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. Carrie

    I’m going cold turkey with Cymbalta, I wasn’t sure the horrible stomach ache I had was withdrawals but after reading everything I’m sure it is. Vertigo, headache, nasea, pain in stomach is awful but it’s been 3 weeks and there’s no way I’m going to put another pill in my mouth, this stuff should be outlawed!

  2. Brett

    I quit Cymbalta after the next dose they gave me made it seem like everything in the world was that much worse. What stopped the horrible brain zaps from freaking me out was the suppliment GABA that I picked up in the White Yellow and Blue store brand from the Vitamin store. I quit cold turkey. Nurses yelling at me, they were not there to help me when I needed so I just quit, and the Capsules are time released and I did NOT want one more bit of that crap in me. SSRI’s should come in adjustable doseages not the huge leaps that Cymbalta is prescribed at. I wanted to jump the hell off a bridge.

  3. Stacy
    St. Louis, MO

    I have been on Duloxetine (Cymbalta) since around 2012. Not for depression, but for the added benefits of headaches, back pain, urinary stress incontinence. I wanted to stop since it was not really working for me any more. I know now that it is because not all generic manufacturers are made like the name brand (especially those made in India). I tried to wean off (after my Dr. told me to just stop taking it in 2013) Yikes!!! Since June of this year, I have been weaning off a month at a time – 60mg to 40mg to 30mg to 20mg. I came across a board certified Dr. who deals with pain & addiction that said it is not necessary for the prolonged weaning off of this medication. Just take Prozac for only 1 or 2 weeks. The week in between not taking the lowest dose of duloxetine & starting prozac was pure hell! I am currently weaning off the prozac after less than 2 weeks. I am very hopeful for being off of any anti depressant in the near future!!

  4. Sue
    MA, USA

    I was on Cymbalta for 7 years for depression. I realized that it wasn’t working anymore so I weaned myself off of it (gave myself a good 6 months of tapering off) and stopped in December of 2016. I nevered suffered the brain zaps. I did suffer the extreme sweating, nausea, and my sleep has also been effected. I started getting these shooting pains going up my rectum but never thought anything of it. I thought maybe I was suffering hemorrhoids (mind you I haven’t suffered hemorrhoids for at least 25 years), and then the pain started radiating to my groin and hips (everything in my lower extremities started hurting and burning). I have been to a Gastro, rectum doctor, Gynob. I have lost over 30 lbs in the last 4 months, and doctors can’t figure out what is going on.

    I never thought to connect it with withdrawal from Cymbalta (I asked and told them, and they feel that it can’t be from the side effects) but after reading so many blogs of other people’s experiences I truly believe everything I have been experiencing is from coming off Cymbalta. I’m still in pain but not in the extremes I was in the beginning (it’s going on 10 months). All I have to say to anyone who is offered this drug is DON’ T take it! It has been a hell of a struggle, and I’m still struggling but I will never go back to this medication.

  5. crazygiraffelady
    mo, USA

    I ended up here because I was researching why I’ve been having severe pooping problems. As in oops that wasn’t just a fart, and several times of having to clean the whole bathroom because my bowels just exploded. No one else has put that as their side effect of withdrawal, but it has to be because I too cold-turkeyed Cymbalta 1 1/2 weeks ago. On it for fibro, and even though some of the other side effects are there, (thankfully not the nightmares, I don’t get enough sleep for that) I actually feel better for not taking it. The only pain med I can get prescribed is Tramadol, and that stuff is a joke. My morning routine was the Cymbalta and two tramadols, followed by two tramadols four hours later. And again four hours later. It seemed like the longer I was on it, the worse I was getting and missing work because of it. And I would zone out a lot, especially on my 45 min drive to and from work. When I drifted and almost hit the center divider, that was my last day of taking any more drugs!

    I’m going to deal with these side effects and actually having LESS pain being off them, because I really could be dead, or worse, harm someone else, while taking something that doesn’t work for me anymore anyway. I just got a bag of Pao D’arco bark for tea. I will come back in a few weeks to let you know how it works. Hope it helps with the other problem!

    • Karen

      I am absolutely mortified about coming off of Cymbalta. I had no idea it was going to as bad as it sounds. I am going to try it the way the physician recommended; which is go on prozac for a week or two then get off the prozac. Apparently the prozac takes much longer to get out of your system making it less likely that you suffer from side effects of withdrawal.

  6. Myra

    I am trying to get off 60 mg. Cymbalta generic duloxetine made or distributed by Lupin Company. I am convinced it’s some awful poison generated in China that made it’s way here. OMG— the worst ever! Inside capsule is white pellets (rat poison?) that I began taking on August 26, 2017 — I noticed the bottled from CVS Caremark mail order was different than my previous generic. Within a few days my entire system changed– worse IBS, not feeling “well” beginning to experience depression and symptoms that were worse than the symptoms that led me to take Cymbalta in the first place: I was very low and slow — weight gain, just ridiculous feelings. That is when I opened the capsule on Saturday to discover white pellets instead of beads. I have not taken any since then and yesterday was terrible withdrawal symptoms. Yes, I to taper off — but who wants to taper off poison. Going to Dr. on Wed. NOT HAPPY!

    • Karen F

      Tramadol is one of the most hazardous drugs u can take with cymbalta!!! Not recommended!!! Severe side affects! Dr should have known!!!!

  7. Rich

    Duloxetine 60mg morning and evening, with 600mg Gabapentin to sort out my nerve damage after thoracic surgery. OK the pains better, but I have had sweating, inappropriate cheerfulness ( despite the inability to orgasm), post-urinary semen drip, weight gain (10Kg in 10 months), the ability to fall asleep stood up in a tube train, zero interest in wife sexually. Wife has had enough. So I have cut my dose by 50% (just immediately). Side effects have been lots of inappropriate erections, slightly drunk feeling, keep waking up in the night, weight loss, feeling twitchy. Woke up and had hallucinations that my kids had put all my Bowie LP’s all over the bedroom floor (without sleeves) but these melted in my hands as I went to pick them up. Loads of other peculiar hallucinations, mostly harmless. Back now tingles mildly and so does fingers. Feel better for the reduction in meds.

  8. Patti

    Who is the physician that recommended prozac and where does he practice? Is he saying to take prozac with duloxetine for two weeks and then stop both or do you taper duloxetine first then take the prozac?

    • Karen

      I believe the Dr. meant to switch completely off of the Cymbalta and start taking the prozac alone. The once the prozac has gotten completely into your system, then wean off of the prozac.

  9. Deb

    I am very concerned. I have been on cymbalta for 7 years. I has helped. Now I have hypersensitivity to heat and it is a nightmare. I have lost trust in my psychiatrist. (Very famous) I come from a research md family and I am aware of the lack of sufficient knowledge of md and pharmaceutical companies. The latter are about greed.

    I will try to do this White a nurse that is also a nathuropatic specialist. I am sad that we all have to go through this journey. It is what it is. Will report. I take 90 mg. When I started I thought it saved my life.

    • Brenda

      I was wondering the same thing Deb, I feel he was saying ask your Dr. To add the Prozac for 1-2 weeks while tapering off this horrid drug, in hopes the Prozac would help ease those horrible side effects. I’ve been taking 30 mg daily for nerve pain.m, since July (3 months) I skipped two days and vomited off n on for five to six hours felt weak all day – I’m not a couch potato I work a lot, but this has happened twice and I carry a capsule in my purse so in case I forget I can take it immediately. I’ve gained 8 # and I have headaches if I don’t take my medicine as scheduled. I also have strange vivid dreams-
      . I’m going to call my neurologist Monday to get tapered off.
      What I have found that significantly decreases my pain is CURAMED- made by Terry’s Naturally – it’s cercumin and Tumric 500x’s stronger than other brands. I take two a day and I can walk much better and feel better- please give this a try – I purchase my Curamed at The Vitamin Shoppe I buy 120 capsules $89.99- you can take one daily , but two works best for my body – I’m 5’3 now 187#

  10. licoff

    seroquel has similar withdraw symptoms ,it is so hard to go through .you have energy loss,sweating profusely ,itching and heartburn.after 3 weeks and not getting better .if i can survive ,I will tell you how to deal with those horrible drugs .psychiatrists ere responsible to inform you the side effects.or help you the withdraw symptoms.Mine just said ,turn your A/c down to 60 .

  11. Beverly

    I was not doing well with Cymbalta and made the mistake of discontinuing it too quickly, which resulted in lots of problems. The worst was the “brain zaps”. I saw my doc today, and he prescribed Prozac which he said would definitely take care of the problems.

    • Deb

      I have tried to stop the way the dr prescribed, it was ineffective. I tried to stop counting beads and was told by the doctor that not all beads are created equal in the capsule, and that it doesn’t work.

      I didn’t follow through.counted beads and the symptoms were bad.

      Maybe I will go to India follow an Ayurvedic Detox program. Fxxx the pharmaceutical companies. Greedy sociopaths.

  12. Mary

    I am on day 3 of withdrawing from fluoxetine. I have reduced from 60mg to 20mg over 5 months and have now just stopped completely. I am already experiencing withdrawal effects and am quite concerned. Tinnitus, insomnia and when I do sleep – nightmares. Also digestive discomfort, and emotional lability. All this for trying to ease fibromyalgia. As an ex nurse I am really angry that I wasn’t warned that this drug has such an awful discontinuation experience. I’m just going to keep with the cold turkey as I really don’t want to take anything ever again.

  13. Kim C.

    I concur with OG, I was put on this drug 5 years ago because of severe sciatica. This January I had surgery for my neck, I almost died on the table from blood clot, it caused paralysis, etc. Was in hosp. 1 month, put on morphine 2 mo., no withdrawals when stopped.

    Decided to try it something else as still in bad pain and first time was told about this wonder drug, how it can cause Suicidal Thoughts, withdrawals. Can?? I was never told anything about problems with Cymbalta.

    I am now on day 7 of Cymbalta. The pain clinic was saying to get off this to try a different one but in same family! I feel like everyone else, I was lied to, cheated, Etc. And they’re passing it out to anybody with minor pain also. I had to sit there and listen how bad opioids are and how great these drugs are.

    I thought I was losing my mind so hubby said just Google Cymbalta withdrawal maybe that says something, I was stunned most the stuff I was reading was from way back in 2010, 2011. Why is all doctors, pharmacists looking at me blank when I am saying don’t believe me just pull up withdrawal sites from Cymbalta. They’re trying to tell me that I am an unusual case.

    Oh, and the best part go back on it for now. And the worst thing is I have read over and over about people just accepting they can never get off of it because it’s so vicious. Anyway I would say as bad as my surgery was almost killing me this is a pretty close second. I take oxycodone for pain and was warned and warned and warned, great I have never abused it. So as I meant to say, where is the public screaming, where is the public outrage???

    How can you put people on drugs and then after they’re on it say they may not be able to physically quit it and still say if you’re unhappy with it let’s try you on a different same family drug!!! one last thing, I was grateful after reading some of the withdrawal problems that I wasn’t getting well now I am finding out they just hit at different times.

    Now I am starting the wacko dreams, nausea, basic fear, body zaps. Just got off the crying Jags, LOL. Sorry to be so long-winded but seriously people something has to be done to warn everyone else who hasn’t had the pleasure of quitting (or trying to) yet.

    • Patricia
      Southern California

      I was on duloxetine for several years to help with my vertigo. I am now trying to ease off of it. For the past several months, I have been down to taking one 20 mg capsule every day to one capsule every other day and then every third day and now I have stopped. I’m getting side effects such as sweating, headache, tinnitus, nausea, etc. but it is doable so far.

      If it reaches a point where I feel it endangers my health (I am 77 years old) I will go back on a capsule every other day with half the amount in each capsule. Don’t know what else to do…my neurologist doesn’t know why I can’t just stop since I’ve brought myself to such a low dose. He just thinks I’m the “super sensitive type”. Glad to run across this page and know I am not alone in this.

      • Joy

        I cannot believe the manufacturer of Duloxitine is allowed by the FDA to continue to manufacture this extremely dangerous drug. I accident aly went cold turkey by failing to put that pill In my daily meds. I honestly thought I was losing my mind and the brain zaps were unbearable. I have reduced to 20 mg and have no idea how to reduce dosage slowly.
        I think a class action suit against this manufacturer would be in order.

  14. Cherrie

    I have taken duloxetine (Cymbalta) for about 10 years now for muscle pain related to fibromyalgia. Though it worked pretty good (though not totally) for the pain, I can’t believe I have stood this medication for this long due to the horrible heat intolerance it gave me, sweating constantly with the least bit of activity. I decided to wean myself off and boy did I have a surprise!

    After attempting to cut this medication down by opening my 30 mg capsule and taking only half the beads (there are about 200-300 small beads) for a few days and then reducing it to maybe 1/4 and then none, I started having horrible withdrawal with ringing in ears, sleeplessness, sadness and crying, roaring in my head and dizziness, agitation. So, I checked the internet and found it interesting there were no many others who have experienced this. I followed other’s advice and started ‘counting’ the beads and reducing out 1 bead a day. What a hassle!

    But the withdrawal stopped and I am now down to 60 beads out of a 30-mg capsule a day with no symptoms. However, my muscle pain has returned full force. I am so hesitant to even try another medication and just go with exercise and massages to try to find some relief. Anyone else with fibromyalgia have this problem?

    • Deb

      D-Ribose, or Ribogen is a derivative from the magnesium family. It helps muscles absorb more oxygen. It reduces pain and muscle spasms. I have been using it daily for 4 years now. You can get it at GNC. I am currently weaning off Cymbalta cold turkey after being on it for about 10 years. I have very loud tinnitus but no other symptoms. I believe the Ribogen is helping with the muscle pain. I am also using medical marijuana oil for sleep and pain. So far so good. This is day four only.

      • Mary

        How are you doing now? I am on day 3 of what started out as a mistake became a cause upon hearing about all of the side effects. Using similar supports.

  15. Patti

    I was on Cymbalta for seven years and slowly realized that it was no longer working. Depression and anxiety were really bad. I went to a psychiatrist and he told me to stop taking it and he put me on Lexapro. I have been taking Lexapro for 11 days now. At first I was okay, but I have had loose bowels for several days now. I was taking pepto bismol for awhile, but stopped and am just eating bland foods now. I don’t have much of an appetite anyway. My depression and anxiety are bad again. I am going to talk to my doctor on Thursday at my next appointment.

    • licoff

      is ant way you can help to me the sweating profusely and sensitive to lights.I take benadyl 12.5 mg ,it only works for 3 hours.it seems the withdraw symptom cause histamine release .So antihistamine works ,but how long ? I can’t take benadyl at work ,still unbearable sweating makes me want to quit the job

  16. Mary

    Can someone help me please? My doctor told me to wean off this drug by skipping days. I had been taking 30mg for 4 months. I have cut down to one pill of 30mg every six days. Everyone on this site says I should have been beading… what do I do now? I have had headaches and dizziness as I approached day 5 without the drug. How can I get off this ? Thank you!

    • Terry
      United States

      I have been on the 30mg for about 6 years. Recently I was diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea and I am now using a CPAP. I met with my psychiatrist and asked about going off Cymbalta to see if not having sufficient rest was the cause of my depression and not other issues. Since 20mg is the lowest therapeutic dose, she felt that I could go off of them without going to the 20mg. I stopped Saturday Sept. 2nd. It wasn’t until Monday the 4th that I started experiencing brain zaps and brain fizz. I have suffered with Tinnitus since taking Cymbalta and went off of it for awhile a few years ago. The Tinnitus didn’t go away. But I am now experiencing surges. I am calling her today to see if she can prescribe anything to help with the withdrawal symptoms. She said it should be gone from my system within 2 weeks.

    • Lynn

      Go to the group “Cymbalta Hurts Worse” on Facebook. It is the best advice I have seen. I’m following their recommendations and have had virtually no side effects so far. Highly recommend their tapering methods.


    Took this or 10 days for chronic back pain. It killed the pain but killed my stomach, killed my sex life, made me feel foggy and dizzy and like a robot. I stopped taking it two days ago. This morning is day 3,and I feel very dizzy. I had horrible nightmares last night with little too sleep. Whoever approved messing up your whole mind to get rid of pain is a moron. Do not start taking these drugs for pain. It’s not worth it. Plus, you’ll save money on toilet paper because you won’t have constant diarrhea.

  18. Naomi

    After reading all these comments I’m going to my doctor I’ve been on it a year. I’m really scared. My friend tried going off of it, she got deathly sick why is it on the market?

  19. Naomi

    If the drug companies knew about all of these side effects why did they still manufacture it.I’ve been on it for a year .I’m going to my doctor and getting off this stuff

    • Johnnyhonest
      Living in hell

      In response to Naomi question: If the drug companies knew about all of these side effects why did they still manufacture it. I’ve been on it for a year. I’m going to my doctor and getting off this stuff.

      Let’s be real, if you can get FDA approval for a drug that would be a ‘one-way’, ‘lifetime trip’, what a cash-cow that would be. Is truth stranger than fiction? No! The truth is MORE BAZAAR. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS PENETRATE THE OBFUSCATION, AND SEE WHO THE OWNERS OF THE GENERIC MANUFACTURERS ARE. Then, you you are maximizing revenuesl.

  20. Angela

    I took Cymbalta for over 5 years, but felt it was no longer helping me and decided I wanted to stop taking it. I also moved to another state around this time and lost my doctor, so I really had no help in developing a plan for discontinuation or a doctor to help me through it. I tried to stop taking it cold turkey, but I discovered quickly that it wasn’t the best method. Almost immediately, I started to feel like I had the flu. I was achy and dizzy and felt nauseated all the time. But the worst symptom of all was the night terrors. I had Freddy Kruger style nightmares that were so bad, I was afraid to sleep. I started taking it again as prescribed and called my local pharmacy for help.

    The local pharmacist was extremely helpful in helping me develop a plan for how to discontinue Cymbalta safely. It was a royal pain in the rump, and it took SIX MONTHS for me to get off it completely. It involved opening the capsules and decreasing the amount of little balls in each capsule. The pharmacist told me I could pour the contents of the capsules into yogurt or cottage cheese and take it that way. I also did a lot of research on the internet and found some helpful discussion threads.

    I will say that, although it was slow getting off it, I had ZERO withdrawal symptoms. If someone is looking for a good way to discontinue Cymbalta, call your local pharmacy for advice on how to taper off the capsules. I’ve been Cymbalta-free for over a year now, and I’ve had no problems.

  21. Sue

    Here are some more that cause discontinuation symptoms.

    One is Paxil. I should have never let myself get talked into taking that stuff in the first place. It caused substantial weight gain, despite a diet and exercise regimen. It also caused daytime sleepiness. My doctor gave me a tapering chart, and then went out of town. One day at work, I had a sudden, I mean sudden onset of several unpleasant symptoms at all once. Nausea, dizziness, severe anxiety, the sensation I was moving in ‘slow motion’, and the people at work told me I had no color in my face.

    I carefully drove home, called the Dr.’s office, and they told me to take 2.5 mg valium. This happened on a Friday; instead, I took 5 mg every six hrs, cancelled all my activities for the weekend and toughed it out for several more days. Then things evened out. Paxil has a short half-life, so the stuff leaves your system quickly. When I described the severity of my symptoms, my doctor had the nerve to tell me I was exaggerating. Too many doctors don’t have a clue on how to get their patients eased off these drugs.

    I’m taking the long route with gabapentin, and made my own chart. I started April Fool’s day, 2017, and I’m still tapering. I was on 900 mg; now I’m down to 100 mg every other day. It hasn’t been a breeze, but I haven’t had the nightmarish experiences I’ve heard from others. My plan is to be completely free of this drug by mid-July 2017.

    The worst time I had discontinuing a drug was stopping Prilosec, a heartburn medicine. I did this under a doctor’s supervision, and it was still awful. It took a total of 5 months, and a heap of rebound heartburn. Even after that, I had to watch my diet carefully. I still take an acid reducer because my doctor wants me to, but rarely get heartburn. One reason I rarely have problems is I lost 30 pounds. This is one of the single best things people can do for themselves to reduce and possibly even resolve their acid reflux symptoms. This is one I wouldn’t recommend trying to do alone – you’ll need your doctor’s help. Along with the acid reducer, a generic for Pepcid, I kept almonds and papaya enzyme tablets handy. A few almonds does a great job, and the papaya enzyme is good too. You can get it a Whole Foods and other health food stores. I’ve read about the mustard and vinegar remedies; I’m skeptical about trying to fight acid with more acid.

    If you don’t think you’re in charge of your healthcare, take a look at your checkbook and your insurance premiums. Good luck and good health to everyone.

    • Deb

      Taking an acid reducer such as Prilosec or any oth RX for acid reflux, just increases the problem. It stops your body from producing acid, so it’s harder to digest food properly. When the pill wears off, your body goes into overdrive to make up the lack of acid. Taking liquid apple cider vinegar or the tablets of the same, signals to your body that you have enough acid and it reduces production of acid. There are no nasty side effects on or off, and you can take them as you need them, but don’t exceed recommended amount on the bottle. If it doesn’t work, then you need to see your Dr.

  22. Francy

    Somewhere in the mid 1990’s, I mentioned to my podiatrist that I had restless legs. He put me on Cymbalta. I didn’t know of all the other things it is reported to help. At some point, I was switched to Duloxetine and I think the symptoms of the brain buzz are worse on this one. If I miss one day I get those buzzes.

    So, now years later I am a type 2 diabetic and my GP said the duloxetine was probably the best bet to help with neuropathy and my arthritis. I don’t like taking something that is so hard to stop taking. Heaven forbid that I am not able to afford this – stopping abruptly would be a disaster.

    Or, as in the case of my husband in the ER or another nursing home after an incident related to his 8-year survival from a major stroke – the Doc took away all meds for several days – horrible and then they might start him on the ones they like instead of the ones that had been successful for his condition.

    I don’t know how to feel about this drug and whether or not I really need to take it. I’m seeing my diabetic doctor soon and will ask his opinion.

  23. Jane
    New York

    I was on 120 mg of cymbalta for years. For the last 4 to 5 years I developed involuntary movements (chattering teeth, teeth snapping shut, severely biting into tongue, hand tremors, jerking of arms and legs) so I finally asked my MD to take me off. He started me on a reduction that was way more than I could tolerate, resulting in severe depression, inability to function, brain zaps, balance problems, memory problems and more. Only by reading online anecdotal reports from fellow sufferers did I finally get off after 11 months and more suffering than I care to describe, by removing 3 pellets from a capsule every ten days and taking Abilify for the first 5 days of every reduction. After finally getting off, I found myself crying at every little thing for weeks, and brain zaps continued. Online accounts were the only help available. Thank goodness for them.

    • Pam

      HI! I am in the process of weaning off Cymbalta and am suffering. I like the removal of pellets from the capsule every 10 days and think I will step back up to taking my 30mg daily and removing the pellets from the capsule. It upset me to think that even after you doing that, you still experienced the withdrawal. I now know why a heroin addict keeps reaching for the needle, as I continue to fight reaching for taking that damned capsule just to get over this!

  24. Cindy M. Black

    Regarding the above comments and the case studies cited: HORRIBLE! There’s no way to believe these are just isolated cases, anomalies. The doctors who put these poor people on this drug and did not fully educate them of the associated addiction and withdrawal problems, should be arrested for assault. Period.

  25. O.G.

    The comments on this dangerous drug were all excellent. I both empathize and sympathize.

    I have commented on my own negative experience with Cymbalta before on this site, so I won’t go over that again: suffice it to say that stopping post-surgical morphine was much easier than stopping Cymbalta, which I had taken for only three days, and from which I experienced serious physical and psychological side effects even in that short time.

    My best advice to anyone prescribed this drug would be very simple: DON’T FILL THE PRESCRIPTION.

  26. shirley

    I was on cymblata for a little while (it did not make me feel very well). I had withdrawal symptoms. I had to see a psychiatrist who had experience in taking people off this med. Gradually I managed to get of it. He remarked that some people could never successfully get off Cymbalta and would have to stay on it the rest of their life. This was many years ago. I hope they have a better solution for it now.

  27. Rebecca

    Any experience with going off Bupropion (Wellbutrin)? I forgot it when I went out of town at end of April for a few days so decided to try to get off it. Had been taking it or something else for depression/anxiety for maybe 27 years. Doctor had me take a half dose for 2 weeks then alternate days for 2 weeks. I have no energy, am always tired even after a night’s sleep. Doc said it might take 6 to 8 weeks to feel better. Anyone else experience withdrawal symptoms from this drug?

  28. Sonia

    Just a question, Is “Fluoxetine 20 mg the same as Duloxetine?”. Really concerned after reading this article. My husband is on it now for the past 3 weeks. Thank you. Sonia.

    • Terry Graedon

      Fluoxetine is not the same compound as duloxetine. They are both SSRI antidepressants, but fluoxetine (Prozac) is a very long-acting compound and doesn’t often cause the type of withdrawal difficulties people report with duloxetine (Cymbalta).

      • Carey

        That said, you should taper off any antidepressant.

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