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. Vicky H.

    I was on Cymbalta 60 mg for 3 months, no change. So my doc lowered me to 30mg to get me off it. After I stopped taking it I felt dizzy/head rush really bad.. 2 weeks like this now. Hope it does not last long.

  2. megan
    central texas

    Jesus Mary and Joseph! I am a wreck. My parents basically started me on anti-d’s when I was in H.S. and apparently I never looked back. You name it, I’ve been on it. I am almost 60 and currently on tegretol, nortryptilyne, lyrica, cymbalta, seroquel and a little imitrex thrown in for good measure. Today is accidental day 2 with no cymbalta. I want to pull my eyes out. It never occurred to me that waiting 3 or 4 days for a refill would be such a pain in the ass. (I, too, am cheap/thrifty)…. now I’m wondering if I should stay off the cymbalta, it seems to be nasty with it or without it. So far I’ve got plenty of the nausea, ear ringing, total lack of focus and NO MEMORY when trying anything resembling normal conversation. I am starting to think my psychiatrist is psychotic. Who the hell am I underneath all this chemical goo? this is scary.

  3. Paula
    United States

    I have been taking Cymbalta for months. I recently lost my job of 14 years and the prescription was to cost 268.00 without insurance. I thought I could just stop taking it. Today, after weeks of severe night sweats, depression, shakes, vision problems, nausea, Brain Zaps and generally feeling like I have the flu, I paid the 268.00 and started back on them. The worst thing is… I have felt very suicidal. Like I am leaning more towards than against it. This drug works for Fibromyalgia, not for your brain. I am a hostage to Cymbalta and I am paying a high price to stay a hostage. This drug needs an exit plan. I can’t afford this.

    • The People's Pharmacy

      Paula, you are so right that the drug needs an exit plan. It can’t be stopped suddenly.

      Please be in touch with the prescriber right away. Cymbalta has a black box warning about suicide, and we don’t want you to do that!

  4. Cristen

    I was taking Wellbutrin for many years, always tried weaning myself off of them because they did nothing for me. Finally, I went to a psychiatrist. She prescribed Cymbalta for me starting at 30mg. I then progressed to 60mg, and now Im on 90mg. This medication has done wonders for my anxiety/depression.
    If I fail to refill my prescription, or forget to take.. By day 2 without medication, I am on a downhill trend FAST. I experience headaches, shakes, dizziness, and tunnel vision. I also hear the sound of a camera taking a picture in my head. Its awful hearing this, especially correlates with when I blink. When I was reading today on my “camera noise”, people call this experience BRAIN ZAPS. As soon as I get the med into my system, the noises disappear. I dont dare try to wean or stop taking this medication.
    It WORKS…. When I run out, by Day 2- I start to become ungrounded, not good.

  5. Her ladyship
    United Kingdom

    I have both fibromyalgia and hypopnia, diagnosed only 7 months ago after being misdiagnosed for 20 years as having epilepsy. I took Cymbalta and commenced CPAP treatment. LIFE CHANGING! My pain was so substantially reduced, I could exercise and life took on a whole new meaning. I felt 20 years younger despite being in my late 40s. I’ve never suffered from depression but acknowledge I didn’t live life to the full, but I still enjoyed it.

    Two weeks ago, I discovered I was pregnant for the first time! One “careless mishap” …..and a doctor I’d never met before told me to stop taking it immediately. I’m not sure what are my 2 month pregnancy symptoms and what are withdrawal but I am having terrible tremors, a feeling like massive adrenalin rushes in my head that actually affects my hearing. They start every few minutes after I rise in the morning and move to every few seconds between the middle of the day to mid evening. when they revert to every few minutes again.

    One thing that is very noticable is although I have pain from my fibro again, I am actually much more awake in the day just being on CPAP. and sleep thoroughly at night. I don’t think after baby is born I will go back on Cymbalta but I was greatful for the few months pain respite. I’ll discuss with my neurologist alternative pain relief as the benefits versus negative is 50/50 for me.

    Greatful to you guys who have commented…..I feel a bit normal now :-)

  6. Julie

    I am so relieved that I found this page and all of you. I missed two doses and woke up yesterday wondering what was wrong with me! After a motorcycle accident left me dealing with nerve damage and depression, my doctor prescribed Lyrica and a antidepressant. The R.S.D.S. progressed and the Lyrica and citalopram no longer worked as well. The switch was made from citalopram to Cymbalta and there have been mixed results. It has decreased the number of falls due to severe pain episodes, but left me even more foggy than before. It has disrupted my sleep with the sweats, hot flashes, itchiness and other symptoms. Missing the two doses made me feel like I am higher than a kite, nauseous, and the already short memory loss is even shorter! After reading the article and all the comments, I think I will have to have a lengthy discussion with my doctor about other options. Thank you to all for sharing so the rest of us know we aren’t alone!

  7. Dawn
    Huntington Beach CA

    I was prescribed 60 mg cymbalta four years ago after the birth of my third child. I had developed Hashimoto’s Thyroid disease which gave me fibromyalgia – like symptoms and suffered from chronic low back pain, as well. At first, I loved Cymbalta and it gave me all the relief that I needed and I felt great! But, I know my liver needs a much needed break, so I’ve decided to quit. I quit cold turkey and it’s been about 10 days. I have the brains zapps and the worst part is in the morning when it seems like I have like a flu! Feel like I’m gonna throwup, I’m shaky and dizzy. My vertigo is acting up. Slurry speech and in a fog. But, I am determined to keep staying off it and I’ll see how it goes. Anyone, how long did these withdrawal symptoms last? I’m a massage therapist, single mom of three, so I don’t have the time to feel sick!!!

    • The People's Pharmacy

      Dawn, the period of withdrawal symptoms is different for each person. Some people feel significantly better by six weeks off the drug. Others take a bit longer.

  8. Deborah

    Hello, I’m Deb. I had my neck broken in 2005 and 2 times in 06. I ended up with severe neuropathy damage in my right arm. For 8 years gabapentin worked. Then stopped. Dr switched me to lyrica, and it worked about 2 months. That’s when my Dr. Switched me to cymbalta. From day one starting the med I was disconnected. Head swaying. Couldn’t sit still. Sitting in a doorway with it open.. Wrapped in an electric blanket sweating profusely. Dizzy. Couldn’t process a thought.

    Then my Dr switched me to prednisone. It intensified all the cymbalta side effects. I became suicidal and was ready to leap from a 3rd floor balcony. That’s when my Dr called me back and sent in a script of Xanax. 3 times a day. I’ve got the brain shocks that can happen a dozen or more times an hour. I’m so pissed. I’m contacting a lawyer.

  9. H.D.

    This drug was a lifesaver for me, both brand name and generic. If this helps only one person, it’s worth my posting this comment. I had thyroid cancer and was given radioactive iodine. This lethal potion cured the cancer but left me unable to walk because pain in my lower leg was so severe. I was crawling at home and taking a wheelchair through the airport. I use to run half marathons and ran regularly for the fun of it. After going to dozens of doctors and physical therapy sessions, one doctor prescribed Cymbalta. It worked overnight and my life has been changed. I’ve tried going off it twice (I take 6 weeks to wean myself off it) but the pain in my legs has returned both times. I’m trying again now. This drug hasn’t affected my hind or head at all, just my legs. Mystery to me but thank heaven for Cymbalta. My weaning off process, from the usual 60 mg, was to start with 30 mg for two weeks, then 30 mg every other night for two weeks, and finally 30 mg every third night for two weeks. Good luck.

  10. Debbie F.
    Pimpama qld

    Hi I’m Debbie and I have had depression since having my son 8 yrs ago. I don’t feel like offing myself just very angry and irritated and quick to cry. I have been on 4 different anti depressants over this time. Cymbalta worked the best for me. After 2 years though the side effects were getting worse. Bad dreams anxiety and sleeplessness and hot night sweats. I too felt like I had bugs crawling over me and was feeling really flat. No joy in life at all. I ran out of pills and money 6 days ago and decided to stay off them to see if I could cope cold turkey. I am a pretty strong person but the physical effects are terrible. I feel drunk and vertigo like all the time. Numbness in my feet and twitching in legs. Keep hearing ringing in my ears and noises. Cannot sleep hot and cold sweats. But for the first time in years I feel interested in life again. Even through the nausea and the feeling like I am in a elevator I am going to keep focused on staying off the drug. Have starting exercising again and going to try at johns wart. If anyone has any suggestions of natural remedies I’d love to hear them. Am finding caffeine is helping to keep me more focused during the day as I have a very physical job and have to drive a lot.

  11. Debby
    Goose Creek, SC

    I have been on Cymbalta for over 10 yrs. Recently found out that I have fatty liver so decided to wean myself off of this. The withdrawal is awful. I can not sleep, appetite is poor, diarrhea, crying jags, etc.

    In my opinion, drug companies are only about the money with no regard for the patients well being. If I make it through this withdrawal, I will NEVER take another med without thoroughly researching every aspect of it. I wish everyone well in their attempts to get off of this horrible drug.

  12. Arthur

    I have been on Cymbalta for 5 years at 90 mg/day. I took it upon myself to wean off the drug because I have been feeling ok but also having trouble losing weight. I got down to 30 mg/day and today I am quitting. I have noticed a tingling sensation in my genitals (male) that almost feels like an orgasm. This sensation is very strong and actually annoying. Is this Cymbalta withdrawal or just my imagination?

  13. S M
    Norwich. Ny 13815

    I myself have been on Cymbalta for 5 years. I’ve always heard about the great effects for depression and pain related to it. I saw my family physicians and they themselves thought it would be great for me. I never thought about the Side effects. I had been having these certain kind of headaches for years prior to taking Cymbalta. I also have Cypital Neuralgia which I was prescribed Cymbalta, but was already on it, upped my dose to 30mg twice a day. Now insurance change and have had to go cold turkey, been waiting for pre-authorization… 5 days without and I haven’t been functional, light headed, nauseated, diarrhea, completely not myself. Not worth trying to go back on it. OMG the hot flashes have been so severe that I’m actually drenched. The withdrawal is horrible. People please read and be aware. One thing I wished I did.

    • Jacqueline
      Westminster, SC

      Same here. If I had known how severe the withdrawal symptoms were I would not have started this medication. I stopped taking it for a total of 4 days and everyday I kept thinking tomorrow would be better but it wasn’t it was worse.

      I went to the doctor and told her I wanted off of Cymbalta but I was getting extremely sick if I did not take it. I told her I needed something more geared toward PMS symptoms as I was having extreme agitation, irritability, Headaches, and body sweats with my menses every month. She is starting me on Prozac and decreased my dose of Cymbalta to 30 mg. I am scared since I have started reading all of the comments. I cannot function daily with withdrawal symptoms. I have to take care of my granddaughter and she does not need to go through this with me. I really wish I had done some exploring on this medication before I ever took it.

  14. Suz

    I’ve been suffering from depression since my 20’s, and started trying anti-depressants (with no luck) for quite a few years until I tried Cymbalta about 5 years ago. The very first day I notice an overwhelming difference in my outlook and attitude as well as energy levels, so I was super happy with that aspect.

    I’ve been going thru menopause for about 12 years now and could NOT for the life of me understand why my hot flashes were so bad still and WORSE at night. Cue the Cymbalta ‘bad side effects’ search. I think the side effects have progressively worsened as time has gone by; perhaps having a cumulative effect in the body tissue or the body’s ability to cope with the medication.

    The tinnitus is CONSTANT, my stomach hurts nonstop, almost everything I eat makes me nauseous, and I’ve come down with a crawling feeling on my skin like I have bugs crawling on me – super itchy and irritating. Once in awhile (because of budget constraints and the fact that I was getting my Cymbalta in the form of free samples at the doctors) I would run out of the medication and have to wait a few days to get more. Yes, side effects are SERIOUSLY NOT FUN… migraine headache, achiness, flu-like symptoms – having to go to bed in agony and suffer for days.

    But what are my options, really? My depression is terrible so NOT having the anti-depressant makes me feel like life is not worth living. At least (even feeling crappy WITH the pills) I don’t feel like ‘offing’ myself every day because of feelings or worthlessness.

  15. Marilyn H.
    Hunter Valley

    I have been on anti depressants for 3 months. The first month I was on elaxine 37.5sr the next month I was on the 75mg dose. I felt it was too much and then I was prescribed Cymbalta 30mg.

    My main side effect was sleeplessness, but when I did get to sleep finally I had terrible nightmares. So I stopped taking them and now I am experiencing weird feelings in my head and I am feeling generally unwell. dizziness, nausea. I hope it doesn’t last much longer. I never want to take antidepressants again.

  16. Barb

    WOW!! I have been having these exact symptoms since not taking Cymbalta for 2 weeks now and I really thought I was going CRAZY!! But now I see all the things I have been feeling are withdrawal symptoms: the lightheadedness, BRAINZAPS!!!!, tinnitus…. I can’t remember who else described the “light saber” noises when they moved their head/eyes but boy that is 100% dead on.

    I am SO glad I read these things and I am not nuts. The horrible thing is, I didn’t want to stop it, it was time for my refill and my doctor’s office screwed up the refill, then my doc was off for a week and the covering doc wouldn’t refill it. So basically it was THEIR fault entirely, am supposed to be taking it!! SO aggravating they would let something like this happen to someone!! ARGH!!

  17. Claire

    I’ve been on 60mg Cymbalta for more years than I choose to remember for anxiety. It has served me well under the circumstances. At the beginning of this year I decided it was time to come off it and under my Dr’s instruction went down to 30mg over a 2 week period. I have remained on the 30mg for the last 8 months or so and again under my Dr’s instruction came off it in this order.
    Week 1 : Take 1 every 2nd day
    Week 2: Take 1 every 3rd Day
    Week 3: take 1 every 4th Day

    That was 4 days ago and I am definitely getting the brain zaps, Feeling a bit uncoordinated … even in my typing right now & feeling the need to check my steps a bit more carefully on steps and hills …. definitely more tearful than before (but I actually don’t think that is a bad thing as I chose to come off it believing I was actually a bit numb to my own emotions and it is just me getting back in touch with them) . Yesterday I woke up feeling really agitated, but determined to work through it with taking a walk, watching a movie and going to church.

    I am determined to try and become drug free. After many years of being on the cymbalta, I began getting ultra twitchy restless leg syndrome at night and was given Sifrol to take, which does alleviate it. But as I said I decided to take the step to come off all drugs. My Dr has said to give it a 3 months or so before weaning myself off the sifrol and so that will be my next goal… all going well in not being tempted to go back on the cymbalta if I get anxious. (Which by the way I am trying to manage through “mindfulness” – ” walking” – “deep breathing” and other meditative type exercise programs… and it helps hugely)
    All the best to those of you who want to come off it.

  18. Donna
    Pt. Townsend WA

    I was prescribed 30 mg. Cymbalta a year ago around July. I realize this was a pretty small dose, thank the Lord. It was prescribed by my oncologist for pains which seemed to travel around my body. It did seem to allay the pains, but did strange things to my head. After the third time I awoke in the middle of the night with my head screaming (so loud I got up and roamed the house to be sure the smoke alarms were not acting out) I quit the cymbalta cold turkey; my oncologist is only available two days a week and I didn’t feel like I should call her.

    Then the fun started. I quit a week before my birthday, which I just celebrated again last week. I had the usual complaints, nausea, dizziness, but the kicker was the brain zaps which are described by others as electric. What I experienced was a noise like all the notes of a harmonica being blown full blast. It seemed to happen when I moved my head a certain way, or perhaps it was eye movement. This eventually toned down to a single “cowbell” clang and for the last few weeks it has been quite seldom and faint.

    I do have to say it sort of amused me–certainly not like waking up with the inside of my head screaming! However, after dropping the drug the former ear problem of rushing water tinnitus, to which I had become accustomed, changed to a constant hissing noise and feeling of pressure in my head and, worse, for the last few months I have experienced crushing fatigue and unmanageable short term memory loss. I don’t know if the fatigue and memory loss have anything to do with Cymbalta, but my quality of life has taken a nose dive since I took and dropped the drug.

  19. Steve

    Cymbalta has been great for me. Only problem I have had is when forgot my refill for one day I have brain the brain zaps and ringing ears I have been reading about. It is like a mini lightning strike in my head. As long as I take it I am fine. I have no reason to try to get off this medication. Plan on taking it from now on if it keeps helping. Also take Seroquel along with it at bed time. 90mgs Cymbalta and 100mgs Seroquel. Have no plans to stop unless I start feeling bad. Never ever stop cold turkey. Feeling great!

  20. Andrew
    wigan uk

    I have been on this drug for 1 month the side effects affter starting the drug was awful dizzyness, shock like feelings in my head, my arms and legs twitching, headaches feeling sick, light head feel like my eyes are bulging etc. So I decided to stop them as a couldn’t cope with the side effects, but they are ten times worse will they eventually stop please advise?


  21. SS

    I too have experienced severe withdrawals coming off of Cymbalta. This is my second attempt to come off of this drug, and I am determined to be free of it. I haven taken Cymbalta for about seven years to treat generalized anxiety disorder. BI have gone through some very dark days in attempt to get this drug out of my system. I weaned down from 30mg to 20mg then to 10 (I opened the capsules). I took 10mg daily and went to every other day and then every third day; despite weaning, I have had nausea, loss of weight, brain fogginess, palpitations, tremors, fatigue and even feelings of not wanting to be on this earth anymore. I have been off of the drug since mid August, and I am finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel. I do not think that this drug is labeled properly, and physicians should use caution when prescribing such drugs. I will never take this drug, or anything like it again. It is not worth it. MDs should monitor patients on this drug closely, especially during the weaning process. It’s been an awful experience for me.

  22. Alex
    Tacoma, WA

    Well, like so many above, I’m encouraged that I’m among others on this journey. I’m 65 and was prescribed Cymbalta for some depression related to knee replacement surgery last February. Ironically, I was frustrated that my recovery was taking longer than the recovery from my previous knee replacement surgery several years prior. Hah! Had I — and probably my physician– known about the difficulty of withdrawal from this drug I wouldn’t have whined about my surgery-recovery time, let alone have gotten involved with this drug! So now it’s been a little over a week since I quit Cymbalta… cold turkey. My reason for quitting was simply that I believed — and believe– that it had done its job and I simply didn’t need it any more — OK, and also that I tend to be a cheap S.O.B. and didn’t want to continue with the copay.

    There weren’t any apparent side effects of the drug, fortunately, in my case. So now my withdrawal symptoms are those “brain zaps,” and a bit of occasional dizziness. I guess I shouldn’t complain, based on other’s accounts, but it looks like I’ll get to suffer these real effects for a lot longer than my last hangover — and possibly (likely?) longer than the time I took Cymbalta! I haven’t seen any specific withdrawal-duration time periods in the above accounts, but it seems I should expect months of this before it subsides/disappears.
    I’ll be seeing my regular physician soon, and we’ll discuss all this and I’ll enlighten him of this website. I feel fortunate to have discovered it, and wish my fellow travelers well. We’ll get there!

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