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Bluebottle - tapering duloxetine/cymbalta


bluebottle

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Hi, this is my second attempt at tapering this evil drug.  I've been on it for well over 10 years, originally at 120 mg but I've been on 60mg for at least 6 years and I feel that I can no longer tolerate the side effects, anger, impatience and emotional blunting.  I've also read that duloxetine shouldn't be prescribed to people with suicidal ideation and that this is even worse in withdrawal, which I find quite scary but I feel there's never a good time to get started, so it's now or never.

 

I've made up a week's worth of 54mg (5%) capsules using the scale method, I struggle counting beads.  I intend to reduce no more than 10% every 4 weeks and probably less.  When I tapered before I felt better until I went below 40 mg but I now realise I went far too fast and intend to take it slow this time.  

 

I don't know my ultimate aim, being drug free seems almost impossible, so I'm just playing it by ear and hope to reduce the duloxetine to 40mg and see how I feel.  I'm also on 7.5mg olanzapine, again I would love to reduce/stop this but I have no intention of tapering it until I see how I am on the reduced duloxetine.

 

My doctor is still prescribing 120mg duloxetine and 10 mg olanzapine, oh dear I forgot to tell her lol, and I'm in two minds whether I should tell her anything at my appointment next week.  It would be handy to have some 20mg tablets but I think it might be better to not tell her anything.  

 

Any advice/encouragement would be much appreciated especially success stories from people tapering or having quit duloxetine.  

 

Thanks for reading and good luck on your own journeys.

 

 

 

 

Approx 2010 - 120mg Duloxetine, 20mg Olanzapine

2018 - 60mg duloxetine, 7.5 mg Olanzapine

7 aug 2023 stopped 40mg propranolol (only taken rarely).

11 Feb 2023, 57 mg duloxetine

Supplements - Omega 3 - 2000 mg/day 

 

 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome to SA, bluebottle.  Thanks for completing your drug signature.  We're site for helping members taper psychiatric drugs and deal with withdrawal.

 

As you know we recommend tapering by no more than 10% of your current dose every four weeks.

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

The following link is specifically about tapering Cymbalta and includes information about the scale method that you've chosen to reduce the Cymbalta.

 

Tips for tapering off duloxetine (Cymbalta)

 

Side effects tend to lessen as dosage decreases, and so we hope that going down to 40mg will help in that area.  Regarding your ultimate aim, it's fine to play it by ear and see how things go.

 

Here's some information on withdrawal and why we get symptoms from going off these drugs.

 

What is withdrawal syndrome.

 

Brain Remodelling 

 

Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery

 

Daily Checklist of Antidepressant Withdrawal Symptoms (PDF) 

 

We don't recommend a lot of supplements on SA, as many members report being sensitive to them due to our over-reactive nervous systems, but two supplements that we do recommend are magnesium (glycinate is a good form) and omega 3 (fish oil). Many people find these to be calming to the nervous system. 

 

Magnesium, nature's calcium channel blocker 

 

Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) 

 

Add in one at a time and at a low dose in case you do experience problems.

 

This is your introduction topic -- the place for you to ask questions, record symptoms, share your progress, and connect with other members of the SA community.  I hope you’ll find the information in the SA forums helpful for your situation.  I'm sorry that you are in the position that you need the information, but I am glad that you found us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gridley Introduction

 

Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Begin Brassmonkey Slide Taper Jan. 2017.   

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

Oct. 30, 2020  Jump to zero from 0.025mg.  Current dose: 0.000mg

3 year, 10 month taper is 100% complete.

 

Ativan 1 mg to 1.875mg 1986-2020, two CT's and reinstatements

Nov. 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover to 18.75mg Valium

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper of 18.75mg Valium 

End 2021  year 1 of Valium taper at 6mg

End 2022 year 2 of Valium taper at 2.75mg 

End 2023 year 3 of Valium taper at 1mg

Jan. 24, 2024: Hold at 1mg and shift to Imipramine taper.

Taper is 95% complete.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan.-Sept. 2016 tapered to 14.4mg  

March 22, 2022: Begin 10%/4 week taper

Aug. 5, 2022: hold at 9.5mg and shift to Valium taper

Jan. 24, 2024: Resume Imipramine taper.  Current dose as of Feb. 22: 7.6mg

Taper is 90% complete.  

  

Supplements: multiple, quercetin, omega-3, vitamins C, E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotics, zinc, melatonin .3mg, anti-candida, iron, serrapeptase, nattokinase


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

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Hi Gridley, thanks for the welcome and advice.  Unfortunately I have realised I was calculating my dose wrong, maths ain't my strong point DOH.  Anyway I've corrected that now and will be taking 57mg starting tomorrow.  

 

There's lots to read which will keep me busy.  I'm having Epsom salt baths instead of a magnesium supplement but will get some omega 3 supplements tomorrow.  

 

B x

Approx 2010 - 120mg Duloxetine, 20mg Olanzapine

2018 - 60mg duloxetine, 7.5 mg Olanzapine

7 aug 2023 stopped 40mg propranolol (only taken rarely).

11 Feb 2023, 57 mg duloxetine

Supplements - Omega 3 - 2000 mg/day 

 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi, managed my first week on 57mg duloxetine with no adverse symptoms and made up my next week's worth.

 

I've got a doctor's appointment on Monday, so I'll ask her to prescribe 2 x 20 mg tablets.

 

Good luck everyone with your journey.

 

B x

Approx 2010 - 120mg Duloxetine, 20mg Olanzapine

2018 - 60mg duloxetine, 7.5 mg Olanzapine

7 aug 2023 stopped 40mg propranolol (only taken rarely).

11 Feb 2023, 57 mg duloxetine

Supplements - Omega 3 - 2000 mg/day 

 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Bluebottle,

 

I won't say it's easy but I think we all know this. 

 

I am on 19.5mg of duloxetine having dropped by only 2.5% from 20mg. I did experience suicidal ideation at approx week 2 into the dropped dose for approx 3 days. My mood has levelled out now.  I'm in week 3 of the drop.  For me, it's harder to drop now I'm at the lowest available dose of 20mg; that's why I'm only dropping by 2.5% and holding for four weeks. We are all different though. I just wanted to say you may feel those suicidal thoughts but they do go.  Try to remind yourself that if you start to feel this way. Good luck.

Jun '22: 20mg duloxetine. Oct '22: cross-taper to duloxetine. Aug '16: venlafaxine. Dec '15: sertraline. Aug '12: fluoxetine. Jun '11: Sertraline. Mar '10: Fluoxetine. Feb '10: Citalopram. Jan '10: Mirtazapine. Sep '09: Citalopram. Dec '04: Sertraline. May '03: Fluoxetine. 7 Oct '02 to 24 Oct '02: 70mg Lofepramine. Jan '02 to Sep '02: sertraline.

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Hi lisaloulou, thanks for the reply.  Looks like you've been jumping all over the place with different drugs over many years, sounds a bit of a nightmare.  I've been on most of those drugs too many years ago.  Mirtazipine was the best AD for me but I couldn't handle the weight gain, a couple of stone in a month or two!

 

Sorry to hear you had SI, luckily this time I've been ok that way but I'll keep it in mind.

 

My mood has been a bit unstable, increased anger and impatience and a little dizzy in weeks 2/3 which I think is down to duloxetine withdrawal.  I'm going to do another week at 57mg and hopefully then I'll be able to make another 5% reduction but I'll play it by ear.  

 

Good luck to you too

 

B x

 

 

 

 

Approx 2010 - 120mg Duloxetine, 20mg Olanzapine

2018 - 60mg duloxetine, 7.5 mg Olanzapine

7 aug 2023 stopped 40mg propranolol (only taken rarely).

11 Feb 2023, 57 mg duloxetine

Supplements - Omega 3 - 2000 mg/day 

 

 

 

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Hi Bluebottle,

 

I'm stable at the moment.  I'm going into my fourth week of the first 2.5% taper. 

 

The trouble is I'm getting different brands of duloxetine each time I pick them up from the pharmacy.  Some have approx 100 beads in and some have about 160. My brain has difficulty trying to work it all out. I tried buying a jewellery weighing scale but it wasn't reliable enough. The weight kept changing. I don't know if the scales are as reliable when you get down to the lower doses. 

 

It's weird how we all react differently to meds.  Mirtazapine was the worse one I tried. I was heavily sedated on them.  I suffered with restless legs too. 

 

I also get dizzy when I start to withdraw. Luckily I've not had brain zaps this time or tingling in my face.  I have that when I drop down too quickly.  

 

I'm seeing my GP next week to discuss the tapering. They have more or less just left me to it.

 

It's odd that we get put on these meds without a thought of how we can safely get off of them.  

 

I dropped down relatively quickly from the higher doses but I'm finding it more difficult now I'm at the lower dose. Sorry if I've already said this.  Honestly my poor brain cannot remember things at the moment.

 

All the best.

L x

Jun '22: 20mg duloxetine. Oct '22: cross-taper to duloxetine. Aug '16: venlafaxine. Dec '15: sertraline. Aug '12: fluoxetine. Jun '11: Sertraline. Mar '10: Fluoxetine. Feb '10: Citalopram. Jan '10: Mirtazapine. Sep '09: Citalopram. Dec '04: Sertraline. May '03: Fluoxetine. 7 Oct '02 to 24 Oct '02: 70mg Lofepramine. Jan '02 to Sep '02: sertraline.

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  • 8 months later...

Hope you are both managing as best you can! 
 

if comfortable doing so, could you both provide an update on how you’re travelling??

2016 - Tapentadol (Palexia) 100mg SR twice a day

2016 - Lyrica (Pregabalin) 300mg twice a day

2017 - Cymbalta (Duloxetine) 90mg once a day
2018 - Lyrica 150mg twice a day

2021 to Present - Lyrica 75mg twice a day

05/2022 - Started tapering Tapentadol. Doctor stupidly reduced me from 100mg to 50mg in 1 day. Huge withdrawals. Since getting down to 50/50mg I started getting this compounded myself by reducing 10mg in either the morning or night per month. As of 23/10/2023 am completely off Tapentadol. Withdrawal symptoms remain, but difficult to tell how much is Tapentadol, how much is Cymbalta, and how much is just me. 10/2022 - Cymbalta changed to 60mg in the morning and 30mg at night to aid morning struggles with high cortisol levels and due to the short half life. Brain zaps were the most common symptom besides general mental health deterioration. 02/2023 - Started tapering Cymbalta by counting beads. Reduced 60mg morning dosage by 5-10 beads per week on average. Once down to 30/30 I started taking out 5 beads per capsule per week = 10 beads total per week. Am currently on 24mg twice a day. This = 200 beads minus 40 beads per capsule. 160 out of 200 = 80% which = 24mg. Have not been great the last few months, but this is certainly due to tapering Tapentadol as well. Stabilised on 24mg the last month and will continue this until the 11/12/2023 when I will attempt to reduce slightly again. 
 

Presently on -

Tapentadol = 0mg. Cymbalta = 24mg twice a day. Lyrica = 75mg twice a day. 
 

Feel free to ask me anything about myself and this journey. Including withdrawal symptoms. 

 

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  • 2 months later...
On 11/11/2023 at 12:43 AM, thisisbort said:

Hope you are both managing as best you can! 
 

if comfortable doing so, could you both provide an update on how you’re travelling??

Sorry I've not been on for many months.  Unfortunately I gave up tapering duloxetine as the SI got so bad.  I eventually got down to 38 mg by tapering 5% every fortnight or less but I had to updose back to 40mg and stabilised for about 6 months until 5 Jan 2024.

 

I've struggled for many years since my old psychiatrist retired and my diagnosis changed from bipolar to borderline personality disorder.  I know I have bipolar and don't identify with the symptoms they say I have that fits with BPD.  Basically they twist everything into their diagnosis and lie on my medical records.  One quack told my GP that "suicidality is her normal behaviour, just let her get on with it".  I believe they are practicing "therapeutic withdrawal of treatment" as supposedly drugs don't work for borderline and I'm considered untreatable.  What they don't realise is that my mental health deteriorated significantly when my old psychiatrist retired and I ended up in intensive care when the new quack halved both my duloxetine and olanzapine.  This is not good psychiatric practice but I was told that I had to take personal responsibility for it.  Then I ended up in the psychiatric hospital when my duloxetine was cut to 38 mg by a different quack.

 

Luckily I got the report the last quack wrote to my GP back in June and refuted all his lies.  However, I have decided to go with his recommendation of trazedone.  Sorry if this is not within the ethos of this site but I'm trying to do what I think is best for me.

 

I tapered duloxetine over 9 days and have been off it since 14 Jan.  I had to wing it a bit with the dosages as I was taking a lot less than they believed.  

 

I'm getting some withdrawal, the insomnia was worst last night, diarrhoea is much worse than usual, I have IBS.   I have been a bit tearful and angry but no real SI.  However sometimes I feel more like my old self and I want to continue with the trazedone and hope for the best.  

 

I was wondering how long the WD may last?  I don't work which makes it a bit easier but winter is never a good time for me and this time is night and day compared to tapering duloxetine without adding another AD.  The side effects of trazedone sound pretty horrific but, touch wood, I think it is agreeing with me.

 

I'll try and update my signature if I can figure out how to do it.

 

Thanks for listening and caring. x

 

2003 - 2018 Started/stopped lithium, sodium valproate, fluoxetine, venlafaxine, seroxat, citalopram and many more that I can't remember. 2018 - 120 mg Duloxetine, 20 mg Olanzapine  2019  - 60 mg Duloxetine, 20 mg Olanzapine  Feb 2020 - Quetiapine - up to 200 mg slow release, 60 mg Duloxetine, Olanzapine to 10 mgu Aug 2020 - Tapered Quetiapine far too fast under GPs advice -  withdrawal symptoms included mood swings, insomnia, anxiety, dizziness (misdiagnosed BPPV), low blood pressure - 60 mg Duloxetine, 10 mg Olanzapine

4 Mar 2021 - failed taper to 5 mg Olanzapine 20 Mar 2021 -  reinstated 10 mg Olanzapine

19 Apr 2021 - 60 mg Duloxetine, 7.5 mg Olanzapine

24 June 2021 - 6.25mg olanzapine, 60mg duloxetine

22 July 2021 - 6.25mg Olanzapine, 50mg Duloxetine

10 August 2021 - 6.25 mg olanzapine, 40 mg Duloxetine

28 August 20216.25 Olanzapine35 mg Duloxetine - low mood/depression, insomnia withdrawal symptoms

26 August 2021 - 5 mg Nitrazepam , previously I took one 3 or 4 weeks ago;  7 October - 5 mg nitrazepam

Other meds/supplements:  solifinacin, loperimide, lutein/zeatheanin,, methyl cellulose, I also have nitrazepam, lorazepam, propranolol - I take rarely  

14 October 2021 stopped - magnesium oxide & B6, menopause tablet.  

5 Jan 2024 tapered duloxetine 40mg in days. trazedone 75mg.

14 Jan 2024 - 150mg trazedone, 7.5mg olanzapine, vit D, omega 3, simvastatin.  

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