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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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 ??

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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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