reading on here that it could take months to get it out of my system, I’m seriously thinking of just going back on it. I can’t imagine feeling this way for the next few weeks or months, it’s consuming my daily activities.

  10. Meagan
    Euless TX

    I’ve taken cymbalta for about 5 months now and have no choice but to quit cold turkey. I’ve felt like I’ve had a rubber band around my brain,anxiety,my vision has deteriorated. I have literally felt like I could feel my hair growing. My husband would just drop something and I would almost jump out of my skin.

  11. May
    West Virginia

    I stopped taking cymbalta in December after taking it for approx. a year for fibromyalgia, a result from u diagnosed lymes disease. It did help with the pain, numbness, etc. That I was feeling. However, I stopped taking it the during the holidays.

    I have experienced cold like symptoms, lightheadedness, brain zaps and lack of energy. Went to urgent care and was diagnosed with BVVP (vertigo). I believe I am just suffering from withdrawals of he Cymbalta. I may truly have bronchitis as I get that this time of year every year, but firmly believe that the brain zaps and vertigo feeling is from the cymbalta withdrawal. Hope and pray that I am through the worst. I can’t get to sleep at night or stay asleep. Night sweats are a constant nightly ritual.

  12. Jesse S.
    Wichita, KS

    I’ve been taking cymbalta 120mg per day for several years. My insurance changed over the holidays and not only did I run out but my new insurance company did not approve 120mg a day so I haven’t had a chance to go see the doctor, so I’ve been off cymbalta for about 6-7 days now. I feel like crap, my vision has been greatly affected, I am so dizzy and lightheaded that I fear that I’ll fall down at any time, very suicidal thoughts and I am very volatile. I have been in a very bad mood now for several days and I feel like I’m ready to explode. I work for a Law Firm and I was explaining to my supervisor what had happen and she instructed me to just work on files and not to take any calls. What do I do, I make a call and the next thing I know I’m being less than professional to the person who answered the phone. I did tell my supervisor this and I’m getting ready to go to my doctors office to get some kind of help. I’m praying that I can avoid any type of road rage because I feel I’m about as close to out of control than I’ve ever been.

  13. MS

    I been on Cymbalta for 7 months for fibro and depression … It did help my depression but not with fibro …and I have been put down to 30 mg instead of 60 mg …I have put on 35 pounds and I am a very active person and eat well , so I am the 1% who gains…I am not weening off it 1 every 2 days but end of the second day I feel like crap I am shaky and sick and diarrhea…I am irritable and just feeling like I been on a roller coaster for hours ..I feel like crying because I feel so awful I cannot go out with my friends because I feel so bad….I and sleeping alot and just so lack of energy ..THIS drug was so not worth going on….I am scared of the next few weeks of getting off it ..and this sick feeling it is just so not what I thought it was ..and had the doctor told me about withdrawals I would never had gone on it.

    • MS

      I should say I am weening myself off the drug .. 1 every 2 days

      • BA

        Hi, I weened myself off Cymbalta over a 2 month period starting last October. Which may have been to quick as I am now having another depressive period, at this stage I think I can mange it without drugs. I took advise from another writer which may help you. The drug needs to be taken twice every day and you need to open the capsules and gradually start removing the balls over a long period. I had no real side affects when I gave myself 2 months too stop. The Dr said it was alright to stop straight away as she thought 2 x 30mg each day was a small dose. Judging by the comments on here I am glad I went my own way. Good luck

  14. Veronica

    I have been on Cymbalta for about a year. I originally started taking it for anxiety and pain related to fibro, prior to finding out I really had Lyme disease. Cymbalta actually helps me tremendously with anxiety. I don’t think it has any bearing on my pain levels. However, every couple months my insurance company refuses to pay with out a pre authorization, and I get stuck without for a week or so.

    I can go one day with out a dose, but after 2 days, I am miserable and feel like i’m dying. I get vertigo like symptoms (which includes the weird zapping feeling that i feel like my eyes are focusing like a camera but with a sensation), extreme migraines and nausea and i’m very short tempered. I don’t feel suicidal or even depressed. Just easily irritated and very very sick. I’m positive it is from cymbalta because it happens every single time i miss doses 2 days in a row. Now I am purposely trying to wean off before trying to become pregnant… It is miserable and I don’t know how to get off of this. I’ve cut back to 30 mg every other day, but haven’t been able to go any lower than that with out being miserable. I came across this while searching for a way to make withdrawal manageable.

    • Jamie

      Veronica I so understand what you have been going through with insurance companies not covering cymbalta. I have been on antidepressants for years and after so long I have to change due to my body building up a tolerance. I went on cymbalta for about a year when I suddenly found out the day I went to pick up my refill that the cost was now 137.00 a month. I can’t afford 137.00 a month. So, I called my MD office to have the med changed. As it turns out my MD is out with the flu for a week and I was simply told that the other MD whom I have seen refuses to change the med until I’m seen by my main MD. I’m simply amazed at how patients are instructed on not to abruptly stop a medication yet won’t look at my chart to see the medications I have been on and simply order me one my insurance will approve. I even went as far as to take the MD a copy of my insurance forum so he could see what they approve. Nope, just washed his hands of it and went on. Well during this letter I have been writing I got a call from my MD office stating that I’m being called in some Prozac which I have taken in the past. The mg is much lower than what my body is use to but it will have to do until my MD comes back. Perhaps my headache, nervousness and irritability will start to ease up. Also my parents will have relief since I got very lightheaded last night while visiting them and then driving home. Veronica, it is very sad how insurance companies don’t stop and think about what they do to people when they abruptly stop covering a medication. Please be very careful with any antidepressants you take and perhaps even have a back up plan with your MD in the event you have issues like I did. Best of luck.

  15. Michele

    I was on Cymbalta for about two or three years I think. It was for depression initially. I found by using it that my pain level was reduced as well but didn’t know why at the time. It finally stopped working after a couple increases in dosage, so I stopped taking it. It took over a month to come off of it. I had horrible brain zaps and felt weird– almost like I wasn’t really “here” part of the time. I still had side effects even after I was off of it– mainly the ever present brain zaps which felt like I was hooked up to a low dose of electric fencing all day. A word of warning– do not take the pills apart. This could increase or worsen withdrawal symptoms. Rather spread the pills out over longer periods of time until you are off of them. Like every other day for a week or two and then further apart for a while until you can get by on one or so a week and finally none. The risk of taking them apart is not worth it as only the medical field/pharmaceutical field knows what each ball contains and how they are dispersed proportionately in the capsule.

  16. Teresa Cook

    It makes you absolutely feel like throwing something through the window. I had a really bad headache, shaky,
    cold and miserable. That was just stopping all of a sudden and it was the third or fourth day. So now if I run out I make sure it’s no longer than two at the most.

  17. L. K.
    United States

    I’ve been on 120 mg of Cymbalta for the last 3 years. I’ve run out before but always had it within a day or two. Well this time the stupid mail order pharmacy most of us are ENCOURAGED to use neglected to tell me that approval is required every Jan 1st because I take more than 2 a day. It works for my Peripheral Neuropathy very well as I myself have weaned off it a few times over the years just to see what would happen. I ended up in severe pain is what happened and I jumped right back on my 120 mg per day dosage.

    Well this time I’ve not had one for about 10 days, I’ve got the weirdest dizziness, I’ve never experienced this. And I am also very nauseous and cannot sleep. Assuming these are some of the withdrawal symptoms you are all talking about? I have severe GI problems, I am wondering now after reading all your blogs if cymbalta is the cause of this? The doctors sure can’t figure it out! I have diarrhea up to 20 times per day, if I eat anything, 10-15 minutes later I am in the bathroom. It’s ridiculous and I cannot live like this anymore, it’s been going on since last spring! I’d love to hear others comments on this, like I said, this is out of control, it needs to stop. I’d rather suffer the pain of the neuropathy (which is not a piece of cake by any means) than deal with this bathroom issue! Thanks for any input.

  18. Andrea
    United States

    I was running low on my cymbalta and called in for a refill. I was told at that time that the refill had expired. I immediately sent my husband to my doctors office fearing withdrawal. They would not fill it unless I had an appointment. I called and couldn’t get an appointment for a month. So here I am going through withdrawls and trying to stay focused on the fact that my emotional state is very fragile and to not verbally attack my family when they speak to me. But everything that everyone says either doesn’t make sense or you understand it as being rude or mean. I’m nauseous, yet hungrier than ever. I feel drunk or drugged though I don’t know what being drugged feels like. I have moments of clarity and then I’m in a fog without the ability to do basic math. I can’t sleep or I’m exhausted and can’t get enough sleep. I fear the brain zaps are just around the corner. I try to keep a reality check that keeps me away from the ‘nobody would care if I disappeared off the face of the earth’ suicidal thoughts. Sometimes I feel my brain can not make a connection with other parts of my body which causes them to not work. The visual disturbance is annoying. I was looking at a close up of a person’s face in a magazine and swore the eyes moved!I want to cry on and off randomly. All these things this drug makes me feel is disturbing. I’d rather have the chronic pain than this.
    I try to explain it to my spouse so he understands what I’m going through but the withdrawal makes me think ‘why bother he doesn’t care any way’. I can’t imagine or maybe I can imagine how many people take their lives feeling these withdrawal symptoms. It’s sad but I do understand why. It makes you want to jump out of your own skin just so you dont have to feel the weirdness that you feel.
    No medicine should make you feel worse after you take it or when you don’t. Bottom line, it should be illegal and not safe for consumption of any kind!

    • kelly
      united states

      Thank you for expressing what I cannot put words to. You nailed exactly what I am experiencing

  19. Debi
    Houston, TX, USA

    Hello Everyone. I have been taking Cymbalta (20mg/day) with Pamelor (5mg/day), right at bedtime. I take these for migraines. I truly believe that these meds kept my migraines in check (my migraines have stroke symptoms associated with the head pain, nausea, light and sound sensitivity, etc). I was prescribed both meds by my neurologist over a year ago. When I found out that my insurance would only cover a 3 month supply, I almost lost my mind! So, the alternative was mail order – I was now able to get a 3 month supply at one time, 4 times per year and the insurance covered a good portion of it. Well, for the past week, we have not been able to afford the almost $400 for the 3 month supply since I’ve lost my job at the end of Nov 2014 (it’s now Jan 2015), and my husband’s insurance isn’t the greatest.

    Anyhow, I just wanted to say that after reading the withdrawal side effects that most of you are having, really hit home and made me cry even more. I’ve been moody, and in so much pain. My husband asks why I am crying and I can only tell him, “I don’t know”. I am dizzy, nasueated, and my body hurts.

    Anyone have any ideas what I can do? I have been on Cymbalta for about 20 months and have not had the meds for just over a week now. I’m confused, crying, dizzy, sick to my stomach. Lucky for me, I am not suicidal (my heart breaks for those of you that have been, I wish you power to overcome that).

    Someone…offer some suggestions of what I can do. Please?? Thank you.

  20. Christel

    I myself have been on 90 mg of cymbalta for the last 7 years for back pain and for the help with my panic attacks I used to have. While on Cymbalta I found my pain was better and I never had another panic attack again . Just recently I switched insurance and my Cymbalta was denied. No problem I thought, I will call my doctor and we will get this fixed. Well needless to say I have been off Cymbalta for maybe 10 horrific days now. First day was fine but to just go from 90 mg to nothing because it was $400 plus a month to buy it was nuts. I have had shaking, insomnia, nightmares, moodiness, crying spells over everything and anything!! I am a crazy person my boyfriend says I have changed and my best friend won’t talk to me. I live in fear of having a panic attack and these damn withdrawals. I never was told when I first started this medication that I would have to be on it forever. I am a shell of the person I was before. I literally told my doctor on the 3rd phone call to her, “my brain isn’t working right help me”. My back is killing me and I just wonder how long this torture will continue.

  21. Donna
    upstate NY

    I got severe blistering around my lips, burning lips, peeling skin on in around the lips from taking cymbalta 30 milligram.I stopped the Med myself and I’m getting severe lightheadedness w severe hyperactivity but I must say the blistering and problems with my lips have stopped since I stopped taking it. The med did work great for my back pain my anxiety and depression.. not happy that I have to stop it because I’m allergic to it.

  22. RA

    Was on 20 mg for 4 weeks. Stopped cold due to no noticeable difference in low back pain. As well some sexual issues.
    Three days after stopping the brain zaps started, wow, not told by any doctor. I’ve tolerated them now for 5 days. Hoping they dissipate within a short period of time. Other than those, really no other complications. Seems the intensity of the zaps has decreased, but the number of them has not, about 100 a day.

    I guess I’m lucky to have only been on it for 30 days and at such a low dosage. I really feel sorry for the people on it for year(s) or higher doses. You have my respect.

    • Andrea

      I’ve been on 120 mgs for over a year. It’s killed my sex drive and the withdrawal is unfathomable. (In which I’m experiencing now.)
      Night sweats drive me crazy when I’m on it but it’s a double edge sword because it drives me crazy off of it also!

    • Teresa C.

      When you say brain zaps do you mean like a buzz, kinda like getting shocked going through your head for just a second? I have been doing that and was getting worried thinking I was going to have a stroke or something.

  23. Kristen

    I began taking cymbalta when I was diagnosed with moderate-severe fibromyalgia. It REALLY helped with my depressive mood and seemed to be helping with pain as well. I thought it was a miracle. After approx. a month on the drug, I began having severe digestive issues (nausea, diarrhea up to 12 times per day, abdominal pain). My weight was a roller coaster. My doctor told me it was not the Cymbalta because symptoms like that appear within the first few weeks of taking the drug. She was WRONG.

    I tried everything: all tests were performed and came back negative, I tried fodmaps diet, cut out lactose, drank more water, took the probiotic align religiously… Needless to say after three months of diarrhea I had had enough. I made my doctor take me off Cymbalta, suffered horrible withdrawal side effects for about three weeks (more diarrhea, headaches, widespread pain, mood swings and suicidal thoughts, electrical currents running through my arms, brain zaps when I moved my eyes to fast). I thought I had made a mistake, but was so relieved when all of my digestive issues subsided completely once I had been off the drug for a month. I am regular now and maintaining a healthy weight. Cymbalta is great in some regards, but I would not recommend this drug. It did more harm for me then it did good.

    If you are on the drug and your doctor tries to convince you that the side effects (especially diarrhea) you are experiencing are not from Cymbalta, stand your ground and get info on how to go off the drug safely. It was the best decision I ever made! I now manage my mood with 150mg of Wellbutrin and my pain with Tylenol or Advil.

  24. Kathleen

    I have been taking 60mg. of Cymbalta for fibromyalgia for many years. I considered it a miracle drug because it alleviates my pain by about 75%. As an added bonus, it also totally eliminated my constant, long standing PTSD and nightmares.

    Last year, Cymbalta went generic and all of my relief went down the drain on the generic. I told my doctor this and she didn’t believe me and assures me that the generic is identical. Well, I have gone from bad to worse for many months, and after reading this blog, I realize I have been suffering withdrawal from the Cymbalta.

    Last month I couldn’t stop crying and ended up in a psychiatric hospital for 8 days. They increased my generic Cymbalta by 50% and I am doing better, but not nearly as well as on the genuine Cymbalta. Apparently, once on this drug, you can never go off. Certainly, I could never tolerate the PTSD or horrific pain again, but I am having a hard time dealing with the itchiness, balance and vision problems, sweats and other symptoms that go along with withdrawal from the genuine drug.

    My doctor doesn’t think it makes sense and maybe it doesn’t, but she can’t deny that my anxiety level is through the roof now and it wasn’t while on the genuine Cymbalta, which the insurance won’t cover since it is now available as an almost worthless generic.

    • Deborah
      Santa rosa

      I was on Cymbalta 20 mg for 2 months when I decided I didn’t like it. So I stopped cold. After 3 days the nausea and vomiting started.. it’s been 4 days and I still can’t keep anything down. I do have the brain zaps and burst into tears very easy but it’s the nausea and vomiting that are scaring me. Maybe tomorrow I’ll feel better.

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