a bottle of Cymbalta 20 mg

Whenever a doctor writes a prescription, a savvy patient will ask about stopping it: when should you stop taking it? What is the best approach for discontinuing? The physician should warn that Cymbalta withdrawal can be exceptionally challenging. It may require extremely gradual dose reduction over many months.

One Reader’s Cymbalta Experience:

Q. I’ve been on Cymbalta for six years. My rheumatologist prescribed it for fibromyalgia neuropathy in my feet. (It felt like my feet were in a bonfire all the time.)

When I first began taking it, the pain stopped. But I developed depression and high blood pressure and gained a lot of weight.

Last October my husband lost his job. The Cymbalta was going to be nearly $600 a month.  Since my liver enzymes were high, I decided to wash out of it.

It took three weeks to taper from 120 mg to nothing. The withdrawal produced “brain zaps” and violent outbursts in which I hit my beloved husband of 20 years, threw things and terrorized the dogs. I hit myself until I got bruises. My husband hid our guns and my medications because of the suicidal threats I made. I can’t sleep and the pain from the fibro is worse than ever.

Will this ever stop? I feel like I’m at the Hotel California, where “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave!”

Troubles with Cymbalta Withdrawal:

A. Cymbalta is prescribed for depression, anxiety, nerve and muscle pain as well as fibromyalgia. Patients are not always told when they start this medication that stopping it can be challenging.

We have heard from hundreds of people that the symptoms of withdrawing from duloxetine (Cymbalta), desvenlafaxine (Pristiq), escitalopram (Lexapro), venlafaxine (Effexor) and similar drugs include electric shock-like sensations (brain zaps), dizziness, anxiety, irritability and hostility, digestive difficulties and nerve tingling.

Although the symptoms can last for weeks, they usually fade. We are sending you our Guide to Dealing with Depression, which discusses withdrawal and provides some non-drug alternatives for depression.

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  1. sierra

    I am just curious how long your brain zaps lasted for. I am currently going through day 3 of my withdrawal and suffer from borderline personality disorder. I don’t like this drug. I don’t think it is really benefitting me to live my life to the fullest. Just need to know when you think it will subside. It is very debilitating. Thanks!

  2. Gretchka

    Not recommending anyone did this they way I did- I’m extremely bullheaded and once I make my mind up to do something I do it. I got off all my fibro/psych drugs cold turkey. I COULD NOT have done it if I had not eliminated processed food, processed sugar, and anything with the ingredient “natural flavor” in it first. That in and of itself cleared up some awful side effects I was having from being on all these drugs. The drug is sugar coated like candy. My body naturally started rejecting it. The drug also contains so many other things, it is nuts.

    This nasty drug was a miracle, I thought. However, it is a nasty addiction. How else could you feel effects (positive) instantly like I did. I went through a pharma nightmare the past 6 years or so. Never again will I so blindly hand my well-being over to people who throw pharma at me like it was, in fact, candy.

    Some day we will face it. We are what we eat. We are what we ingest. I knew all of this stuff in the 90’s. I’m going to be 46 this year. I FEEL like I’m reverse ageing right now.

    It’s been a week since my last ingestion of any drug. I could feel how people without other crap detoxed from their bodies go through nearly impossible withdraw. It is not a “syndrome” it is withdraw. I would have ended up with seizures, convulsions, lock jaw, maybe even dead. I could feel how. The “brain zaps” I had when I would miss a dose of it- I could feel it differently, and now it is more like “body zaps”. My brain/stomach is rewiring my body back correctly. I’m sure there are years of nerve damage in my spine.

    Taking back my diet and lifestyle was first. All else fell into place. Fired my DO, Specialists, Psych Dr. Searching for an honest-to-goodness general practitioner. Harder than you think, especially here in no-where-smack-dab-in-America.

    Now, I am left dealing with and wondering why and how I let so many years of my life be dictated by doctors, who really don’t GAF. Fibro/depression turned into the least of my problems because Cdiff overtook my body, I had experimental procedures done on me, I’m still broke from ones that didn’t work. That sucks the most- knowing my quality of life was depleted, I was waiting to die. Now, I live each second, hopefully have a path to stop working in an office, which I hate.

    And, like I said, it sucks. I knew all of this in the 90’s. 2000’s hit and boom! The cultural conditioning of low fat/science in food is good/take this pill got to me too. The recommended American diet is crap. I knew that too. That’s ok, I can’t save everyone and can tell that I am still detoxing, but that would be me- running down the street after her morning “exercise” of dance/walking/sweating with a carrot in one hand, natural cottage cheese in the other, just ate a half of a baked chicken last night ball of freaking energy. Better than can’t exercise because it hurts, mood swinging because of sugar addiction and feeling worse and worse and worse and popping another pill and pill and pill and pill.

    It can be done. There is life after Cymbalta & all psych meds, stomach meds, allergy meds, etc.

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