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Fractal1133: Cymbalta Protracted Withdrawal


Fractal1133

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Hi, everyone!

 

I was taking 60mg Cymbalta for 13 years. I stared on 2011 and on 2013  I was experincing tiredness and sleepiness and was needing constant naps in order to be able to function. I also developed visual snow.

 

 

-2015 to 2022: I started to gain a lot of weight and was having extreme water retention. At some point, I was at 93 kilos. Nothing I did was helping with the weight. The fatigue and daytime sleepiness persisted. All my tests were normal.

I started to feel like the medication had something to do with it so I decided to cut the dose from 60mgs to 30mgs and it was fairly easy. I was able to lose some weight after this reduction and some of my tiredness and daytime sleepiness went away but not completely. A few months later I decided to go from 30mgs to 15mgs over 40 days. I experienced some withdrawal symptoms and a lot of general destabilization on several systems (hormonal and immune), but was able to get over them and stabilize over a 6 month period. I was definitely not the same, but the symptoms were manageable. However, I did start to experience insomnia, so I was occasionally taking Zopiclone to help with that.

 

2023-2024: I decided to go from 15mg to 0 over 30 days. Initially, I experienced some lightheadedness, irritability, lack of sleep and general overwhelm. After 2 weeks, my sleep started to get worse and I was getting panic attacks here and there. I was waking up out of nowhere at 3 a.m. with extreme irritability. I started taking zopiclone again and that helped. After a couple of weeks, I decided to stop the zopiclone completely.  I continued to wake up at 12 and 3 am with some discomfort and any minor sound would wake me up. Some nights I was able to fall back at sleep, while other nights I was unable to do so.  I had to quit my job, as I was not tolerating stress at all and felt like I was burning out.

 

3 months go by and I continue to have the same sleep issues. There were times where I seemed to be stable, but then I would have a reoccurrence of symptoms. I also started to feel tingling and burning sensations on my left hand and foot, and I was also having some speech and memory issues. I was still feeling irritable and having panic attacks here and there. At this point, I was not attributing any of this to the medication since I was med free for 3 months and there was no way this could be withdrawal. I was also fairly energetic (the daytime sleepiness and tiredness went completely away after stopping the medication and I also lost all of the overweight). I wasn’t feeling depressed at all. Just a bit anxious.

 

Then, suddenly, I started to feel really bad and could feel my heart skipping beats here and there. I started to feel extremely anxious and after one night of not being able to sleep, I started to experience panic attacks 24/7. I was having excessive rumination and looping thoughts. I also started to have demonic nightmares and Intrusive thoughts. I was  constantly bombarded with adrenaline, my hair was falling out (still is)…. I couldn’t drive or leave the house anymore and I continued to wake up at 12 and 3 a.m. but with extreme panic and a racing heart and what felt like a cortisol discharge/rush. I felt this sensation on my upper abdomen, chest and back. Every new symptom was making everything worse, I was extremely agitated. The burning sensation on my left side became permanent and more intense and trying to relax was impossible. If I was trying to relax and started to fall asleep, a shock like sensation accompanied by a light in my mind’s eye would immediately wake me up with panic. The visual phenomena got so much worse. Sleeping became pretty much impossible and if I ever did sleep I felt like my body was asleep but my mind was completely awake ruminating. Appetite was also completely gone at this point.  I was able to endure this for a month and then I just couldn’t do it anymore, I was progressively getting worse…. I started to get suicidal because living like this was simply impossible. I booked an appointment with a psychiatrist, and he said this was because I was having a reoccurrence of "my condition" due to stopping the medication. I told him I never experienced something like this in my life before and he said that it probably had to with the fact that I’m older now (I’m 36). I didn’t believe this, but I was so desperate that I accepted new medication as I didn't want to take Cymbalta ever again.

 

He prescribed 10 mg of Lexapro:  I felt immediate relief for some symptoms (they dimineshed in intensity), but it took 3 to 4 weeks to fully feel close to normal again. He also prescriped Klonopin, but I have only taken this when absolutely necessary in a super low dose since I don't need a new medication to withdrawal from. 

 

It's been 2 months and a half now and, after doing my research, I’m now understanding that I’m dealing with protracted withdrawal. Wish I knew all of this info sooner! While most of the symptoms are gone, some have stayed: I still wake up one or multiple times at night with this weird feeling on my chest, but it is definitely more tolerable now. I get an intrusive thought and nightmares here and there and the burning sensations are still present but way milder. Somedays, I can’t feel them at all, but for the most part, they are still present. I’ve noticed the symptoms get worse around ovulation and continue to be intense for a week or 2 until I get my period. 

 

Part of me wants to stay on this medication since I don’t ever want to live in a horror movie  again and I'm stable overall, but, unfortunately, the daytime sleepiness and tiredness I used to get from Cymbalta are back. I’m now also realizing that I had other symptoms that were caused by the medication that I never attributed to it, like heart palpitations after eating, head and back pain, and exercise and heat intolerance. I didn’t have any of these while I was off the medication, but have now returned since taking Lexapro. Unfortunately, I can’t live this way either. It is very hard to be productive when you are feeling sleepy and tired throughout the day and this is where I’m at right now.

 

I'm planning on starting a hyperbolic taper. Of course, I'm scared to live that hell again, but I also can't live feeling sleepy and tired most of the time. 

 

What are your thoughts?

 

Thank you all in advance!

 

-2009-2011: Effexor 75mg - I tapered over 2 months. Switched to Cymbalta 60mg.

-2015:  Tapered Cymbalta; I was removing 10 beads every 2 weeks, approx for 3-4 months. I reinstated my usual 60 mg dose due to  withdrawal.

-2022: I reduced the Cymbalta dose from 60 mg to 30 mg. A few months later I decided to go from 30 mg to 15 mg over 40 days.  Was also taking Zopiclone for insomnia ocassionally. Some months more than others.

-August 23 2023: Went from 15mg of Cymbalta to 0 over 30 days. (Last dose was on September 23rd/2023).

-Jan 2024: Symptoms started to get worse and intolerable.

-Protracted  Withdrawal-

-Feb 17 2024 to present: 10 mg Escitalopram/Lexapro. Gained some relief and stability although some symptoms are still present. Holding on this dose for at least 6 months or until fully stable to begin a new tapering journey. 

-May 1st 2024: Switched from tablet to liquid. Still taking 10 mg Escitalopram.  

-Supplements: Magnesium Glycinate, Vegan Omega 3, Vitamin D3 & K2, CoQ10, Zinc.

 

 

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  • Moderator

Hello, and welcome to Surviving Antidepressants. We are a peer support forum to assist in tapering off psychiatric drugs safely, or recovering from psychiatric drug withdrawal.

 

This topic is for anything relating to you, and any questions you have. Please do not start another topic.

 

We recommend tapering by no more than 10% of your CURRENT dose each month, to limit withdrawal symptoms. E.g. 10mg --> 9mg --> 8.1mg --> 7.29mg

 

All the answers you are looking for regarding tapering and antidepressant withdrawal are on this site. Please search around and continue to read as much as you can manage. Use the site search function to search for specific words or phrases, such as drugs or symptoms.

 

Here are a few of the most useful links:

 

Important topics in the Tapering forum and FAQ

 

Micro tapering

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

Taking multiple psych drugs? Which drug to taper first?

 

How to make a liquid from tablets or capsules

 

Using a scale to weigh and measure doses

 

We only recommend two supplements. Omega 3 Fish Oil and Magnesium. Both should be introduced separately and increased slowly.

 

Regards

Erimus

Active Monday-Friday UK time

 

MEDICATION:

1) Sertraline:

50mg - Oct 2020, 100mg - Dec 2020, 50mg - April 2021, 75mg - May 2021, 50mg - Sep 2021; 55mg - 23 Feb 2024; 60mg - 20 March 2024; Start tapering - 24 April 2024

Current dose: 57.93mg  (15 May 2024)

2) Mirtazapine:

15mg - Nov 2020

SUPPLEMENTS:

Cod liver oil, Magnesium, Vitamin C

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  • Moderator
8 hours ago, Fractal1133 said:

Part of me wants to stay on this medication since I don’t ever want to live in a horror movie  again and I'm stable overall, but, unfortunately, the daytime sleepiness and tiredness I used to get from Cymbalta are back. I’m now also realizing that I had other symptoms that were caused by the medication that I never attributed to it, like heart palpitations after eating, head and back pain, and exercise and heat intolerance. I didn’t have any of these while I was off the medication, but have now returned since taking Lexapro. Unfortunately, I can’t live this way either. It is very hard to be productive when you are feeling sleepy and tired throughout the day and this is where I’m at right now.

I would highly suggest having a period of at least 6 months where you make no changes to your medication. After you recent withdrawal experiences, your brain and body needs a break in order to find some sort of stability. If you have a long hold you are much more likely to be succesful in tapering off further down the line. Don't take any more klonopin, and keep your lexapro dose at 10mg.

Active Monday-Friday UK time

 

MEDICATION:

1) Sertraline:

50mg - Oct 2020, 100mg - Dec 2020, 50mg - April 2021, 75mg - May 2021, 50mg - Sep 2021; 55mg - 23 Feb 2024; 60mg - 20 March 2024; Start tapering - 24 April 2024

Current dose: 57.93mg  (15 May 2024)

2) Mirtazapine:

15mg - Nov 2020

SUPPLEMENTS:

Cod liver oil, Magnesium, Vitamin C

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@Erimus Thank you so much for your reply! I will heed your advice and stay on the current dose for at least 6 months and will stop the occasional klonopin use.

 

-2009-2011: Effexor 75mg - I tapered over 2 months. Switched to Cymbalta 60mg.

-2015:  Tapered Cymbalta; I was removing 10 beads every 2 weeks, approx for 3-4 months. I reinstated my usual 60 mg dose due to  withdrawal.

-2022: I reduced the Cymbalta dose from 60 mg to 30 mg. A few months later I decided to go from 30 mg to 15 mg over 40 days.  Was also taking Zopiclone for insomnia ocassionally. Some months more than others.

-August 23 2023: Went from 15mg of Cymbalta to 0 over 30 days. (Last dose was on September 23rd/2023).

-Jan 2024: Symptoms started to get worse and intolerable.

-Protracted  Withdrawal-

-Feb 17 2024 to present: 10 mg Escitalopram/Lexapro. Gained some relief and stability although some symptoms are still present. Holding on this dose for at least 6 months or until fully stable to begin a new tapering journey. 

-May 1st 2024: Switched from tablet to liquid. Still taking 10 mg Escitalopram.  

-Supplements: Magnesium Glycinate, Vegan Omega 3, Vitamin D3 & K2, CoQ10, Zinc.

 

 

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Does anybody know what the equivalent is for 10 mg of Lexapro in Cymbalta? 

 

I was taking 15 mg of Cymbalta/Duloxetine and after being off Duloxetine for 5 months, I started taking 10 mg of Lexapro. I'm just trying to figure out where I'm at now.

Based on my experience, the 10 mg of Lexapro seems a lot more than the 15 mg of Duloxetine I was taking. 

 

Thank you in advance!

 

-2009-2011: Effexor 75mg - I tapered over 2 months. Switched to Cymbalta 60mg.

-2015:  Tapered Cymbalta; I was removing 10 beads every 2 weeks, approx for 3-4 months. I reinstated my usual 60 mg dose due to  withdrawal.

-2022: I reduced the Cymbalta dose from 60 mg to 30 mg. A few months later I decided to go from 30 mg to 15 mg over 40 days.  Was also taking Zopiclone for insomnia ocassionally. Some months more than others.

-August 23 2023: Went from 15mg of Cymbalta to 0 over 30 days. (Last dose was on September 23rd/2023).

-Jan 2024: Symptoms started to get worse and intolerable.

-Protracted  Withdrawal-

-Feb 17 2024 to present: 10 mg Escitalopram/Lexapro. Gained some relief and stability although some symptoms are still present. Holding on this dose for at least 6 months or until fully stable to begin a new tapering journey. 

-May 1st 2024: Switched from tablet to liquid. Still taking 10 mg Escitalopram.  

-Supplements: Magnesium Glycinate, Vegan Omega 3, Vitamin D3 & K2, CoQ10, Zinc.

 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus
Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Fractal1133 said:

Does anybody know what the equivalent is for 10 mg of Lexapro in Cymbalta? 

 

We do have an equivalency chart:  Dose Equivalents/Equivalency/Comparison for Antidepressants and Second Generation Antipsychotics

Unfortunately duloxetine is not included in the above.  Keep in mind too, that you switched from a SSNRI to a SSRI

Another quick google search using the terms antidepressant drug equivalencies escitalopram duloxetine yeilded the following:  Switching Scenarios.pdf where 10mg of escitalopram is approximately equivalent to 30-60 mg duloxetine.  Not real exact is it? And yes, definitely higher than the 15 mg of duloxetine dose you were last at.

 

3 hours ago, Fractal1133 said:

Based on my experience, the 10 mg of Lexapro seems a lot more than the 15 mg of Duloxetine I was taking. 

So your experience does correlate with the approximations.

 

(I did go ahead and move these posts back here to your Intro topic, to try to keep all your information in one place, and also to see your question in context of any information already given)

 

I agree with Erimus to give it a few more months prior to beginning a judicious taper, 10% or less, to allow some stabilization to occur prior to tapering your Lexapro(escitalopram).  And excellent that you did benefit from the cross over to a new drug.  It may be your prescriber only prescribes in available dosages.

 

See:  Tips for tapering off escitalopram(Lexapro)  for more specifics on tapering escitalopram and getting doses outside of the ranges of conventional packaging

 

Best, Love, peace, healing, and growth,

manymoretodays(mmt)

 

 

Edited by manymoretodays

Late 2023- gone to emeritus status, inactive, don't @ me, I can check who I've posted on, and I'm not really here like I used to be......thanks.

Started with psycho meds/psychiatric care circa 1988.  In retrospect, and on contemplation, situational overwhelm.

Rounding up to 30 years of medications(30 medication trials, poly-pharmacy maximum was 3 at one time).

5/28/2015-off Adderal salts 2.5mg. (I had been on that since hospital 10/2014)

12/2015---just holding, holding, holding, with trileptal/oxcarb at 75 mg. 1/2 tab at hs.  My last psycho med ever!  Tapered @ 10% every 4 weeks, sometimes 2 weeks to

2016 Dec 16 medication free!!

Longer signature post here, with current supplements.

Herb and alcohol free since 5/15/2016.  And.....I quit smoking 11/2021. Lapsed.  Redo of quit smoking 9/28/2022.  Can you say Hallelujah?(took me long enough)💜

None of my posts are intended as medical advice.  Please discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical provider.  My success story:  Blue skies ahead, clear sailing

 

Link to comment
On 5/6/2024 at 7:11 PM, manymoretodays said:

We do have an equivalency chart:  Dose Equivalents/Equivalency/Comparison for Antidepressants and Second Generation Antipsychotics

Unfortunately duloxetine is not included in the above.  Keep in mind too, that you switched from a SSNRI to a SSRI

Another quick google search using the terms antidepressant drug equivalencies escitalopram duloxetine yeilded the following:  Switching Scenarios.pdf where 10mg of escitalopram is approximately equivalent to 30-60 mg duloxetine.  Not real exact is it? And yes, definitely higher than the 15 mg of duloxetine dose you were last at.

 @manymoretodays Thank you so much for your reply and for sharing the dose equivalents! It makes a lot of sense! The 10 mg of Lexapro definitely feels stronger than the 15 mg of duloxetine I was taking. I do feel similar to when I was taking 60 mg of Duloxetine 😶. I don't want to feel like this is going backwards; just a little bump in the road and perhaps this is the dose I needed in order to stabilize from the brutal protracted withdrawal I was experiencing. 

 

On 5/6/2024 at 7:11 PM, manymoretodays said:

I agree with Erimus to give it a few more months prior to beginning a judicious taper, 10% or less, to allow some stabilization to occur prior to tapering your Lexapro(escitalopram).  And excellent that you did benefit from the cross over to a new drug.  It may be your prescriber only prescribes in available dosages.

Indeed, thank you! I'm now recognizing how lucky I was to be successful with the introduction of a new drug at a high dose after being in protracted withdrawal for 5 months. I didn't know how risky this was until I found this site. I will definitely be extremely cautious when I start my new tapering journey. I'm so glad I found this place, I'm super thankful for everyone involved 💗

 

-2009-2011: Effexor 75mg - I tapered over 2 months. Switched to Cymbalta 60mg.

-2015:  Tapered Cymbalta; I was removing 10 beads every 2 weeks, approx for 3-4 months. I reinstated my usual 60 mg dose due to  withdrawal.

-2022: I reduced the Cymbalta dose from 60 mg to 30 mg. A few months later I decided to go from 30 mg to 15 mg over 40 days.  Was also taking Zopiclone for insomnia ocassionally. Some months more than others.

-August 23 2023: Went from 15mg of Cymbalta to 0 over 30 days. (Last dose was on September 23rd/2023).

-Jan 2024: Symptoms started to get worse and intolerable.

-Protracted  Withdrawal-

-Feb 17 2024 to present: 10 mg Escitalopram/Lexapro. Gained some relief and stability although some symptoms are still present. Holding on this dose for at least 6 months or until fully stable to begin a new tapering journey. 

-May 1st 2024: Switched from tablet to liquid. Still taking 10 mg Escitalopram.  

-Supplements: Magnesium Glycinate, Vegan Omega 3, Vitamin D3 & K2, CoQ10, Zinc.

 

 

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