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

From what we hear from readers of our syndicated newspaper column and visitors to this website, most patients are not warned about how to stop duloxetine (Cymbalta). Perhaps the prescriber assumes that they will need to take this antidepressant for the rest of their lives. Or perhaps there is a reluctance to mention anything negative about a new prescription. Whatever the motivation, a lot of people are not adequately warned that they must never stop duloxetine suddenly.

The Many “Indications” for Duloxetine:

The FDA originally gave Cymbalta the green light for treating major depression in 2004. The drug has also received FDA approval for nerve pain (neuropathy) triggered by diabetes. In addition, the FDA has granted duloxetine approval to treat anxiety, the discomfort of fibromyalgia and the musculoskeletal pain brought on by arthritis or lower back injury. It works by affecting the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine.

On the surface, duloxetine seems like an ideal drug. It will ease your pain and relieve any related depression. Not surprisingly, Cymbalta became very successful. Today, the generic duloxetine formulation is prescribed quite frequently.

Duloxetine Side Effects:

There is a long list of significant side effects associated with Cymbalta. You can find them at this link.

Powerful Stories from Readers:

Kent in Oregon has the worst of both worlds: Side Effects and Withdrawal Symptoms:

“I am a 50 year old college honors grad, U.S. Marine and a retired homicide detective. I began taking Cymbalta to combat the effects of stress and depression associated with my constant exposure to the worst society has to offer.

“I have been taking it for about 15 years and now have symptoms I would trade for those that put me on Cymbalta in the first place. Each time the Veteran’s Healthcare Administration has failed to send my refills in the mail, it takes just 48 hours for the most terrible withdrawal symptoms to reappear.

“I experience horrible shakiness, uncontrollable, inappropriate and sudden bursts of tears, irritability and snappy moodiness, appetite problems and more. The worst of all my withdrawal symptoms, however, are the electrical shorts or zapping sensations in my brain. It literally feels like it shoots across my head and makes my brain bounce and eyeballs wobble. I find that it progressively worsens day after day while I wait for VHA to do their job and send the next bottle of capsules.

“There are symptoms that I get from taking the capsules as well, including erectile dysfunction, appetite changes, severe dry mouth, and MAJOR tinnitus [ringing in the ears]. The worst two are massive anxiety and sweating anytime I am in public or have even the slightest thought of things that are stressful for me.

“As a cop, I always thought anxiety was something people made up and used to escape work, or some other unpleasant task. Now I know it’s very real and has completely destroyed my public life. Standing in ANY store checkout line is a guaranteed shirt-soaking, sweat-filled-eyeballs experience for me.

“At one time, I was an over-achiever and a rising star in my profession with national awards and recognition, but now I live alone, have lost my family, friends, my personal belongings and even my home. I’m now stuck on a drug my brain cannot live without in a system with no reasonable means for discontinuation whatsoever.”

Sweating is a recognized side effect of duloxetine, along with hot flashes.

Martha in Texas shared a similar experience:

“I’ve been on Cymbalta since 2010 for fibromyalgia. Stupid me! I’m the one who asked my doctor to put me on it, since I saw it advertised on TV. The commercial said that it helps with pain!

“I was tired of the hot flashes and my ears ringing! And feeling like I was a robot! I had a lot of ‘brain farts’ where my mind would stop with a blank and couldn’t get my words out. I decided it was time to get off of Cymbalta.

“Getting off Cymbalta is horrific! Like so many others, I too am experiencing light-headedness, dizziness, and brain zaps. I describe it…when my eyes move my hearing zings while my brain zaps. I’m so tired and can sleep 12 hours at a time. I just don’t feel like myself.

All of this is affecting my job performance. I really need help, and I don’t care what it takes. Somehow or other, I’m getting off this awful drug!”

How to Stop Duloxetine (Cymbalta):

First, and we cannot emphasize this enough, NEVER stop duloxetine on your own. This requires very careful medical supervision. The prescriber must be informed of any plans to stop this drug. That said, the official prescribing information does not provide health professionals or patients much detailed guidance on how to stop duloxetine (Cymbalta).

Official Prescribing Information:

The FDA requires the following wording in the package insert. This is the officially sanctioned information hammered out between the drug manufacturer and the Food and Drug Administration. See what you think:

“Discontinuation symptoms have been systematically evaluated in patients taking CYMBALTA. Following abrupt or tapered discontinuation in adult placebo-controlled clinical trials, the following symptoms occurred at 1% or greater and at a significantly higher rate in CYMBALTA-treated patients compared to those discontinuing from placebo: dizziness, headache, nausea, diarrhea, paresthesia, irritability, vomiting, insomnia, anxiety, hyperhidrosis [excess sweating], and fatigue.

“During marketing of other SSRIs and SNRIs (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors), there have been spontaneous reports of adverse events occurring upon discontinuation of these drugs, particularly when abrupt, including the following: dysphoric [bad] mood, irritability, agitation, dizziness, sensory disturbances (e.g., paresthesias such as electric shock sensations), anxiety, confusion, headache, lethargy, emotional lability, insomnia, hypomania, tinnitus, and seizures. Although these events are generally self-limiting, some have been reported to be severe.

“Patients should be monitored for these symptoms when discontinuing treatment with CYMBALTA. A gradual reduction in the dose rather than abrupt cessation is recommended whenever possible. If intolerable symptoms occur following a decrease in the dose or upon discontinuation of treatment, then resuming the previously prescribed dose may be considered. Subsequently, the physician may continue decreasing the dose but at a more gradual rate [see Dosage and Administration (2.7)].

2.7 Discontinuing CYMBALTA:

“Adverse reactions after discontinuation of CYMBALTA, after abrupt or tapered discontinuation, include: dizziness, headache, nausea, diarrhea, paresthesia, irritability, vomiting, insomnia, anxiety, hyperhidrosis, and fatigue. A gradual reduction in dosage rather than abrupt cessation is recommended whenever possible [see Warnings and Precautions (5.7)].”

FDA’s Guidance on How to Stop Duloxetine (Cymbalta)?

So, what do you make of the official prescribing information? Do you feel as if you might be caught on the cusp of a Catch 22 situation? The FDA and the company acknowledge that “intolerable symptoms” may occur upon “discontinuation of treatment” or even a “decrease in dose.” The solution: resume the previously prescribed dose. Then “continue decreasing the dose but at a more gradual rate.”

We did not find any actual guidance on how to stop duloxetine (Cymbalta) gradually. For one physician that might mean over a week. For another health professional, “gradual” might be interpreted as a month. But the company and the FDA seem to be very careful not to provide clear and concise recommendations. That means that physicians are pretty much on their own and that leaves patients vulnerable to all sorts of complications.

a bottle of Cymbalta 20 mg

Withdrawal Stories from Patients:

Cindy in Dickson, Tennessee went through hell:

“I have been on Cymbalta for about 2 years. I recently ran out and didn’t have the money to refill my prescription. It’s been 6 days. My body hurts, I feel like I’m sweating from inside, upset stomach, whooshing in my head and brain zaps.

“Yesterday, which would have been day 5, I could barely move. I was very sick to my stomach and throwing up. I was going to refill it today cause I had 1 refill left but it expired on 5/19 so I couldn’t refill it.”

Angela in Palo Alto, California, had a similar experience:

“I’ve been on Cymbalta for the past 6 years for depression. My new insurance would not pay for my meds without a prior auth. I’ve been waiting for a month for my Dr. to handle the paperwork.

I’ve been so sick. Headaches, sweating, thoughts of killing myself, hostility, crying, not sleeping, feeling of everyone around me is gonna die, can’t think clearly, the runs, chest hurting, wheezing, and so much more! I finally got my thoughts right for me to look up Rx discount today. I’ll be getting my meds tomorrow. Thank God!

JoAnne in New Market, Ontario, adds:

“I came off Cymbalta two weeks ago. Oh My God! I don’t mind pain, but this is sick.
I have nausea, runs, stomach pain and headache.

“Well at least I don’t have thoughts of suicide. One minute I am cold and the next hot and feverish. Some times light hurts my eyes. I have gas, burping and farting.

“Then I have moments of wanting to just break down and cry for no reason at all. Chills. I am having a bad moment now. I just want to go to bed and stay there until it all passes and God I hope this passes soon. Shortness of breath. Please tell me it will end soon.”

There is no way to predict how long withdrawal symptoms will persist for any given individual. Some people tell us that after several weeks of unbearable symptoms, things gradually begin to smooth out. Others tell us it takes months. That is why it is essential never to do this on your own or suddenly.

Nancy in Florida was taking a different antidepressant: citalopram (Celexa). Here is what she reports:

“I was on citalopram for many years. More than one doctor tried to tell me that there were no side effects if you quit. More than one time I tried to go off but would have major crying spells and irritability.

“I finally got off of it by taking 2/3 of a pill for one month, then 1/2 of a pill for 1 month, then 1/3 of a pill for 1 month, then 1/4 of a pill for 1 month. Then I went to 1/4 of a pill every other day for a month, then every third day, etc. It was an incredibly slow process but did not cause any problems.”

Kassandra in Arizona had physician support:

“I am currently on duloxetine for my extreme nerve pain related to sciatica. When I asked my doctor about the reported difficulty of stopping duloxetine, she said that she would put me on a different drug while I reduced the duloxetine, and that it would reduce the side effects. She also said that it can take months to get off it completely, and should not be rushed.”

How to stop duloxetine (Cymbalta) from “Hopeful” in Indiana:

“Getting off of Cymbalta was the hardest physical thing I’ve ever done in my life. Many doctors don’t realize how difficult it is or that you have to taper – mine did not.

“I found A LOT of help online — my withdrawals were so difficult, I’m not sure I would have survived if I had not found all the online resources and other people’s stories of how difficult getting off of it was and the techniques they used.

“What I did, safely and carefully, was actually open the capsules and count the beads in order to taper down. (Cold turkey is horrible and was simply not do-able for me!) This counting of the ‘beads’ was detailed in many places online.

“I went down VERY slowly and this greatly minimized the horrors of cold turkey. I think I took 3 solid months to go off of it completely. I took a LONG time to phase off this drug. Even then, I had bad side effects and my brain didn’t ‘heal’ completely for 9 months. I had bad memory problems, extreme difficulty with logical thinking, exhaustion, physical aches, and more. BUT I DID get better finally; it was just a very long, painful journey.

“Now I continue to experiment and research and have had successes with natural alternatives to a prescription antidepressant. I understand deeply how much antidepressants are needed for some people, but after my terrible experience with going off of Cymbalta, I hope to not use one again. (And the fact that the manufacturer doesn’t make a tapering dose/pack is unbelievable given the bad results of cold turkey.) I have much sympathy for you and urge you to search online regarding how to best go off Cymbalta. I wish you well. Hang in there – it can be done!”

We are grateful for “Hopeful” in Indiana for her guidance. Many visitors to our website have successfully tapered off duloxetine by removing a few pellets from the capsule each day. Some have gone so far as to remove only one a day for awhile until the body adjusts. Because duloxetine comes in a capsule with tiny pellets or beads containing the active drug, it is actually possible to lower the dose very gradually over a period of many months. If symptoms show up, a slight increase in the dose may suppress the discomfort.

An Alternate Approach from a Physician:

We were contacted by a board-certified family physician who specializes in pain and addiction. He reports that:

“The best way to stop this drug is to put the patient on fluoxetine (Prozac) for one to two weeks. You then stop the Prozac. Prozac is so long lasting that it gradually decreases blood levels slowly enough so that the discontinuation syndrome doesn’t happen.

“This is simple and inexpensive. It is important, as you say in your article, that people do not stop this medication [duloxetine] on their own. However, it is not necessary to go through the ‘Chinese water torture’ by such a prolonged and unnecessary tapering regimen.

“Since most physicians do not know this simple trick, it is up to the patient to ask their physician to use the simple method.”

Once again, we recommend this be supervised by a physician who is knowledgeable and sympathetic. Some people may be successful with the prolonged tapering regimen described by “Hopeful.” Others may find the fluoxetine substitution for duloxetine a helpful strategy under close medical supervision. Because each person responds differently, we hope that the health professional who assists in this process is patient and understanding.

Here are some links to other articles to consider:

Stopping Duloxetine (Cymbalta) Suddenly Flipped her Out

Stopping Cymbalta Suddenly Triggered Emotional Roller Coaster Ride

Stopping Cymbalta Suddenly Led to Disaster

Reader Enraged by Advice about Stopping Cymbalta

Share your own duloxetine (Cymbalta) story in the comment section below:

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  1. Rosie D

    Has anyone used the supplements from the road back program. They also suggest tapering Cymbalta by reducing the beads in the capsule but have very specific supplements which they have produced to assist with the withdrawal and any side effects you are also suffering

  2. Martha
    Roane Co.

    My main issue is coughing. It starts with a throat tickle and proceeds to a coughing fit–with tears, runny nose, etc. I find myself apologizing for coughing, as I drink water and try to overcome the tickling in my throat. It happens when I am talking to friends or customers on the phone. The coughing also happens nightly, during the night, so that interferes with getting a good night’s sleep. That is the main reason that I am considering weaning myself off Duloxetine 30mg.

    Has anyone else here experienced the coughing fits?? It is interfering with my life, even though the medication certainly leveled out my mood.

  3. Patricia O.

    Who is the board certified doctor who recommended Prozac for 1-2 weeks? Very interesting to attempt for patients.

  4. Gladys

    Hi I started Duloxetine 3 years ago originally for my postpartum depression. I am on 60mg daily I really want to start weaning off it. I am scared I want to talk to someone that it’s going through the same thing or has had success story. I want to make sure it’s possible I have 2 children ages 7 and 3 I would hate to go through this when I have to take care of my little ones. Please need advice

  5. Annalilly

    My new refill for 60 mg Duloxetine is made by Lupin Pharmaceutical. The capsule contains 12 easily countable pellets, so I am now taking 6 each morning and hoping the rest of the weaning will not go too badly. I’m so sick of sweating all the time and my normally low blood pressure has jumped to 151/88 on Duloxetine! I would rather suffer the fatigue of Fibromyalgia than suffer this medicine.

  6. Susan

    Mine occur when I move my eyes or head laterally left to right. I do not experience pain, but it is terribly annoying. Imagine watching an old fashioned slide show in which the picture jiggles a bit before stopping. Along with the visual, there is a noise (for lack of a better term) in my head that can best be described as a “zing” and “thump-thump” as if something is falling downstairs. Sounds wierd, I know.

  7. Susan

    So thankful to those who took time to share their experiences. Otherwise, I would think my symptoms were “just me”. Like so many, a problem with prescription and insurance left me several days without duloxetine 60 mg. At first, I felt ok and decided I didn’t need this med. Then, the symptoms came with a vengeance: brain zaps, vision problems, headaches, hyperhidrosis, crying jags, feelings of not being myself…everything listed in so many articles. During this time, I also had a sinus infection to which I originally attributed all my ailments.

    After reading so much on the internet (thank goodness we have access to that) I am convinced that what I am experiencing is withdrawal, or, as Eli Lilly so placidly states, “discontinuation syndrome”. Withdrawal is, as one writer said, “horriffic”. This is my second week spent ensconced at home since the summer heat only exacerbates symptoms. I am determined to tough this out. No way am I going to reintroduce this med to my body even for the slim promise of “possible symptom relief.” I only hope and pray there will be no permanent brain damage although common sense would suggest otherwise.

    To all my fellow sufferers, you are in my prayers.

  8. Pamela J.

    I would Like To Reach out to Kent in Oregon, PLEASE. Your very 1st story here. Thank-you.

  9. Pamela J.

    P.S. Also, I am very nauseous. Threw up this morning, and I have been profusely sweating 24/7 since on this drug. I thought I was going through the change of life!? The buzzing, though, I can’t stand it! I Just want to say to everyone “Thank-You!” This is the first thing I have found about withdrawals. Just reading a lot of your stories, WOWSA, unbelievable! I now know I am not alone!

  10. Pamela J.

    I have been on Cymbalta now for at least 6- Years for Fibromyalgia originally! I ran out! And this is now day 6 or 7. I am a 57- yr old Female. I am also on a very powerful pain med, Dilaudid generic (Hydromorphone) 8-Mg. for past two yrs round the clock for pain!!

    I am going through the worst symptoms of withdrawal from the Cymbalta!! Buzzing in my brain is constant. Just when I think it’s going to STOP it starts back up again every time I move my eyeballs left to right. I am on the strongest strength, as there are only two strengths. I started on the lowest but moved to the highest, and I was told that this capsule is time-released!

    If all that isn’t bad enough I am living in a stressful home with two thoughtless adult kids. So, needless to say, none of them would go and get my prescriptions. I became disabled two years ago due to all my health issues.

    The other symptoms are a huge roller-coaster of tears. It comes and goes. Boy, though when it comes on it comes on strong. And the worst suicidal thoughts! And because I am living in constant stress with them I just want to flip out!!! The Word “Ballistic” comes to Mind. I was always a strong person but this is kicking my butt!!! Also, I never realized that the constant ear buzzing was from this!

    I think this is a very DANGEROUS DRUG! At this point I do not know what to do, since this is time release. Finally, after day 7 one of my kids decided to go get my Meds for me!? I should have gone to the E.R. I want this drug out of my system! Without sounding crazy, it’s the Devil’s drug!

  11. Betty

    I am currently trying to wean off of Cymbalta. I was initially taking 60mg. I am down to about 45mg.. I want to try every other day. The sweating has gotten so bad that I could not go out in this southern heat without my head being sopping wet. Had to go to church with a wet head. But I am trusting the Lord to see me through this, as I am currently experiencing body cramps and shortness of breath. I am due for a lung scan, as my doctor wants to check for blood clots. I truly believe that it’s just the meds. My question is: does anyone else experience shortness of breath as a side effect??

    • Logan

      Yes Betty, you are not alone!!!! I was on Cymbalta-40mg for a little over a year. I tapered down for 5 days, and then decided that I just wanted to get it over with. My WD symptoms have included slight nausea, definitely a shortness of breath, trouble focusing/thinking straight, rushes of intense anxiety and my least favorite of sleeping way too much. I have been Cymbalta-free for one week now. Good luck to you!

  12. E

    I had difficulty titrating duloxetine from 20mg every other day, upwards to daily, then alternsting with 30mg, finally managing 30mg daily after15 weeks. I got almost every side effect listed but was willing to try to continue to reach a theraputic dose for chronic depression and anxiety. Unfortunately I started to get involuntary arm and leg movements and rocking, with emotional distress and euphoria. Finally I started to get sessions of lightheadedness causing me to fall followed by rapid muscle spasms in back, neck, arms and legs which resembled seizures.

    My GP and Psychiatrist decided I needed to come off Duloxetine and so I am beginning tapering, but the ‘seizures’ stayed even when the erratic arm and leg movements eased. I’m taking the last 30mg tablet tonight after 10 days of alternating with 20mg tablets, and then I will be on the 20mg for a while before reducing that toalternate days.

    I am so appreciative for the post about using sticky tape to measure a removed % from each capsule – brilliant idea. I shall use this method to help me get off this drug as I can tell already that it is going to be difficult for me.

    It was the last antidepressant medication trial for me as I am too sensitive to these meds. It was worth a try for my mood disorder as all others have failed to work, but what I have experienced over the last month with my arms and legs having such odd sudden movements and euphoria turning to suicidal ideas in a matter of hours…. it shows what powerful things these drugs can be, and how they need to be used with caution.

    • Pamela J.

      You’re the first one I’ve read who reported involuntary arm or leg movements. I, too, get that and awful muscle spasms. The profuse sweating is just awful. I thought it was me going through the change of Life!? Wow! This is an awful drug, and they need to get rid of it!

      I am on Day 7 of the worst withdrawals you can imagine: crying fits every hour or two; aggressive anger; suicidal thoughts; big-time throwing up. You name it, I got it. After reading this, I just emptied 1/2 of the tiny Beads out of the Capsule and took one for the 1st time in 7 days. We shall see. By the way, I’ve been on the highest dose for the past at least 6 years. Good luck to all who are fighting this Devil Drug!

      For the past few months I have feeling a huge pressure in the back lower part of my skull. It’s a weird sensation, I will tell you!!! Like I’m thinking? “Jeepers! Do I have a Blood Clot?” My 80 yr-old mom passed away in May of 2018, and I cannot believe my lack of emotion, like no crying. Now I know it’s the Cymbalta.

    • Gladys

      Can you give an update on how it’s been so far?

  13. Bob

    Anyone out here that can advise me on withdrawing from Duloxitine 60 mg dr? My doctor gave me 20 mg, and I’m taking 1 in the morning and 1 in the evening. It’s not helping. Should I take 2 20 mg at the same time? I’m hurting bad. Dizzy, headache etc.

  14. Victoria

    I’m concerned about the doctor that said to wean off Cymbalta by taking Prozac. I took Prozac for a couple years, a low dose, and quit cold turkey when I read about the problems with people taking it long term and at higher doses: Diahrrea, stomach pain, crying jag, headaches – sound familiar? It’s the same as quitting Cymbalta. Never quit cold turkey, but also beware of substituting one drug for another while you wean. Though, to be fair, at least Prozac doesn’t cause brain zaps!

    • Rollanda

      I’m sorry to hear that but I have to tell you getting off it is the worst nightmare ever I tried to wean fast and I went into major detox so please slowly wean off of it slowly
      I was at 90 for year then recently tried to go from 90 to 60 to 30 tonight when I got to now and I waited to major detox shakes brains zapps throwing up the works so when they tell you to wean off of it do it slowly I have been down to 30 now and for the next two weeks I will do 30mgs daythen skip a day when they skip day I am still experiencing brains zapps
      The sad part is well I was on it I had no side effects of that then sweats now that I’m off it is awful
      Good luck everyone

  15. Delia
    Leamington, Ontario

    I have been taking Cymbalta 30 mg for 1 year now. I was prescribed this medicine for pain and anxiety due to an accident in 2012. One month after taking this medicine I started to feel slight side effects. I felt a bit of nausea and hot flashes and sweating which I never experienced before. Then as the months passed I started to feel dizziness and sometimes had difficulty with my vision. Then weight gain came along. I also had to get my ears checked because I was experiencing Tinnitus which is quite annoying. My doctor prescribed betahistamine for my dizziness. It did help for a bit. But I started to feel worse by the end of March. My wonderful physio therapist was getting concerned. She was doing her best to help me. She and I never once thought that it was this medicine. Even my phyciatrist didn’t realize it.

    So by the last 2 weeks in June I felt worse and worse. I decided to set an appointment with my doctor. On July 1st I went out to eat at a restaurant. I got up to go to the washroom, and as I was returning to my table, I blacked out for seconds and fell and banged my head on the corner of the restaurant bar and fell to the floor. Was taken to the hospital. Had a large bump on my forehead. The blood pressure was very high, especially the lower numbers. Did blood work and urine sample. Did a CT-Scan. Because my blood pressure was so high they tested my heart. The doctor said that all the tests came back good. So they discharged me the same day. I did tell the doctor in the hospital I was on Cymbalta. He said if I felt anything unusual to come back to the hospital immediately.

    So in the meanwhile I was at my wits end. Why was this happening? So on Tuesday July 3rd I don’t Know what made me decide to GOOGLE the Side Effects of CYMBALTA. OMG, there it was. Everything I was feeling and what was happening to me and my FALL was because of this medicine. I have no DOUBT. So I have decided to let my doctor know I am not taking this anymore. I don’t care what he says. But I do know from reading everyone’s experiences on how to stop taking it that I have to be very careful and be ready for whatever comes along.

    I will never suggest this medicine to anyone. I am looking at MEDICAL MARIJUANA. Wishing everyone the best and Fast Healings.

  16. Tracy
    Washington State

    I’m 55. I have multiple sclerosis. I have a lot of pain because of the work that I have done on my life, hard labor work for a female and, oh my gosh, I hate this medication. I was never told what Cymbalta would do, the side effects.

    I opened the capsule. I’m on 30 mg and tried to cut back to 20mg, and then I went psycho. I’m so sick to my stomach. I only took one tablet out of my 30, and I’m so sick from that someone should sue their pants off. Nobody told me that this was a drug like this, plus the weight gain. I’ve been on tons of other antidepressants and never, never went through anything like this. Please help! Who has been successful?

    • Cheryl

      Omg- I was put on this because the dr said it would help with my nerve pain in my hands- I too have MS.i just now decided yo get off Cymbalta because of the terrible dizziness I suffer when I forget just one dose. It’s hideous. I have a call into the dr. Right now. The SWEATING is unbearable! I just thought I had the longest menopause in history! The slightest bit of nerves and I drench myself. I hate this evil drug and the ignorance or blind devotion the medical field gives to pharmaceutical companies!! PS, I have been on 60mg for 7 yrs.

  17. Kacie
    Pittsburgh, Pa

    My doctor decided to wean me off of Cymbalta because I failed 2 sleep studies horribly. She felt maybe the Cymbalta is part of the reason. I was weaned over a 3 week period then stopped completely 7 days ago. I haven’t had one day that I haven’t vomited everything I ate. I’ve lost close to 10 pounds and every time I think it might be getting better I have to grab for the bucket. I will never except a new drug without first reading about its side effects and possible withdrawal symptoms!

  18. Maria
    South Africa

    Hi . I have been on 60mg Cymbalta for 12 years and need to stop taking it because I no longer have Medical Insurance. My ex husband has stopped paying and I cannot afford it anymore.

    My pharmacist said that the best way was to alternate days and not to taper to 60mg one day and 30mg the next. Yesterday I did not take one and today I will, although I have this zinging in my brain at the back of my head. Any thoughts?

    Will this work do you think>

    • Twylah
      Warsaw, MO

      I’m fine taking Vitamin E, 2000mg a day: 1000 in AM and 1000 at bedtime. It helps sooo much with the brain zaps.

  19. Donna

    I take 60 mg in am and 60 mg at pm . I am going to try to take just 60 mg at night . I want to come off this drug.

    • Lukas

      I tried coming off cold turkey, which I do not recommend. It was “like” my brain was attacking me. I had brain zaps/electrocution every minute. I was dizzy, could not stand up without feeling lightheaded, I was lethargic, I was scared of closing my eyes because the room will spin; my insomnia got worse. I was awake for hours. I was scared of chewing/eating food, because the brain zaps interferred with moving my mouth.
      I could go on and on about the horrifying withdrawal symptoms. I was prescribed Cymbalta 4 yrs ago for nerve pain for facial pain aka trigeminal neuralgia (the worse pain in life). My prescribed cymbalta has served it’s purpose. I told my neuro I want off. He tapered it to 30mg/am & 60mg/pm for the first month, & 60mg/pm the second month, and so on. Well, 48 hours into the second month the brain zaps became frequent, the inside of my head was burning. I was extremely dizzy, had to lean on walls or pause when walking; I had difficulty concentrating, I had
      short crying spells (not to mention the love of my life, my pet went to heaven a couple months ago), I had severe headaches which mimicked migraines. I hid the symptoms from coworkers and others. Driving home was scary. The brain zaps affected my sight/my eyeballs. My eyes hurt. I had to turn my neck to look around instead of just using my eyes. I wish I knew then what I know now. The weaning process continues.

      • SuzieWonder

        Could you define brain zaps? Are you referring to memory loss & dizziness or is it something else completely? I also have double vision & dry eyes.

        • Zoe
          Missoula, Montana

          I have always called the brain zaps my ‘slot-machine headaches’. It is the only headache that you can hear. If you’ve ever been to Las Vegas and watched someone who won on the slot machine the sound of the coins clanging down into the tray is what it sounds like. So, my experience is that even the slightest movement of my head generates electrical zaps originating near the place of movement going all throughout my brain while making an audible ding-ding-ding slot machine winner sound with every zap. When mild, it is just disconcerting. At other times it can be extremely painful.

      • Lacey

        This is my exact current situation I am In. Trigiminal neuralgia and coming off cold turkey 7 days in. Any advice. How long till it will get better?

  20. Ken

    Hey everyone, I’ve been on cybolta 30mg for about a year, for headaches I’ve been experiencing for a few years now, 2 weeks ago I decided to stop cold turkey, I have been so dizzy and natius and have had really bad headaches, this feeling has not gone away since I came off, it was so bad that I ended up in the hospital this past Monday, I couldn’t take it.

    My wife made a stupid comment while we were in the waiting room, I wonder if it’s because u came off that pill, omg I didn’t even think about that, now I’m reading about everyone with all of the same things I’m going thru. You might think I’m crazy but 15 mins after reading all of this i took a pill.

    I just can’t feel this way anymore, I’m going to continue taking it for a few weeks at the full 30 mg dose and start to wean off of it slowly, if anyone has any feed back for me please reply, thanks much.

    • Bob

      I get it. I’m trying to stop 60 mg of duloxetine. My brain hurts. I’m dizzy as hell. My blood pressure is unexplainably high. I now have diabetes as of yesterday. Plus many more side effects. I’m now 8 days in and using 20 mg duloxetine 2 times a day.

      Did you have any luck? Any advice? I used it for back pain. Been on it for 1 year. My doctor said it was not addicting, and it was OK to just stop using it. I now have a new doctor.

  21. Foggy but hopefull

    I am going off Cymbalta for the 3rd time and it’s hell. I can no longer tolerate the weight gain, the brain fog and leg cramps and jerking. I suffer from severe depression and pain in every part of my body. I’m allergic to all NSAIDS. I have fibromyalgia and lower back pain so of course Cymbalta seems like the Miri always drug for me. No it is not.

    It works for my pain but the inability to think is interoperable. I am an emotional zombie. So for the third time I have decided that I cannot live this way and am weaning off of the cymbalta. It is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I open the capsule and take a few beads out and put it back together and wait for that feeling of wellness to happen. I feel like a street drug addict waiting for that days fix.

    I do not ever want to take cymbalta again I would rather shuffle around from the pain of fibromyalgia and arthritis. It depresses me that this wonder drug is so harmful to the people that need it. And discontinuing it is even more harmful. As I’m sitting here writing this I want to pop a full strength capsule into my mouth and wait for that feeling then I remember the brain fog, the wishing in my ears and the sweating and I am determined to stay strong and be completely free of this drug.

    I have found that opening a capsule and counting the beads and decreasing them by 3 to 5 a day, keep the ones you set aside this is a long and terrible process. You will need everyone of those beads. You can put them in a spoon with honey so they go down. It’s the only way I have successfully Ben able to do this. Good luck everyone who is trying to wean themselves off Cymbalta. Talk to your doctor and let your family members know what you are going through.

  22. Bob
    South Carolina

    I’m a 74 yo male. I had bouts of claustrophobia starting around age 30 and occasional severe panic attacks. At age 43 I had a breakdown and agoraphobia. After years of therapy and various meds I finally had to stop working in 1998 at age 54 as the stress caused extreme muscular pain. I finally settled on cymbalta in 2002 and my life changed. I no longer had pain, depression or anxiety!

    After the Great Recession in 2008 I suffered great financial losses in real estate ($millions) and faced bankruptcy for years. Then in 2013 I was diagnosed with high risk prostate cancer and had three major orthopedic surgeries in 2012, 13, and 14. At the same time I had multiple treatments for my cancer including surgery, radiation and hormone therapy.

    My financial problems are over and I still have incurable cancer but cymbalta has enabled me to endure and stay positive. I could not have survived without it!
    However , for years I’ve had vivid dreams causing me to talk, shout and sometimes kick and punch and fall out of bed ! I’ve had every kind of dream imaginable: some nice sexual, some disgustingly sexual and/or hideous, some terrifying, some involving my deceased parents, many involving my former employer, some involving aliens from other planets, etc.!

    It’s driving my wife bonkers and she fears sleeping with me and fears traveling and sleeping in hotels or others’ homes for fear of my antics at night.

    So, I guess I need to wean off of duloxetine after 16 years on it since I can’t think of what else is causing this REM sleep disorder. I also have sleep apnea for which I’ve been using CPAP for the last two or so years.

  23. Deb

    I’ve been prescribed Cymbalta for my chronic neck and back pain. Surgery can not fix my back. I live in northern Michigan, and they absolutely do not prescribe opiate or scheduled meds, I can’t even get my (extreme) anxiety pills I had when I moved back from Florida. So I took the Cymbalta because it’s all I could get.

    I have been on 30 mg 1x a day. Will 6 weeks on this medication gonna be as hard for me to get off as someone who’s taken it longer? I don’t like how it makes me feel, and it does ZERO for pain relief. I could go crazy from the pain !!! Florida is a compassionate state. They have excellent pain management. I was pain free when I moved here to MI, felt great, had to go cold turkey off my pain meds and anxiety meds. I was on opiates, yes, for 10 years, same dose. I never abused them, usually had leftovers, but my Dr was great. I didn’t have to worry about addiction because this is a lifelong chronic condition.

    Now I feel so depressed. I stay in bed most of the time. I don’t shower for days. I’m too tired , exhausted and in so much pain I’ve become a recluse and want to just go away forever. Not giving pain medication to someone who’s seen a surgeon who made me cry when he said it was congenital is shameful.I have MRI scans, CT scans, and xrays as proof. It makes me want to go find drugs some other way. Anything is better than this life. Am I also depressed? You bet! Who wouldn’t be ??

    • Barb

      I have been on cymbalta for about 8 months. First 20 mg then 30 then 40. I have fibromyalgia, spinal stenosis and other major back issues. I also have many stomach issues. I have a doctor who is very understanding and gives me Vicodin 40mg at a time. She knows that I don’t abuse them and only usually take 1/2 to 1 a day. The Cymbalta was supposed to help but I started sweating so much I couldn’t stand it. I mean my hair and head were soaked even if I was inside with AC on.

      I asked to come off of it and have gone 2 weeks at 30 mg and then I am now on the 2 weeks at 20 mg. I am dizzy all the time but I am determined to get off of this. My next step is 20 mg every other day. I hate this medication. I can’t take Advil, as it does a number on my stomach That is why the internist recommended Vicodin. Does not bother stomach. Good luck to all who try to get off. I will not give up.

  24. Leenora

    I took 60 mg of Cymbalta for many, many years. I decided it was time to decrease the dose to hopefully help with my insomnia and also to decrease sweating. I did this over SEVERAL weeks. I took a 60 mg for 2 days and every third day took a 30 mg for 2 weeks. I then went to a 60 mg one day, 30 mg the next for 2 weeks – then to 30 mg for 2 days, 60 mg for one day for 2 weeks, and finally to 30 mg each day. The process took 6 weeks. I know this sounds like an incredibly slow process, but I did not have any of the horrible withdrawals others have had. My doctor thought it was a little extreme, but prescribed as I requested and am very happy with the results and no withdrawal symptoms.

    • Diane

      Hi Leenora,

      Could you write out what dosages you took for how many days again? The way its written is confusing me but I would like to try your method to get off this horrible stuff. I’ve been taking 120mg for the last 5 years, but it’s stopped working for me so I’m switching to Wellbutrin. Even though I tried tapering off while taking the Wellbutrin I’m still having the horrible brain zapping.
      Thanks so much!

  25. Jacqueline
    Fife, Scotland

    I live in Scotland and was put on duloxetine for neuropathic pain but was not myself. Tired to the point of exhaustion. I warned myself off from 60 to 30 to 20 but the withdrawal has been agonising. Brain zaps but worst my stomach and gut in constant pain and severe diahorrea and acid reflux. I will never go back on this awful medication. Gp should have warned of side effects and repercussions with withdrawal but no one did and yet it is agonising.

    • Barry

      Hi Jacqueline, I live just north of Lockerbie. Have been on 120mg of Duloxetine for many years (60mg am 60mg pm). I’m currently working with my GP, on my terms, to reduce this massive dose until I finally come off this drug altogether. I’ve had years of what others, including yourself, have been experiencing.

      Extreme exhaustion being only one of the many symptoms. I wish you luck in getting off this drug altogether. I’m sure your going in the right direction by taking it as slowly as possible to suit you, just take your time. We will get off this awful drug. Good luck.

  26. Andreia

    Hi, Can anyone tell me if you experienced tinnitus and if it went away with time? Best wishes I really need an answer

    • יעקב הלל

      A year of treatment of of arcupuncture by a person who has learned the proper treatment, should put you together. There are also procedures. I suffer tinnititus for years. I have started treatment, I do not have the funds for a whole year. Believe me I know what you are suffering. at tumes I get a nervous break down.

    • Marianne C.

      I have tinnitus. It has nothing to do with drugs, or your ears. It is from brain trauma. It never goes away! I’m sorry, it’s awful! Never any peace and quiet.

    • Lauren
      Wilmington, NC

      I have horrid tinnitus with this drug. It has to be Cymbalta because I never had it before and I haven’t suffered a brain trauma while I’ve been on it. It’s worse when I lay down at night – it’s enough to drive me insane. I hope and pray it goes away once I wean off this vile medication.

  27. Michael

    This is my 4th day off Duloxetine. I took 60mg for approximately one year to combat chronic, widespread pain. I was never one to like or ask to take pills. But, this time things were getting intolerable, so I agreed to give it a try. I felt better pain-wise. I never felt as mentally sharp will on Dulox, but I guess you can’t have everything.

    After a year and some positive life changes (divorce, living situation) I decided that I wanted to also remove this drug from my life. Reading the horror stories about the withdrawal syndrome just became more determined to get rid of this stuff.

    I haven’t noticed any remarkable withdrawal symptoms yet. There may be an extremely slight and non-debilitating sensation of a minor “zap,” reminding me of a small and harmless electrical shock lasting well less than a second and only happening now and then, but it’s so minor that I probably wouldn’t report it. This certainly can’t be the dreaded “brain zaps” that are mentioned here.

    Here’s how I stepped down; I was not about to drive myself crazy (or crazier) by attempting to count these microbeads, so I devised a consistent albeit not precise way to step down gradually…using scotch tape!
    First, I opened one of my green and yellow capsules by pulling the green side off the top. Then, by placing a strip of tape over the opening of yellow part of the capsule and flipping it upside down and back once, I had a nice, full circle of these beads that stuck to the tape. (The tape looked like the top of those great tasting Nonpareils candy!) I found that one, 60mg capsule would make almost 20 circles on the tape. So, I decided to drop one circle (5%) every 7 days.

    Starting the first week of February, I removed one circle of beads from 7 capsules by opening the capsule green side up, putting the tape over the opening of the yellow side of the capsule, flipping it upside down and back, and then closing it back up. The next week, I made two circles per capsule, etc. Once I removed maybe 5-6 circles from the yellow side of the capsule, I found that the remaining beads all fit in the shorter, green side of the capsule. So, instead of having to remove 8, 9, on and on from the yellow side, I could start the count over again from a full green side of the capsule. Having several strips of tape available by sticking one side to the edge of my desk and slightly folding over the opposite end to give me a nonsticky way to grab the tape helped.
    My last pill was Saturday, and that ended a week of approximately 5% of my original intake, or 3mg. It took almost 4 months to step down this way, but it worked well for me. (I did cheat a few times and only go 5 days before dropping down again because things went well.)

    I don’t have any of the original pains, I feel sharper and happier, and I’m very grateful that I am off and will stay off this crap.

    Lesson learned? If I have to ever be prescribed another med for something, I need to do a better job of researching…all of it. I paid attention to all the paperwork that talked about the possible side effects, but of course none of the info about withdrawal problems was included in that paperwork.

    I also strongly believe that reducing/eliminating some of the stressors in my life did as much, if not more, for my health as any medicine could. Life was always good, but now it’ even better. Good luck to those working through this problem. You can do it!

    • Ern

      Michael from TN, great idea using tape. I started titrating from 30-mg, mid-May using your tape method. One more week of 2 circles, then it’ll be 3.

      I was in the military and a stressful civilian job. My ptsd was so bad, the docs put me out of work. My anxiety attacks were 2.5 hours long. If one hit right after the other, then I was looking at 5 hours of pure ANXIETY HELL. First doc gave me Xanax & Ambien. Xanax worked at first. Then it was 2 Xanax, then 3, then 4. Yes…Hooked. My doc moved, so I titrated off of Xanax (6-months worth), and my new doc gave me duloxetine. For me, it took about 3 days to fully work. After which, my anxiety attacks were few and far between. So much so, I had forgotten what an attack was,and when I did have one, I hauled butt to the ER thinking I was dying. Got billed some bucks for a stupid anxiety attack that I should have recognized.

      Couple of months ago, my psychologist finally discovered the origin of my issues. Seems the sleepless nights, anxiety attacks, night sweats, suicidal thoughts, thoughts of dying, have changed or (hopefully) are gone. So, the titration off of duloxetine. Between discovering the origin and the decision to titrate, my heart started racing now and then, leg twitches, dry mouth, etc. I did my internet MD research and saw that these issues are symptoms of using duloxetine.

      So, do I have any regrets using duloxetine for about 5-years? Compared to having 2.5 to 5 hours of an anxiety attack? Absolutely NOT! I keep my fingers crossed and prayers to God that I won’t have another anxiety attack. Then I’m done with this portion of my life, and I can live once again.

      • Stacy

        This is brilliant! I am so doing this! I have been tapering successfully until last evening. This will be my approach from here on out. Thank you for this first bit of hope in all the reading I have done on this subject!!

        In health,

    • dorothy

      Thanks for the detailed description! I was on Effexor for a few years and discontinued it (under Dr. supervision) – awful. Still fought with depression, and eventually shifted to duoloxitine. Worked well for my MS neuropathic pain but not for depression, so I got whapped with Wellbutrin as well. Success!

      The Wellbutrin works well on depression (a situation unlikely to change as I have lesions in mood sectors of the brain) so I am now weaning off the Cymbalta (duo…). Side effects not quite as bad with another antidepressant on board. Doctors recommend a short course of Prozac to balance the serotonin – say 5 days. It is long-lasting so it hides the side effects and tapers more gradually. So they say…;-)

  28. Wanda

    I have been off of duloxitine completely for 2 weeks now; after a very gradual tapering that included counting the tiny beads and re-capsuling them in vegetable gel caps. It hasn’t been easy. I have been very emotional and irritable. I don’t know if the emotional part is just normal emotions or from the discontinuation (syndrome). I have been on an antidepressant for fibromayalgia for nearly 20 years. first it was fluoxitine (Prozac) and then there was the upgrade to the miracle fibromyalgia drug duloxitine (Cymbalta). My physician did that for me 18 months ago on the recommendation of a rhuemetologist. Later I was sorry that we did so, as I became very forgetful and have lost my reputation for being reliable at work. I also had to worry about actually loosing my job. So I asked my physician to help me in the tapering. She has been great. Even though we had to talk- off the record at times. The denial of the problem with duloxitine has to be reckoned with by the medical system and the FDA!
    My point in writing this was to let Kassandra in Arizona know that I was taking both fluoxitine and duloxitine together in small doses each while I transitioned onto duloxitine. Long story short, It may not work out as rosy as your physician says. I could barely function at work! I felt like I was floating and could not think straight which was terrible because my job is to work with other peoples finances.
    Back to the present- I am so glad to be free of all antidepressant medicine! It continues to be rough going through the discontinuation period- how ever long that may be. My main problems seem to stem from my brain and body re-adjusting to normality. I am so excited to find out what “Normal” feels like. Don’t get me wrong- I have experienced brief suicidal thoughts which I found shocking and concerning. I have dealt with inappropriate anger rising in me which I attached to what ever was going on, not visa-verce. Luckily, I had found an article about this happening during withdrawal from Cymbalta. Just knowing this helped. I have been easily nauseated and had diarrhea too. So it has been rough going. But I hope to come out on the other side of this just fine. I am taking a more natural approach for my pain now. That is a story for another time and place though.

    • Ern

      I’m on 30mg for PTSD/ANXIETY attacks. Works very well for me. No argument here. After years of psychological help, I’m going to get with my doc and go down to 20mg for a while. Then lower and finally off.

      Yes. I do get a twitch or ringing in my ears once in a while, racing heart, brain zap once in a blue moon, but compared to raging and all day anxiety attacks, yeah….I’m leary of stopping this med. Going to try the tape method as stated by another person.

  29. Debbie
    Altoona PA

    I’ve been taking 30mg Cymbalta for approximately 1year. I can no longer take the brain zaps,difficulties with speech, and no energy!! I quit it cold turkey, haven’t taken any for 5 days. No real problems as of yet. Just insomnia and increase episodes of anxiety. Brain zaps still here…they drive me crazy!

    I will say though the Cymbalta did get me through very difficult time…just in the last 10 years fibromyalgia dx after chemo and radiation tx, then recently fell ill with Lyme disease which threw me into another episode of major depression and anxiety. I Lost the ability to continue working as RN and learning to live with much less. But I made it !!! Time to move on and leave Cymbalta behind me. Wish me luck….thanks

  30. Maureen

    HelloI have been on 60mgms of Duloxetin since Feb 2018,so not long for Fibromyalgia.Reading these articles I need to stop it.
    How can I do this safely.

    • Jackie
      Naples, FL

      Hello all,

      I am currently weaning myself off Cymbalta. I have been on it for 10 years for fibromyalgia, but am going to try to have a baby soon. Anyway I have a couple of tips!

      1. You need to open the capsules and make lower doses for yourself to not have AS MANY issues. I did half a 30 (I eyeballed it… I didn’t take the time to count the beads- seems fine) for two weeks. I definitely had some lightheadedness/head rushes, headaches, tired feeling. I am now on a little less than half because at the end of the two weeks I was feeling decent. Same symptoms repeating- also noticing some depression. This brings me to my next tip:

      2. Get yourself some 5-htp! For those who don’t know 5-htp is a supplement (you can get at a GNC or online) that helps your body produce serotonin. Cymbalta affects serotonin levels, so going off of it leaves you with a lack of serotonin. 5-htp is definitely making a difference! I take 2-3 a day, and this morning I felt a noticeable change in my mood within an hour of taking it.

      Hope that helps!

      PS: If you happen to be a teacher like me, start your withdrawels in the last month of school so you can quit during the summer. :)

    • Cathy
      Peoria, AZ

      Thank you Debbie for your post. I went off the same mgs 4 days ago. I feel like crap, but once I made the decision I didnt want to wait. I am hoping I wake up and feel a bit better than I do now.

      My head feels like I am in a fog, and an overall feeling of dizzy. After reading other side effects I guess I have been lucky so far. I went on it for sleep, which I dont believe it helped as much as several different supplements.

      Trying a new one this week, so I hope I can solve this insomnia without a prescribed drug ever again.

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