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

We have received so many complaints about duloxetine side effects that we have lost count. Far more disturbing are the number of people who tell us how hard it is to discontinue this drug.

Decades ago doctors might have told patients taking a drug like Cymbalta that if they experienced anxiety, irritability or strange sensations after stopping the drug, it was probably their underlying psychological problem returning. Now we know it is withdrawal from the medicine.

The History of Cymbalta:

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.

Stopping Cymbalta:

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

– D.G. shares a tragic story:

“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.”

This from – P.J.:

“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.”

– R.P. says:

“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?”

– Nancy relates how hard it was to get off Cymbalta:

“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.”

— J.K. shares a parent perspective:

“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.”

– P.C. Tells what it is like to switch around from one drug to another:

“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.”

– K.T. tells what it is like to try to stop Cymbalta:

“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.”

– Karen’s story:

“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.”

– R.H. and Erectile Dysfunction:

“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.”

– M.O. on stopping Cymbalta:

“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.”

Please add your own experience below in the comment section.

Revised 1/28/16

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  1. Darla

    I had no choice but to come off Cymbalta. I lost left kidney to cancer in 2010. Having type II diabetes, I was on Metformin and Cymbalta for anxiety. Found out in August 2018 the damage from Lipitor, HBP meds, Cymbalta and metformin: I was in stage 3 kidney failure. Age 68 and unlikely for kidney transplant I had to get off these meds and on an alternative. As of today I’m clean of all, including Cymbalta, 4,weeks out. How did I become a prescribed addict? I still am brought to tears at the realization. 2 weeks ago had possible TIA, almost undetectable but for symptoms that put me in ER. A step backward but still forging ahead. Brain zaps, am emotional, poor sleep, but feeling somewhat stronger every day. Now I’ll barely take Tylenol. Better numbers for the kidney failure. Great numbers for blood sugar. Cholesterol is iffy high, and BP is still somewhat high. Depression is mostly about getting this way on prescribed medication from a doctor I trusted.

  2. Betty

    After reading several letters from patients trying to stop taking Cymbalta I too have a story to share. I have been taking Cymbalta for over 10 years and really don’t believe I need it any longer, so I decided to stop taking it, cold turkey. Its been only 5 days and I am miserable. I now know this is a mistake as I am having terrible withdrawals symptoms and wasn’t sure where they were coming from. I finally decided to look up this problem and found my answer with someone who shared the exact same symptoms. I too experienced hearing my eyes move, or a swishing sound going between my eyes. If I move too quickly I thought I would fall and then would have to lie down with cold air blowing on me so I would overcome the feeling of falling . I have hot flashes going to cold flashes. I also experienced these feelings while I was taking this medication regularly. Of course not to this extreme. I also heard from others that this medication interfers with the other pain meds I have been using which really helped with movement (which I also stopped using due to some other ailing problem I am having)
    since I suffer from mild arthritic pain due to my job being a sit down, stay down computer position which I’ve held for over 20 years. I didn’t think to remove a few medicine balls at a time and will start the count down tonight because I can not function properly under these conditions as I feel wobbely and unsure of myself and a bit cranky. I would love to feel normal again without using meds to get me by.

  3. David

    I’ve been on Duloxetine (about 3 weeks) for depression and anxiety, but I feel horrible, and after coming across this site I think I’ve just decided to start tapering off. My head feels sluggish, and I have a persistent odd cold sensation in the back of my throat/sinuses. I have suicidal thoughts nearly all the time and and intense anxiety. I have NEVER felt this desperate in my life. I’m 55 and was prescribed it by a V.A. psychiatrist, along with Buspar, which seems to amplify the anxiety/dread. I have been leaning heavily on a couple of old friends for support, trying to keep my wife and daughter insulated. It’s just a nightmare. I worry that I won’t be able to get off and that I’ve “broken” my brain, which is honestly how I feel.

    • Leilani
      West Vancouver,Canada

      I sorry to hear about your experience. I had a bad reaction to Buspar, and I cried for a week and felt suicidal. I almost drove myself to the er. My brother had a similar reaction. I am currently cold turkeying Cymbalta and it’s rough. But I’m not having any suicidal thoughts. Mostly, physical symptoms. I don’t recommend doing what I’m doing, but since I’m one week in I’m going to ride the withdrawal symptoms. I was taking it for depression but it made my rls terrible. I wish you the best of luck.

  4. Lynn
    Heber Springs, AR

    I’ve been on a generic of cymbalta for several years. Two years ago I asked my doctor to help me start to wean myself off of it. I felt odd and not myself anymore, believing it to be this medication. I was under more stress, etc. but wanted to eliminate it from my system. I have been experiencing short-term memory loss and believe this to be a contributing factor. He scoffed and said it doesn’t do that to people!

    I remained on it not knowing what else to do. When my mom became ill, I was under even more stress! I went back again telling him my sorrows and worries. He advised I double up on my dosage! I didn’t do that at the time but eventually did. I have had some significant life changes and want to discontinue this drug. I’ve started, this week, taking my 60 mg dose at night but skipping the 60 mg dose every other morning. I feel awful!!! Can’t sleep, more depressed, and have a constant mild headache.

    What can I do!!! Please tell me how to get off this nasty medication!!!

  5. Amanda

    How sad it is that we all went to doctors for help and now we are all dealing with the exact symptoms as everyone else who looked for help and none told about the damaging effects it would have on our bodies, minds and livelihood if we ever had to come off these drugs the prescribed.

    I only took Cymbalta for 2 months, the side effects of taking were bad, but the side effects from stopping it are horrible.

    My doctor didn’t, nor did anyone else tell me, about any side effects. I did read the insert but there are so many “possible” side effects on every drug, it seems almost like we have become immune to realizing the”warnings” would EVER BE true. If they were would they REALLY prescribe it to you? They say “in rare cases”. It truly doesn’t sound so rare.

    I never even had morning sickness, I work 50+ hours every week and run a very successful business, I had never taken more than Tylenol in my 40 + years and then about the time menopause hit, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I really thought it was hormonal but after a year of dealing with pain and symptoms- and refusing to go on Lyrica, I gave in to the pain. My Rheumatologist increased so fast each month that I couldn’t process. I have never had any tendency toward depression. I was a very happy go lucky spirit and rarely even get a common cold. This was all so new to me.

    I’ve been on Lyrica for about 2 years. When starting on Lyrica for the fibromyalgia, I didn’t want to die but I’m ashamed to say, I didn’t really have a preference either way, I would cry uncontrollably and the person I “felt like” was unrecognizable to me at times. It was like I was on the outside looking in. It truly scared me. I told my dr and she simply said -“ It’ll pass”. I felt with that “passing” for about 6 months.

    About the time I was finally feeling some relief of the psychological symptoms of the horrible drug, the physical symptoms became worse. I was placed on Cymbalta. Thank God, I had no depressed feelings, however I had no emotion at all, I never cried, even when appropriate to do so and the pain did not subside.

    Upon demanding an appointment a couple weeks ago, A on call doctor in my PC practice, suggested I get off both and said “slow down in a week or so, and then stop altogether. I took a week reduction from Lyrica and 2 weeks reduction for Cymbalta. I’ve been off both for 4 days and Last night even with the new drug Gabapentin ? Which suppose to be for nerve pain – and not for something I didn’t have like depression 😊( so I’m happy about that.) However, even with that I was in so much pain last night I couldn’t sleep. I have been so nauseous, lightheaded and fear of fainting today that I stayed home (which I never do)

    I started research tonight and found this GOD SEND of a forum. I was actually scared tonight I would die in my sleep because I was so dizzy trying to get ready for bed.

    I’m in a lot of pain tonight and last night, BUT I won’t take another capsule of either of these two meds or anything In a brain altering drug ever again. You can simply not stay on any drug like these forever. I pray everyone would read this forum before taking one dose of either Lyrica or Cymbalta.

    I’m truly sorry anyone had to go through this and I am going to pray that we will all find a better way of healing.

  6. Claudia

    Switched from Paxil to Cymbalta.
    The coming of Paxil was horrific. But had done so much research and had a doctor monitoring me with half-dosing. We had a happy ending.

    Cymbalta has been great, but life has thrown some angst-ridden situations at me, and we needed to make a change. Have had no back or neck pain with Cymbalta. Have had no complaints about this drug. It is helpful if you need it.

  7. Drew

    I went through a double whammy with prescriptions. Life trama made me lose sleep and appetite. I lost some mobility. My doctor was prescription happy, and put me on drug after drug after drug for 2 years. I was a mess. So went to a new doctor, and she prescribed me Cymbalta. It seemed to help, but after 2 months things got bad. I then tried to quit cold turkey. 2 days good then awful. so back on it. The thing I want to say, is finally I cut it down to 1 pill every 2 days. Then three days and so on. My last pill was a week ago. I am not 100 %, but I can manage. You really have to look at if the first action you took (like my doc who did all the prescriptions) he did all the damage to make it look like fibromyalgia. For people like us who are in pain all the time, it helps to detox ourselves to know what is really happening, before the doctor evaluates us. Only problem is that we are in too much pain to ride it all out without another prescription. Not our fault, and people dont understand our pain, and/or side of it.

  8. Richard

    I have back and leg pain from a car accident years ago. I have battled my pain with everything you can imagine to help relieve it. I’m blessed to be able to walk and have a cage in my spine that has been fused by bone spurs and arthritis. I was placed on Cymbalta a couple of months ago, and it did help, however the cost has been detrimental. I went cold turkey a week ago and advise anyone not to ever do that or take the drug at all. I have had about every withdrawal symptom that’s been listed, and you can’t explain to anyone unless you have been through it.

  9. Janice
    Warrington, England

    I was diagnosed with acute angle glaucoma recently. Discovered that Duloxetine 60mg for 4 years may have caused this but not proven as glaucoma can also be inherited.
    Withdrawal symptoms have been very unpleasant/ My temper has been vile, restlessnes.insomnia, accident prone therefore have avoided driving my car for several weeks. GP titrated me off over one week going from 60mg to 30mg then I had nothing. Not pleasant at all but after a month happy that I am no longer taking this horrid drug. I am a healcare professional Registered Mental Nurse so I do believe I know what I am talking about. Just want to raise awareness and wonder if drugs like these need taking off the market. I have also reported the glaucoma via the yellow card scheme.

  10. Steve

    I was prescribed duloxetine for residual nerve pain. Started 30 mg for a week increased to 60. After two months and a follow up appointment the Dr noted that it wasn’t helping and suggested I stop using when the medication was done. It has been 2 weeks and I’ve never felt so bad in my life. Tinnitus, headaches and sensations I wasn’t unable to describe until I read about brain zaps here. Nightmares, broken sleep, sweating and an uncharacteristically short temper. Did I mention crying at odds times (like now). I can’t seem to find relief from any one of these symptoms. Pharmacist yesterday suggested I should have begun feeling better last week. Telephone health link suggested I go to emergency. I find it difficult to decide.

  11. jB- 57

    I recently was forced to changed GP due to long time GP going concierge, I take two meds. Prozac 90mg, high due to >20 years on this drug, for social anxiety and mild depression and advil for spinal fusion, degenerative spinal issues. New doc offered Cymbalta 60MG as a replacement to Prozac with benefit of relieving chronic back pain. It worked wonders on back in a few weeks and I was HAPPY with back but not with anxiety as compared to prozac. Dr. increased to 120MG Cymbalta. Soon physical side effects began to arise. Sexual, hot flashes, headache, nausea. Dr. reduced back to 30MG and referred me to psychiatrist for med fine tuning. Psych put me on ADHD meds and propranolol for anxiety. No reduction in previous side effects then extreme side effects hit, suicidal ideation, deep sorrow to the point of sobbing for a man who had never wept in his adult life, ever. Agitation, hostility, emotional volatility, mental confusion, brain zaps, light flashes in eyes and more. Functioning was a hurculean effort but I managed to the point of exhaustion. Went back to Psych. Put me back on Prozac, instructed to taper off Cymbalta. Turns out I’m addicted to Antidepressents physically and cant easily get off them. May take months in spite of 12 hour Cymbalta half life which leads me to believe effects on brain are much longer lasting than the time Cymbalta and other AD are in your blood. If you have not started on AD, don’t. If you have, try to wean off with a good Dr.’s help. Replace with holistic solutions. if you are going thru withdraw symptoms see a Dr. and know you are not going crazy, the Pharma industry has. Trust nothing, advocate and research for yourself. Good luck to everyone. These ADs are FAKE Meds. with no better confirmed results than placebo. Read followup test post Pharma produced testing. Not pretty.

    • Elizabeth
      San Diego CA

      JB, you’re back on Prozac so I’m sharing my experience with it. I took Prozac for more than ten years without any problems until it stopped working. I increased the dose to 80mg and developed severe dizziness; actually fell down more than once. My doc couldn’t understand it, as 80 mg is thought to be safe. My research finally found a report in The Lancet (British medical journal) that older people (I was then in my 60s) can become dizzy when taking high doses of the Prozac class of antidepressants. My doctor had never heard of this and was glad to know it. The problem cleared up when I was switched to Cymbalta but that seemed to turn my technicolor world black-and-white, so now I’m dealing with Cymbalta withdrawal.

  12. Sandy

    I have been on Cymbalta since 2005 for migraines. I moved and couldn’t find my prescription so I just decided it was time to try getting off the drug. I was off for about 4-5 days and thought I had made it past the worst. That was in late April 2018. I came across this website when looking for information on withdrawal symptoms. I have experienced the same symptoms as most everyone else. Brain Zaps being the absolute worst. I didn’t know how to describe that feel or exactly what “brain zaps” really were until I read someone’s comment that it felt like you could hear your eyes move. To me it felt like every time I blinked my eyes I could hear it in my ears. That sounds so bazaar, but exactly what it felt like. I went to my doctor after the first few days and refilled my 60 mg RX, followed by a 30 mg RX. Since then I have been slowly trying to get off this horrible drug. I read about people opening the capsules and counting the white balls inside. I thought “I can’t do that.” Guess what, I have been doing the exact same thing. I have been completely off for 1 week when I started having a stiff neck. One side then both sides. Today I broke down and opened a capsule and counted 15 white beads. I took the dose to see if it’s still withdrawal symptoms or maybe I just slept wrong. I don’t know how many people are actually helped with Cymbalta, but based on how many people have had major issues trying to get off of it, I think the FDA needs to reconsider allowing this drug to be sold. Surely, there is a better alternative. I have learned one thing through this ordeal. I will NEVER take another drug that affects my brain. Period!

  13. Barbara
    North East

    I have been taking Duloxatine for about one and a half years now, primarily for depression but recently for fibromyalgia. In this period of time I have gained three stones in weight (42LBS). I hardly eat. But talking to other users I found out that they have gained a lot of weight also. Other side effects: sweating, constipation and more.

    I decided that I would wean myself off of them, as I am on a high dose (90mg per day). I reduced it down to 60mg per day and then to 30mgs. This is where I hit a brick wall. As the lowest dose tablet in the UK is 30mg I couldn’t halve it agin so I took one every other day until I stopped. The side effects of stopping are awful even though I did it gradually. I constantly feel sick, dizzy (as if I have fluid in my head and a spirit level bubble is bobbing about), and of course I am in agony because I have arthritis , fibromyalgia, and other osteo-related problems. So you’re damned if you take them and damned if you don’t.

  14. Sandie H

    I have been on Cymbalta for several years (3 or 4) for fibromyalgia & it replaced the Zoloft I had been on for many years for depression. Zoloft eventually stopped working for me, and I was immediately told to stop it (by my rheumatologist) & was placed on Cymbalta. It worked well in the beginning. In this last year, the Cymbalta seems to have given me the same symptoms that everyone on this forum has described. I told my primary care physician that Cymbalta was giving me problems & he added Lyrica to the mix. I felt great for the first 2 weeks, then started feeling terrible. He said to stop the Lyrica & raise the Cymbalta to 90 mg. I had been on 60 mg. That’s when things got really bad.

    The Rheumatologist said to go back down to 60 mg. and it would take a long, long time, but she would try to wean me off it. Right now I am exhausted most of the time, crying off & on all day, dizzy, in some pain but not a lot, feeling suicidal because I want all this to stop. I have sweats & no energy. I don’t want to do anything but lie down with my eyes closed. The thought of this taking months or years is daunting. I have not cut up capsules yet, but am thinking about it. I have not had brain zaps yet but it sounds awful. I don’t know what to do next. My husband is a saint for helping me through this.

  15. Jacqueline

    After reading quite a few comments regarding Cymbalta, I realize I am having withdrawal symtoms as well. There have been so many hot flashes daily. These happen both night and day. I can be still as a statue and all of a sudden here it comes. I cut down my doseage from 90 to 60mg. It has been at least 2 months, not sure how long it is going to take. I have been on 60mg for quite a few years. Will talk to my Internist to see where to go from here. Good luck to everyone.

  16. Karen

    Has anyone been able to stop this medication with minimal or no side effects? I guess I want to know if it is even possible. Having some severe issues. I tapered off over 4 weeks. Maybe that’s too fast. Severe nausea and shaking and trembling that is just violent.

    I haven’t read any success stories. Last dose was 10 days ago.

  17. Kim

    I had missed two doses of my Cymbalta and experienced hallucinations both at work and at night time while I was trying to go to sleep. At work I would look from left to right, and the room would shift, and at night time I had very clear feelings that someone was grabbing me and trying to kill me as I was falling asleep. Once I realized this was due to the missed doses I got right back on the medication. However, my libido had left town completely and insomnia had set in.

    The worst side effect for me was the severe fatigue and brain fog that I experienced every day to the point of falling asleep while I was standing up doing my job at work and also being completely confused as to why I was doing something a certain way when I’ve done the same job for 20 years and knew it had to be done the correct way. And to top it all off when I asked the physician who prescribed the medication how to get off of it, he said to just stop taking it completely, and go back to taking Lexapro like I used to do. I didn’t do this because I didn’t think it was wise but the brain fog has become so bad that I have to do something so I’m beginning this research to see how I can do this.

  18. Sylvia
    San Martin

    I was prescribed Cymbalta after being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. Living with pain seems wrong but what I believe is even worse is being hooked on the prescription and then having to figure out how to ween yourself off. I was given a plan with lower dosage for 2 weeks then every other day for a week, plus an optional 2nd week if withdraw symptoms continued. I didn’t continue the every other day for the 2nd week. BIG MISTAKE!!

    While the medication is out of my system, my system is not done withdrawing. I have severe brain zaps, nausea, insomnia, hot flashes, memory issues and blurred vision. First thing I realize is that the ween off plan should be specific instructions and not optional. I struggle to keep focus even as I write this post. For 2 weeks I have been taking a flaxseed capsules ever morning to help with my insomnia and it is working. I purchased them at Costco. I am 100% off all medication but not done with the side effects. I hope it’s done soon

  19. Emma

    Firstly, thank you everyone for your comments and stories, it’s so nice to feel like it’s not only me. 8 months ago I was put on this to support me weaning off pregabalin, big mistake. I can hardly walk in a straight line and fear driving. I feel sick, tearful, fatigued, my blood pressure is low and I’m having palpitations.

    I know it’s withdrawal symptoms because if I take a pill I feel better within hours. My GP did not warn me how hard duloxatine is to come off, worse still is when I saw a different GP last week I was to not to be so silly “duloxatine has no withdrawal symptoms, in fact it’s the easiest to come off” proof our doctors are in league with the pharmaceutical companies.

    I’m gutted to hear it’s going to take so long to come off but I’m determined. Good luck to you all xx

  20. Hilary M

    I wish I had read this before taking it for fibromyalgia AND trigeminal neuralgia. Ugh. Now what?

    • Renee

      I have been on Cymbalta for about 4-5 years now for pain. As of two and a half weeks ago the prescription ran out then I had to wait, and as of now I’m not sure I want to go back on it. I’m just now hearing about the withdrawal symptoms, and I’m shocked that I was never warned. The withdrawal is everything that everyone describes, and I couldn’t figure out why after two weeks I started with the headaches, nausea, and hot flashes. I guess it will be a while before it’s completely out of my system. I will see how long I can do this.

  21. Kate

    I’ve been taking Duloxitine 30 mg. for approximately 10 years for arthritis pain. Unwanted side effects included constant tiredness, tremors, and, in the beginning, brain zaps. A welcomed side effect was much improvement to my occasional, very mild bladder leaks. In fact, it completely stopped the leaks. The tremors have become much worse over the 10 years and for this reason, I have decided to stop taking the drug. It has been 1 week since stopping cold turkey and the brain zaps are occurring big time; once again, my bladder leaks and I’ve been very emotional, easily brought to tears. It’s too early to say if my tremors have lessened but I have a great deal more energy since stopping the drug.

    My arthritis pain doesn’t seem any worse since stopping but I’ll be very glad when the brain zaps stop. I never knew how to describe the brain zaps and didn’t know they were a side effect of Duloxitine until I found this website. It’s nice to finally find out what was/is causing this very strange sensation. I hope I never have to go back on this or similar medication and I think big pharma and doctors have much to learn about certain classifications of drugs.

  22. Marilyn
    West Midlands, UK

    I was on Cymbalta for 10 years for depression and fibromyalgia. After all this time I felt it wasn’t working and decided to detox. By accident I went away and forgot my pills. I had no bad side affects except I had incredible energy for 5 weeks with only night sweats and chest zaps. Now The …. has hit the fan. The zaps are worse and I am so dizzy I want to just lay down all the time. However, I will never go back on this drug. I shall go through this nightmare and get to the other side. I’m taking liver detox natural products and drinking plenty of water. I’ll take care of myself and ignore the depression, I’ll just get through this. I have started CBD oil and that has taken care of the fibromyalgia pain most of the time. No way am I going back on Cymbalta or any other big pharmaceutical.

    • Sonia

      How are you doing so far? What kind of oil and dosage? Ty

  23. Eileen
    New York

    I have been taking Cymbalta for approximately 8 years. I have had all the symptoms and side effects that everyone else has mentioned. I never put 2 + 2 together, I blamed the side effects on many other things, menopause, just getting older, all my life stressors.

    I accidentally forgot to take Cymbals one day and I became so sick, I again thought the cause was something else. Over the last 3 years I’ve forgotten to take my pill a few times and have had the same severe reaction each time. I finally figured it out – withdrawal syndrome.

    I googled Cymbalta withdrawal and discovered the huge problem this medication has caused so many people. Long story short, I’m counting the days until this drug is out of my system for good!!!! Since cutting my dosage back over the last 3 weeks I’m already sleeping better and not having night sweats.

    Moving forward, I will definitely listen to my body and not ignore what it’s telling me!!!

  24. Val

    I am having brain zaps and sleeplessness with being on Cymbalta. Doctor has me trying to take it with no other medications and no food for a few days to see if that changes. Now what am I going to do if I have this while on the medication?

  25. Lynn S

    I have been on Duloxetine for about a year and Lyrica for 2. I ran out of refills for my duloxetine and haven’t had any for two days. I’m starting to get dizzy, irritable and short of breath.

    Thanks to this page I know what’s going on. Once I get through this I will stop the Lyrca gradually. I was not aware of the side effects. Both medications were prescribed for neuropathy.

  26. Nina

    I have been feeling great using generic Cymbalta…taking care of my farm and rescue animals with no problems for almost 2 years. My mail-order prescription company dropped the ball on auto ship, and I thought no big deal…WRONG! In less than a week, I thought I was losing my mind. Watching TV and every sad and not so sad story had me either in tears or a raging maniac. Stopped caring about anything…felt all of a sudden that life wasn’t worth living. Didn’t know why, thought I’d suddenly lost my mind. Brain jolts, heart pounding, dizzy, ears ringing. Started going over things and remembered I hadn’t taken my Cymbalta in almost a week…BINGO! I got my shipment yesterday, and I don’t know how long it will be before I can even begin to feel any kind of normal again. I am scared spitless that it won’t begin working. This is the scariest thing I have ever, EVER gone thru in my life!! I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy! I am just trying to start taking my regular dose instead of downing the whole damn bottle in desperation and hoping it works within a couple of days! I don’t know how long I can take this!

  27. Jessy
    Vernal, Utah

    I’m stoping duloxetine now and it is awful, I’m more depressed than ever not really sucidial but don’t really care either if something happens like I used to.

    I’ve been cutting by pills back over the last month and don’t really see a end in sight but I’m sure that will come. I can’t sleep, I have night sweats like no other, no energy, no sexual desire, sorta just hope I won’t wake up.

    However, I guess after reading all of these on here, it this might eventually change after f@$kin 18 months. I just want to get back to being productive and achieving goals. Probably like 500 misspellings in this post but hopefully it makes sense. I would suggest never getting on a anti-depression medication. Just go to the gym or something.

  28. Annie
    Pueblo, CO

    I wish that I could send you a picture of me today as I continue on my quest to detox off of Duloxetine (Cymbalta). I have all the symptoms previously mentioned. I even have been taking a liver detox med to speed up the process. It’s not helping. I am afraid to drive for fear I’ll get in an accident. I think I’ll stick to Tylenol for my arthritis pain even though it doesn’t help much.

  29. Gigi D.
    Raleigh, North Carolina

    Cymbalta is an evil drug in the same way as is Lyrica. I’ve been on them for 12 years, off label for fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. No doctor told me the dangers of staying on Cymbalta so long! It has a ton of side effects for me, but helped pain to some degree. But now it stopped working as well. I refuse to up my dose to keep pace with pain.

    I went online to social media to find out it can cause long term BRAIN DAMAGE!? It muddles your thinking and causes memory loss. I, too, discovered doctors are CLUELESS about detoxing and withdrawal. They all say the same thing— do it in several weeks, stepping down.

    I’ve read horror stories of people getting seizures, hospitalized and getting permanent brain damage from this ill-advised protocol. I didn’t want to pull apart capsules and count 300 BEADS a day for a year. So I found a smart doc in the know who experimented on himself to know first-hand what it was like. He had me do it in 6-week step downs. It will take about 9 months, but no bead counting. Even so, I have insane insomnia, a great deal of pain, and depression doing it. But at least no brain zaps or worse.

    If I had known that I would have heroin-like painful withdrawals from taking Cymbalta, I NEVER would have started! It’s criminal that Lily gets away with off-label prescriptions. There have been class- action suits against them for this. Beware! Take this with eyes open and never for fibromyalgia. Same goes for Lyrica. I’m getting off that as well. It similarly causes heroin-like withdrawals and is taking about a year for me to detox.

  30. robert

    I just started cymbalta for pain aprox 10 days ago. Initially it helped, but after around the 5th day I started having bad stomach pains, nausea, pain came back, etc.. Today is my 1st day off of it, and wow, the withdrawal symptoms: pain on top of pain, exhaustion, sweating, stomach pain etc. And I was not given any warning of such!

    I truly am beginning to believe that the creators of these meds really need to either: a) take a new route and methodology of resolving issues or b) quit trying to get rich off people while making them sicker in the process! What the heck is wrong with these big pharma companies? Are they part of the new world order population control agenda, lol? Anyhow, I absolutely believe they should be held fully accountable for their actions, especially since they have the clinical acknowledgement of such reports! There is no justifiable excuse for such! If I develop even 1 bad adverse effect from this, mark my words, I Will Sue the company. And, indeed, I will Win!

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