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jcon13 Justin (Cymbalta)


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Hello, my name is Justin.  I injured my ankle 2 years ago and over the course of 4 surgeries, the tibial branch of my sciatic nerve was severed, and I was also diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy.  I have received a number of treatments including medications, therapy, sympathetic nerve blocks, and ketamine infusions.  I was placed on Cymbalta (along with various other drugs from time to time), eventually taking 60mg each night for the last 9 months.  I am currently trying to wean off Cymbalta, taking 30mg/day and experiencing terrible side effects including brain zaps, insomnia, anxiety, restlessness, light headedness, tingling lips, agitation, and lack of focus.  My doctors only plan was to take 30mg for a week and then stop, which is impossible.  I am trying to figure out how to get off this drug almost entirely on my own and am having extreme difficulty.  To compound matters, I've also been taking 10mg percocet for months and am also trying to wean off of that at the same time, which is probably not helping.


I've never suffered with depression, but nonetheless I feel borderline depressed with the side effects I'm experiencing trying to get off these medications.  It has been extremely disheartening to receive so little guidance from my doctors on how to properly wean off this drug.  Clearly taking 30mg for a week and then stopping completely is impossible.  At this point I am taking 30mg whenever I feel the symptoms ramp up to the point where I can't stand it anymore, which I'm sure isn't good.  I've begun reading the threads here after I found this website on a New York Times article and the information has been great.  I would appreciate any guidance from others who are going through the same thing.  It's amazing to me how bad my withdrawal is considering I haven't even been on this drug for a full year.  But at this point I'm having difficulty thinking of anything except when the next time my side effects are going to flare up.  Thank you in advance for any assistance anyone can provide.  



Cymbalta 60mg for 9 months foReflex Sympathetic Dystrophy

Attempting to wean off

Withdrawal symptoms:

Brain zaps




tingling lips

light head



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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Justin,


Welcome! Unfortunately most doctors are clueless when it comes to tapering safely. How long have you been on 30 mg? It sounds like it was too large a cut and you may need to reinstate some or all depending on how long.


I wouldn't wean off the Percocet at the same time. I'd save that for later if I were you. Sounds like you need to get stabilized on the Cymbalta first. After you stabilize, you can taper much more slowly. We recommend 10% or less (decreases) with at least a month hold and adjust either factor according to your own needs.

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Hi Justin,

Welcome to the forum ..I am sorry that you are experiencing

some unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

Someone will come along to help you ..Please hang in there, but do check out the

Tapering Forum for tips on tapering Cymbalta.

Take good care Justin, and keep the faith.


I am tapering Lorazepam, and my daily dose is 1.125 mgs.

I followed a long hold for 5 months, ( Nov-March 2019) hoping to find some stability, 

but it did not work. So I resumed my taper and hold pattern.
For the last 3 years, I have been using a daily microtaper, cutting .001mgs per day, with holds as needed.
Symptoms are head pressure, labored breathing, palpitations, abrupt surges of dizziness, this being my worst symptom for now, internal tremors, my latest nemesis, unsteadiness, anxiety, plus many other symptoms that cycle in, and cycle out consistently. Not a day passes, without grief :(

I take no other meds.

January 2013 - 15 day quick taper off 10 mgs of Lexapro, and 25 mgs of Sertraline,

at a detox clinic.

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  • Administrator

Welcome, jcon.


Please take a consistent dosage of Cymbalta every day. The inconsistent dosage is adding to your withdrawal symptoms. The way to taper Cymbalta is to open the capsules and count the beads. Since you've been taking it off and on, it may be you can stabilize on 30mg a day.


You will want to taper one drug at a time, or you won't know what's causing your symptoms. Given you are having such bad symptoms from Cymbalta withdrawal, my guess is you'd want to hold on the Percocet taper until you can stabilize Cymbalta.


The Cymbalta tapering topic is here http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/283-tips-for-tapering-off-cymbalta-duloxetine/

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi Justin -


I am trying to come off of only 20 mg of Cymbalta and going grom 20 to 10 to nothing was too much for me over the course of a few weeks, so I can imagine 30 mg will take longer than you think.


I am a chronic pain sufferer as well and one of the challenges for me has been the extra myalgic and TMJ pain I've been experiencing. I also take Tramadol 50 mg for pain and would like to come off of that too, but think both at once would be too much.


Brain swish feelings and extreme agitation and depression headaches have been some of my symptoms.


I am taking it slow is the upshot of all this - a  lot slower than I thought - one med at a time.


I think it might be good to have alternative pain management in place as well. I lie on my Spoonk acupressure mat and plan to get a massage and some acupuncture here and there as well if I really need it.


Good luck to you. I am interested in keeping up with your progress.

Finished slow taper on 4/6/14 from 20 mg to 6 beads over period of almost a year on Cymbalta and then quit cannabis around the time I DC'd Cymbalta.

Tried to go off completely 8/13 - 8/20 (didn't work) - Reinstated 10mg on 8/21/13

Off Adderall (2010 -2013) after 3.5 years since July 12th, 2013

Taking Tramadol 50 mg since 2007 for chronic pain

Lamictal 450 mg (from 2007 - 2009)

Lexapro (2004-2007 30 mg?)

Ambien (2009-2010)

Trazadone (2010-2011 for sleep)

2008-2010 -Trials of Wellbutrin, Paxil, Ritalin, Concerta, Effexor, Risperdal, Abilify, Seroquel, Trileptal

Earlier history includes - long courses of Tricyclics, Prozac, Wellbutrin, Paxil. Serzone, Celexa, Remeron, Zoloft for shorter periods.

Haldol, Lithium, Stelazine. Xanax, Clonipin, and Ativan have been used on and off, mostly Clonipin. Went through serious Xanax withdrawal a couple times in my life so far. Methadone (2003-2005 - psychiatrist/pain management doctor decided that was the first thing I ought to try for moderate chronic pain).  MS Contin 2005-2007 (aka Morphine)


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  • 4 months later...

Hello, I just wanted to drop in with an update to my cymbalta taper.  I began my taper at 60mg/day earlier in the year (was on that dose for around 1 year), and although I've had some difficulties along the way, I've managed to get myself down to 25mg/day at this point.  I purchased some empty pill capsules and made my own 5mg and 10mg pills, and have more or less dropped 5mg every 4 weeks.  I did have some difficulty when I approached 30mg, so I had to go a little bit slower, but I finally stabilized at 30mg and I've been on 25mg for 2 days now with no side effects.  With any hope, in another few weeks I'll drop to 20mg and then continue from there.


I'm a little worried that I'll make it to 0mg and then the onset of side effects will come as I've read about in a few other posts, but for now I'm remaining positive and I'm pretty happy that I've made it this far this year.  I'll post again as I get further along.  I'm very grateful to have found this resource.  Good luck to all.



Cymbalta 60mg for 9 months foReflex Sympathetic Dystrophy

Attempting to wean off

Withdrawal symptoms:

Brain zaps




tingling lips

light head



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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Justin,


Thank you for the update and congratulations of getting down to 25mg.


I'm a little concerned that you may be tapering too fast and that symptoms will start catching up with you as you continue to decrease at this rate.  We recommend decreases of 10% for very good reasons, find out why here:




You may want to slow down now, rather than risk getting symptoms and having to reinstate and hold.  Here is our recommended method of tapering from Cymbalta:




Whatever you decide to do, please keep us updated and I hope you continue to feel well.



I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?

VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?

VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?

VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes




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  • Moderator Emeritus

They teach us here (for very good reasons) to taper by 10 % on the PREVIOUS dose (not the starting one).


the very logical rational was so beautifully described in the links Petu copied for you.


As she said, fast taper will not result in harsh symptoms immediately after the decrease but will accumulate and may cause protracted withdrawal. So slower is faster and it allows us to have a good quality of life even during tapering instead of waiting to get our life back once the tapering is finished (common misconception we all share fueling our impatience).


I think it's best to focus on your life as much as possible and let the taper roll out in the background...


best of luck (and lots of patience ;)



Current: 9/2022 Xanax 0.08, Lexapro 2

2020 Xanax 0.26 (down from 2 mg in 2013), Lexapro 2.85 mg (down from 5 mg 2013)

Amitriptyline (tricyclic AD) and clonazepam for 3 months to treat headache in 1996 
1999. - present Xanax prn up to 3 mg.
2000-2005 Prozac CT twice, 2005-2010 Zoloft CT 3 times, 2010-2013 Escitalopram 10 mg
went from 2.5 to zero on 7 Aug 2013, bad crash 40 days after
reinstated to 5 mg Escitalopram 4Oct 2013 and holding liquid Xanax every 5 hours
28 Jan 2014 Xanax 1.9, 18 Apr  2015 1 mg,  25 June 2015 Lex 4.8, 6 Aug Lexapro 4.6, 1 Jan 2016 0.64  Xanax     9 month hold

24 Sept 2016 4.5 Lex, 17 Oct 4.4 Lex (Nov 0.63 Xanax, Dec 0.625 Xanax), 1 Jan 2017 4.3 Lex, 24 Jan 4.2, 5 Feb 4.1, 24 Mar 4 mg, 10 Apr 3.9 mg, May 3.85, June 3.8, July 3.75, 22 July 3.7, 15 Aug 3.65, 17 Sept 3.6, 1 Jan 2018 3.55, 19 Jan 3.5, 16 Mar 3.4, 14 Apr 3.3, 23 May 3.2, 16 June 3.15, 15 Jul 3.1, 31 Jul 3, 21 Aug 2.9 26 Sept 2.85, 14 Nov Xan 0.61, 1 Dec 0.59, 19 Dec 0.58, 4 Jan 0.565, 6 Feb 0.55, 20 Feb 0.535, 1 Mar 0.505, 10 Mar 0.475, 14 Mar 0.45, 4 Apr 0.415, 13 Apr 0.37, 21 Apr 0.33, 29 Apr 0.29, 10 May 0.27, 17 May 0.25, 28 May 0.22, 19 June 0.22, 21 Jun updose to 0.24, 24 Jun updose to 0.26

Supplements: Omega 3 + Vit E, Vit C, D, magnesium, Taurine, probiotic 

I'm not a medical professional. Any advice I give is based on my own experience and reading. 

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