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  1. Until July 2017 I was an active, healthy female (58). I'd been extremely fortunate in that, the only health problem I'd ever encountered had been anxiety/low grade depression. At least that's what the doctors diagnosed 20 years ago. I was put on Effexor 75mg and then, some years later, reduced the dosage to 37.5mg. In January 2017 I started tapering off my medication and by July was off Effexor. I did experience the odd brain zap but could easily go about my daily business. Suddenly at the end of July, I started having what I thought to be panic attacks (but which were, in actual fact, heart arrhythmias) and my then psychiatrist put me back on Effexor albeit 150mg/day. At 2am on August 12th, I had a sudden cardiac arrest. Thankfully one of our dogs wakened my husband and he and my daughter performed CPR until the ambulance arrived. My guardian angel was watching over me and after a week in the hospital, where I was fitted with an ICD and was put on 30mg Cymbalta, I returned home. Fast forward to three weeks later. My ICD fired. Off to hospital. In for observation for a week but no arrhythmias could be detected Returned home and 24 hours later the ICD fired again! In hospital for another 10 days, had a catheter ablation but no structural heart damage was found. What they did find was that one of the ICD leads had moved and pushed itself through one of the heart walls which could have explained the shocks. So another intervention to replace the lead. I was still on Cymbalta and an anti-arrhythmic drug. Just when I was beginning to think I was on the road to recovery, my ICD fired on the 12th of November. Off to hospital. In for ten days where I met a fascinating psychiatrist who thought that my SCA could have been induced by going back on Effexor as it's known to have a potential influence on cardiac rhythms. And since Cymbalta is also a SNRI, it would be advisable to stop taking it. Well since November 17th I'm Cymbalta-free and yes, I went cold turkey which I normally would not have done under other circumstances. Initially I experienced, brain zaps, anxiety and irritability. However, the symptoms were bearable. I’ve been taking vitamin D3, magnesium and Omega 3 supplements and trying to eat all the right foods. I walk my dogs every day so am getting exercise and fresh air on a regular basis and I go for acupressure treatments (suggested by my new psychiatrist). I was progressing quite well until March 2018 when I started experiencing severe anxiety, dizziness, muscle tension and headaches.The situation has improved every so slightly since then. Am I experiencing what is known as protracted withdrawal?
  2. I hope somebody can help me. I was on Zoloft for eight months at a low-dose of 25 mg during my pregnancy. After the pregnancy, it was not working. I had a lot of anxiety. I tried to go up on the dosage and it did not work, so my doctor prescribed Lexapro. She told me just to cut the 25 mg in half for two weeks and introduce Lexapro. Once I introduced Lexapro I had a bad reaction. Now it's been four months later and Im still withdrawing from Zoloft. I'm having terrible dizziness and feeling off balance still. My anxiety has been through the roof. I've been to the ER multiple times for panic attacks. Not my depression is back with a vengeance. However I'm not tolerating meds very well They tried to start me back on a low-dose of Lexapro at 2.5 but it caused a lot of major major anxiety. I'm also having terrible brains zaps that run from really inside my brain to my neck. When I turn my head I had them when I talk I have them when I walk I have them. I think my nervous system has been shot. I should also mention my feelings are everywhere from confusion to worry and fear. I feel like I'm losing my mind. Do you eventually recover from this? Was their permanent damage to my nervous system when I stop Zoloft so quickly. No other medication is working and I'm trying to work with a psychiatrist on this. Do you think my brain will eventually adjust on Lexapro? It's been now three weeks with Lexapro almost 4.Any help would be appreciated I need some reassurance.
  3. Been quietly observing and reading other peoples posts and finally decided to post my story. My path with AD started with a full blown panic attack. I had never in my life experienced a panic attack so it was very difficult at the beginning. Everybody's different. My panic attacks were debilitating lasting for several hours. Went to see my doctor and was quickly put on benzos. Started with xanax 0.5 mg and was quickly raised to 2.0 mg. Later it was switched out to klonopin 2.0 mg. It did control my panic attacks and my anxiety attacks. Later on I was told to add an AD to further control my panic attacks. This was the fun part where I became my own guinea pig where I had to "FIND THE RIGHT MED" for myself. Initially started with lexapro and was told that it could take up to 4 months for the drug to kick in. 4 months past by and it did nothing. lexapro had no effect on me. Tried viibryd, celexa, paxil, and prozac. Settled with paxil and klonopin for a long time. Towards the end made the jump to cymbalta and klonopin. If it wasn't for people around me telling me how I've changed, over the time frame that I was on these drugs, I would have probably continued taking these drugs. I've lost all emotions nothing in the world gave me any enjoyment. Started drinking heavily to the point where I was drinking every day. Spent money like money grew on trees. I had no apathy at all towards others. I became completely indifferent towards the entire world. I have so much respect towards people here that are maintaining their strict taper schedule. I tried to slowly taper from my drugs but I could never keep it myself. At the first sign of withdrawal I kept running back to my drugs. I decided to throw all my meds out and go the cold turkey route. I fell into a dark abyss. I didn't bother going to no doctor because I knew it was my fight and my fight alone. Woke up with severe panic and dread. It was as if all my nerves were fired up. Every person was associated with a flash back from the past with a very negative flash back from my past. For example, my dad was asking me how I felt and I had a really bizarre flash back from the past where my dad was not so kind to me when I was a kid. It was a memory from the past that I had forgotten for a very long time. This flash back resulted in me with a rage like emotion towards him. Pretty much everyone I met, that had an unkind past with me, brought up these negative flash backs. Entire body feels numb. Light/noise sensitivity. Blurry vision as if I'm surrounded by fog. All my muscles were sore, aching and shaking. Tingling burning sensation on the skin. Itchy anus. Joint pain like I've never experienced before. Difficulty breathing. Flu like symptoms. Severe headaches. Head felt really heavy as if there was a rock embedded in my brain. Messed up sinus. Weak legs. Weak neck. Difficulty speaking. Difficulty balancing myself. Coordination skills severely impaired. Severe tinnitus. Body feels heavy as if gravity increased. Severe dp/dr. One day I spilled my entire plate while eating and I could see my plate fall down in slow motion in 3-D. One day I was cooking and accidentally burnt my hand and I could feel the pain from my hand travel all the way to my brain. I'm pretty sure there were a lot more symptoms that I really can't remember them all. It's been six months now that I've gone cold turkey. I'm still a long ways from recovery but looking back sure as hell feels like I've made some progress. Going cold turkey put my body in full reboot mode and slowly one by one I get to feel parts of my body come alive one by one.
  4. I have been diagnosed w ptsd, major chronic depression, bipolar2, and chronic pain. I take cymbalta 120mg daily, lamictal 100mg at night and bedtime. I have seroquel 25mg bid as needed. I am experiencing hypomania, irritability, discontent, and sometimes doc thinks its a serotonin syndrome in making. I know what that feels like. I took nucynta once for pain. Got off of it right away. So, i have permission by psychiatrist to play around w my dosage for comfort. I want to taper off cymbalta and lamictal, i have decreased lamictal by 25mg, at night. I have 60mg caps of cymbalta. I took 1 on monday, tues, and wed. Today i felt headachey, and my back pain flared up. I taught my swim lessons, came home and took the other 60mg. I feel better physically. I want to lower potential for hypomania,
  5. gardenlady

    gardenlady

    Moderator's note: Link to gardenlady's benzo thread I would like to taper off of 60 mg Cymbalta. However, I am in the middle of a taper off of Valium and am now at 11 mg/day. The horror stories I have heard about Cymbalta withdrawal terrify me. Should I cross over from Cymbalta to another AD and then taper off? And, should I wait until I finish my Valium taper? I cross tapered from 1.75 mg Ativan to 13 mg Valium and am now down to 11 mg. It's going to be a long time until I'm off of it. I am horribly depressed since switching to Valium, but the anxiety from interdose withdrawals on the Ativan were unbearable. I want off of ALL of these psychotropic drugs but realize I have to go slowly. I just want my life back. Any advice would be much appreciated.
  6. Please i need help. I am on cymbalta generic and have tapered down to approx 10 mgs from 90 using bead method. I also take a very low dose of ativan. I had tapered off the ativan in july 2016 and went back on much lower dose 4 months ago. I also take zyprexa at approx. 3.75 mgs. I have been trying to taper all three meds because i have fatty liver disease and need yo get off this junk before it turns into cirrhosis. So i made a cut last week and about 4 days ago i started to get severe anxiety. I was doing fine up until then but it seems like every time i get to a certain point with the zyorexa i get so anxious. I have tried several times to taper zyprexa. I am under alot of stress and i dont know if its me or withdrawal. I was put on these medications 9 years ago for anxiety. It was very bad. But i dont know if that anxiety was from klonopin or celexa. I did not have this kind of anxiety before those two meds. Someone please help me. I had to increase the zyprexa yesterday or i was going to end up in the hospital. I have to find a job because i will soon be homeless if i dont. How will i get off these horrible drugs and function at the same time??
  7. I started on Cymbalta 60 mg 4 years ago, (after 1-2 weeks @ 30 mg); the scrip was from a psychiatrist for major depressive disorder. My depression lifted significantly. After 1 year (+/-) the psychiatrist and I agreed that my family practitioner would handle the prescription and supervision. I was ready to go off the cymbalta and was planning to go of the meds until a couple of deaths close to me occurred. I agreed with my doc that it wasn't the time to make changes in the meds. About 15 years ago I was on Effexor XR and had a helluva time getting off it, even with bead counting. After having read the slow pace recommended here, I probably decreased too quickly. I remember the roller-coaster ride of symptoms (physical, emotional, and cognitive) but forgot about the bead counting. When I started both Effexor & Cymbalta, I had nausea for a couple of days. On my FP's advice, I started going off cymbalta in Feb. by taking 30 mg every other day for a few weeks, then every 3 days, etc. This last week I was starting with 30 mg every 4 days. Fortunately I was using a calendar reminder in my google calendar to keep the schedule. I say fortunately because on Tuesday I had nausea and on Saturday. When I looked at my calendar to mark the reminder as "done," I realized that the nausea was probably related to the cymbalta. Now that I think of it, I started having disrupted sleep and messed-up wake/sleep cycles in March. A web search (DuckDuckGo instead of the big G) led me here and reminded me that slow tapering and counting the granules worked better for me before. My plan now: I have 6 capsules leftover from 60 mg doses. I'll split each into 3 doses, approx. 20 mg, and try 20 mg/day for 18 days (to use them up), making adjustments if necessary. Based on how that goes, I'll either continue at 20 mg or start a 10% taper to 18 mg over 28-30 days.
  8. MilaB

    MilaB

    Thanks for adding me. I need encouragement. I have been on ADs for 15 years - Zoloft, Lexapro, Celexa, Effexor and now Cymbalta. Also Trazadone when I couldn’t sleep. I missed a dose of Cymbalta in 2016 and was shocked by how bad I felt and decided to get off the med. I was told the wrong way and ended up using advice from FB site. I was only able to taper about 3% every 2 weeks and I got down to 86 beads that way in a year. But I felt stuck, drops were getting harder. Then I met someone who suggested amino acids. I started using aminos in Oct 16 at 86 beads. I was very eager to get off the med (big mistake). I didn’t know how bad it could get or what I was in for. I got to zero beads by the end of Feb and all withdrawal hell broke loose. Started with physical - hands and feet sweating, anxiety running brought me constantly, no appetite and extreme insomnia. It then became akithisia - restless pacing and severe anxiety. I went on Ativan that calmed the akithisia and I am now sleeping after 2 months of very little to no sleep. I’m taking 1mg Ativan during the day (2 half doses) and 1.5 at night along with some hydroxyzine. The biggest challenge now is my emotional state. I feel like I have to die to escape this pain. I have a constant feeling of doom and anxiety - even with the Ativan - that is so overwhelming and uncomfortable. I have no good feelings at all. I have a family and I can’t die. I have to be here for them. It’s been since March 1 with all of this. It’s all my fault for trying to speed things up. I thought I’d be healthier off the Cymbalta - I hated the side effects. This all seems impossible. I still have 10 beads left and now I’m sure I’m addicted to Ativan and will have to taper that. I don’t want to die, but I am so miserable I can’t see this ever getting better. I have had only a few windows. And even the windows are just a slight improvement over this constant suffering. I never know what to do; I can’t read, can’t work, shop, do art. Nothing feels good. I tried adding in 10 beads of Cymbalta a couple of weeks ago at the advice of Dr Shipko and the anxiety got worse. I also tried a small dose of Prozac for just one day and that made my anxiety awful too. Am I just left to tough this out forever? Please help
  9. Hi All, What an informative site. Well done all involved! The first SNRI I was put on was Cymbalta (30 mg since January 2010). Over the years I have made three attempts to withdraw from it. My last attempt to withdraw was in July 2017. My doctor recommended me an every other day tapering from 30mg for two to three months and then to stop. I did what she suggested and this was a big mistake. She then switched me to Lexapro (10 mg). That was two months ago. I have experienced some ups and downs with anxiety since then, but things feel relatively stable now. Here is my question: Do you think it is a good idea to begin a 10%-taper soon (maybe in Mai 2018)? Or would you suggest to wait a couple of weeks/months more before tapering (I still occasionally have nausea and anxiety)? My doc says that I should wait 6 months before considering a new attempt. Thank you very much! Dutch
  10. I’ve been taking anti-depressants and a mood stabilizer for 20+ years. I want to wean off duloxetine first. I’ve experienced horrible withdrawal symptoms when I failed to get a refill about 3 years ago. After about 2 days not taking duloxetine I was in full blown withdrawal and it was a flipping nightmare. That experience led me to believe I would never be able to not use the drug. I am to the point of being tired of dry mouth, dry eye, constipation and sweating. This may not be a good time to wean as I’m planning my daughter’s wedding for next fall and going to school part time. I will be 59 in 2018. Finding this forum is a godsend for me and hope I can be active even if I’m unable to start a taper right away. I’m really scared that I will never feel like the self I was before taking these drugs. I’m not even sure if I remember, which is even scarier and causes some anxiety if I focus on it too much. Thanks.
  11. This is my first posting here and I apologize in advance if the topic of LDN is well known. LDN is the acronymn for Low Dose Naltrexone. Naltrexone has been used for many years to help treat opiate and alcohol addictions. I was put on Cymbalta in 2010 after the death of my 21 year old son in a car crash. I was in shock (still am) but I also felt like my body weighed 3000 lbs. The Cymbalta DID help relieve me of that unbearable heaviness. I did eventually reach the max dose of 120mg. I had run out of my prescription a couple of times, due to forgetting to pick it up etc. I do recall becoming tearful and the "zaps" in the head. The last couple of years are much a blur anyway. My most recent incident occurred during a trip out of state to see my brother. I ended up staying an additional week to help him with a number of things but had only packed my "pillbox" for a 5 day stay. Needless to say I started to feel terrible pretty quickly. I remembering saying to my brother that I could relate to the heroin addicts that always feel sick until their next fix. I at first thought that I could tuff it out. No I could not! By day 3 I called my PCP for a script to be faxed over to an out of state pharmacy. That was in October 2013. I did discuss this event with the psychiatrist that prescribes my Cymbalta and it seems to be a rare occurrence according to him ? Well I did go from 120mg down to 90mg after that appt without a problem. Fast forward to January 2014, I am doing some research on autoimmune disease as my siblings and I have developed a few. I came across the use of LDN ( low dose naltrexone) in a number of auto immune disorders and requested a prescription from my PCP 2 weeks ago. I read as much as I could find and it made sense to me to try to further reduce my heroin like addiction to Cymbalta to see if the LDN may reduce the awful withdrawal symptoms. I am currently taking LDN 4.5mg at bedtime along with only 30mg of Cymbalta! And I am happy to say not only do I feel a little better from the LDN I have not experienced a single uncomfortable symptom from the reduction in Cymbalta. I am a bit nervous about going from 30 to 0, I may wait a couple weeks. I did want to put this info out here tho. LDN is not very well known, it's cheap, off patent etc. Just google LDN and educate yourself. It may not work for everyone. BTW, my auto immune disorder was/is Transverse Myelitis. My withdrawal symptoms had NOTHING to do with the TM. I had TM in 1977 with a 90% recovery.
  12. Hello, my name is Manny. I was diagnosed 0CD and schizophrenic in 2008, but I been taking benzos and amiptriptiline since 2005. Currently,taking abilify 20mg,risperidone 2mg,cymbalta 60mg,biperiden 4mg. I am tapering klonopin down to 0,27mg from a dose of 1,25mg. I went to see my doctor this week because a blood test that I did. He said my hepatic transaminases are high because of the medication that I take. I am assuming the APs that I take. What can I do to get my liver function well? I know, quitting the APs, but I can t cold turkey. Any advice,please.
  13. Hi, I am 63 years old and have been on psychicatric drugs for 34 years. In the past five years I have discontinued Trazadone, Lamotrigine, klonopin, Seroquel. The most recent one being Seroquel at 600mg. I tapered by 25mg. per month. I had horrible withdrawals and still had symptoms after three months after stopping it. The most troublesome symtoms I still had was the sweating/chills, Chorea involuntary movements, burning sensation in my head, face, legs and arms, anxiety. I have been on Celexa for the past eight to ten years and just recently discovered that Celexa can cause Chorea movements as well, so I have decided to discontinue this drug too. I began on 40mg. and started my taper 12 days ago at 5 mg. per month under the care of my general practitioner. I have not noticed any new withdrawals symptoms that I have already experienced from the above symptoms, , just an increase in intensity from time to time ( especially the Chorea Movements). I am trying to eat healthy, I take amino acids, inositol/choline and vitamins and mineral supplements. I am currently chair ridden due to bone on bone arthritis in my hips; on the waiting list for hip replacement surgery hopefully to be done this fall/winter. It has been a long journey to get this far in my recovery from psychiatric drugs and I hope I can continue to be strong. Genlady.
  14. TL;DR: Took Cymbalta in my teens for a little less than a year. After stopping, gradually an extremely low sex drive and ability to be aroused, as well as an overall feeling of apathy started to develop and I have been trying to adjust since then. Considering supplementation with inositol as my next move to turn things around. Am I on the right track? Thanks for any help. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Hey everyone, looking for some input on my situation. Glad I found this forum while I was looking for some answers. I'll give a brief history here: In 2006, I had some suicidal thoughts and a highly variable mood. At the time I was in junior high. After talking to my parents, they became concerned, and took me to a (apparently the worst psychologist based on following events) psychiatrist. She started me out on Cymbalta at 60mg/day. At the time, my parents and especially I did not know anything about dosing ADs, but from where I stand now, it is extremely odd that she started me out on the highest possible dose that she could. Anyway, I was on Cymbalta for a little less than a year. In February of 2007, I decided that I didn't want to be on Cymbalta anymore (I don't remember why) and I quit cold-turkey. Apparently, my psychiatrist had no problem with this, and I followed through. No more drugs. At the time, I didn't really notice much, but things were probably happening gradually. The first thing I noticed was that my genuine interest in sex had pretty much disappeared. As a boy in his youth, I would say that was pretty abnormal. At the beginning of puberty, I was very interested in the thought of sex. However, all sex drive, any form of erections, any strong interest in the opposite gender severely declined and sometimes was completely absent a few months after stopping my medication, from what I remember. Nothing would arouse me sexually, and at age 18, when I started becoming sexually active, it was an intense struggle to have intimate exchanges with anyone. Now, at age 24, I am seeing some consistencies that have remained since stopping my medication. I continue to have issues becoming sexually aroused and getting an erection is usually very difficult without supplements that promote them. At first I thought it was from watching too much porn, but that hasn't been able to genuinely arouse me for years either, and after abstaining for well over a year and not seeing much of a change, I am starting to very strongly doubt that is my problem. My fiancée has also noticed that I don't really get excited about anything, and that my responses are very muted. I've noticed this too, but it's been so long, I thought that it was just part of my personality. However, I don't think it's normal that I don't usually feel affected or sympathetic about anything. I feel very disconnected from everything, and most things that I do are motivated by a feeling of obligation, like I SHOULD do things because they're good for me or because it will help someone else. I don't really get a ton of satisfaction out of much, which was something I've been chalking up to just a mildly-low self-esteem. However, I'm sick of feeling flat like this all the time. I am seeing the doctor in 10 days, to see if he will run tests and say anything different than any of the other doctors have in the past. I have had numerous blood panels and hormone tests over the past 5 years, as well as dabbling with other ADs for short periods with nothing working. Most recently, my testosterone has been slightly low (around 550) and prolactin levels have been a little high (~20.2), but everything else is pretty normal. I've been reading around about nootropics recently and the one thing I see keep getting mentioned is the use of inositol to re-sensitize every thing. In anyone's opinion, am I on the right track, or am I taking this approach in vain? I'm just looking to find the root of my problem so I can fully enjoy my life.
  15. RipVanWinkle

    RipVanWinkle

    Firstly, I want to say how grateful I am to have found this forum and to get a feel for the way it is moderated. Calm, practical and sensible advice from and to those who need it. My 14-year marriage broke down five years ago. I walked straight into a new relationship and the love hormones stopped me from feeling too bad. But when they wore off about 3 years ago (I'm still in love with her without the wash of hormones), I realised that I had become a profoundly sad person with little capacity for joy or pleasure. There were many things but perhaps the clearest example is that I stopped listening to music, once one of my deepest pleasures; there was simply nothing in it for me. Music that once moved me to tears of joy just buzzed in my ears annoyingly. So 25 months ago I started taking Cymbalta. One day, about 2 weeks after starting medication, I caught myself cheerfully humming a tune walking down the street. It actually worked... Wonder Drug!! But life moved on, some of the circumstances that had pushed me into depression softened, and I decided I should be okay without drugs. I was never really depressed before my marriage breakdown so I should be able to stop taking Cymbalta right? Within a couple of days of stopping, (without medical advice), I was swamped with an indescribable sense of impending doom. It was as if everything I trusted was going to fail me and everyone I loved would be lost to me. Describing it now does not capture how utterly hopeless, empty and scared I felt without the drug. I went straight back on Cymbalta and spoke to my psychiatrist who scolded me and said, "This is a long term thing. Don't expect to come off Cymbalta for a long time." That was about 9 months ago and I have decided that I disagree with her. I want to come off it now. I now associate Cymbalta with a bland kind of nothingness. I don't "feel" like I once was able to "feel". It has taken away something real. Hard to define, but I want it back. Three weeks ago I started taking my capsule on alternate days. I noticed the difference in my awareness and general mood, but that has stabilised and I seem to be coping with one dose every second day. I know that this approach is discouraged on this site so I have some reading to do, but it does seem to be working for me so far. For now I will stick to this dose and see how I go. I do not expect to reduce again for some weeks or longer. And, yes, I will tell my psychiatrist before I reduce again. My name is Rip Van Winkle. Sometimes feel as if I have suddenly woken up, at the age of 48, and have a lot of catching up to do.
  16. 20mg of Cymbalta for 10 years without problems for neuropathy I read about negative side affects and ignorantly stopped it cold turkey on 11/25/2015. I had mild depression and insomnia for about 4 weeks. Then one month later, it all hit me WAY hard 10/10: anxiety, agitation, insomnia, Tinnitus and dysphoria. After 6 weeks I restarted Cymbalta at my previous 20mg per day dose and although the symptoms have improved down to about 4/10, I am super sensitive to any psych med, alcohol etc. I have been back on the Cymbalta for almost 3 months now and am wondering how long does it usually take to stabilize to back to where one was? Is this even "neural destabilization?" Should I try and ask my doctor to increase my dose to 30mg of Cymbalta per day? Your site is great and I thank you for all you do. I have been taking Valium 25 mg per day for the past 6 weeks to try to help with the anxiety and insomnia, it does help, but I am still super sensitive to all other meds Weird thing - 1 drink of Alcohol makes all my symptoms dissapear, and then my symptoms are all way worse for two or three days.
  17. I began taking a cocktail of psychiatric medications in 1995 and have tried twice to become med free only to fail and have to reinstate a month after tapering off all medicines. I always would taper with my psychiatrists help. I am very sensitive to the side effects of medicines and pray to become medicine free someday. My current psychiatrist says it is unrealistic that I will ever be able to not be on medications because I have been on them so long. I am looking for support and strategies to successfully become med free and stay med free. I successfully tapered off of Effexor xr in 2011 and in April of this year tapered off of klonopin. I am currently taking Cymbalta and trazadone.
  18. Cymbalta comes in 20 mg, 30 mg, and 60 mg capsules. Full prescribing information: http://pi.lilly.com/us/cymbalta-pi.pdf Cymbalta is tricky to taper. It does not come in liquid form and cannot be compounded into a liquid. To protect the drug, each bead inside the gelatin capsule has an enteric coating to protect the drug from stomach acid, which would destroy the drug. (It is absorbed further down in the digestive tract.) The pellets cannot be dissolved in any liquid without destroying the active ingredient. You cannot crush the pellets (see http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/275-do-not-crush-list/page__view__findpost__p__3021 ) or dissolve them in a solution -- the drug would never get into your system, it would be destroyed in your stomach and you would have immediate cold-turkey withdrawal. Of course, the range of dosages from the manufacturer is inadequate for very gradual tapering. Like all psychiatric drugs, do not skip doses or alternate doses to taper Cymbalta. Its half-life is very short, about 12 hours. It is metabolized via the liver enzymes P450 1A2 (substrate, inhibitor) and 2D6 (inhibitor). This post has a chart that shows what happens with the Cymbalta dose when skipping days. See Doctor is shocked at severe Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms and testimony by Dr. Joseph Glenmullen regarding Cymbalta withdrawal syndrome: http://www.baumhedlundlaw.com/pdf/DrGlenmullenDeclarationSupportofCymbaltaClassCert.pdf (PDF) Reduce by 10% per month to start As with any neurologically active drug, a conservative taper is the safest way to go off Cymbalta. Some people find they can go faster and some people find they have to go slower -- they can only tolerate decreases of a fraction of a milligram at a time. A conservative taper for Cymbalta, like other psychiatric drugs is: Reduce by 10% per month, calculated on the last dosage. (The amount of the reduction gets progressively smaller.) See Why taper by 10% of my dosage? Cymbalta CANNOT be crushed, compounded into a liquid, or dissolved in a liquid The pellets in the capsule cannot be dissolved in a liquid; this would destroy the active ingredient. High-dosage Cymbalta: Using different dosages to decrease to 40mg If you are taking as much as 120mg Cymbalta, see this topic for an example of how to taper to 40mg using existing capsule dosages and a few compounded prescriptions: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/7060-razzlesf-off-abilify-tapering-cymbalta/?p=129252 To taper from a dosage of 40mg, you're going to have to either open up 20mg capsules and count beads, or get custom compounded dosages. The bead-counting method Like Effexor XR, some people have tapered by opening the Cymbalta capsule and taking out the beads to gradually reduce the dosage. (See http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/272-tapering-off-effexor-venlafaxine/page__view__findpost__p__2985 for the technique.) You can do this if you have brand-name Cymbalta or generic capsules containing hundreds of tiny beads rather than 4-12 "mini-tablets" (see below). The number of tiny beads in each Cymbalta capsule will vary within a given dosage, across dosages, and from different manufacturers. The capsules are filled by weight. To find an average number of beads per capsule, you will have to carefully count the beads in several capsules. Then you can estimate how many beads amount to 10% of the dosage and manage your taper accordingly by keeping notes on paper showing the number of beads removed and equivalent Cymbalta dosage. Take out 10% of the beads at each step of the taper. Put unused beads into a clean, dry, capped prescription bottle marked with the dosage of the original capsule and expiration date. You might want to use them later. Do NOT mix beads from capsules of different dosages, such as 30mg and 60mg. NOTE When you are taking loose beads, put them in an empty capsule to swallow them. Gelatin capsules and vegetarian capsules are available at health food store. The FDA reports here http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/ucm103473.pdf there have been some instances of the beads causing throat irritation when swallowed without a capsule. Dividing Cymbalta beads into empty gelatin capsules To make counting of the beads easier, this technique may work with Cymbalta, see details at http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/235-tapering-techniques/page__view__findpost__p__3033 Opening capsules and weighing beads Eventually, as you remove more and more beads, it may become too confusing and time-consuming to count out them. You may wish to weigh them instead, see Using a digital scale to measure doses and Counting beads in a capsule versus weighing. Have a compounding pharmacy make up capsules of smaller dosages For precise dosing, a compounding pharmacy will accurately weigh the doses and put the right number of beads into capsules for you. See http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/235-tapering-techniques/page__view__findpost__p__3001 Dividing Cymbalta beads into apple juice or applesauce Follow the instructions above for dividing the beads in a capsule and put your reduced dose apple juice or applesauce. --------- It has been scientifically demonstrated that the Cymbalta pellets survive being put into apple juice or applesauce but NOT chocolate pudding: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18691989 Clin Ther. 2008 Jul;30(7):1300-8. In vitro stability, potency, and dissolution of duloxetine enteric-coated pellets after exposure to applesauce, apple juice, and chocolate pudding. CONCLUSIONS: Results from this study found that the enteric coating of duloxetine pellets mixed with applesauce or apple juice was not negatively affected. The pellets were stable at room temperature for < or = 2 hours and should quantitatively allow delivery of the full capsule dose, provided that the pellet integrity is maintained (ie, not crushed, chewed, or otherwise broken). Therefore, mixing duloxetine pellets with applesauce or apple juice appears to be an acceptable vehicle for administration. However, exposing the pellets to chocolate pudding damaged the pellets' enteric coating, suggesting that pudding may be an unacceptable vehicle for administration. --------- Tapering generic Cymbalta (duloxetine) capsules containing "mini-tablets" The generic forms of Cymbalta may contain beads, like brand-name Cymbalta, or 4 to 12 "mini-tablets" rather than beads. From Lupin Pharmaceuticals http://medlibrary.org/lib/rx/meds/duloxetine-3/ The "mini-tablets" cannot be split or dissolved to make a liquid. Suggestions for gradual tapering: If you are taking 20mg, 30mg, or 40mg (two 20mg capsules) per day, switch to brand-name Cymbalta or a generic containing tiny beads rather than mini-tablets. Use the bead-counting method. If you are taking 50mg (20mg plus 30mg) per day, reduce by one mini-tablet from the 30mg capsule (5mg, or 10%) initially for a month, then switch to brand-name Cymbalta or a generic containing beads rather than mini-tablets. Use the bead-counting method. If you are taking one 60mg capsule per day, reduce by one mini-tablet (5mg) per month for 2 months until you are taking 50mg per day, then switch to brand-name Cymbalta or a generic containing beads rather than mini-tablets. Use the bead-counting method. If you are taking one 60mg capsule plus any of the other dosages per day (at least 80mg), reduce by one mini-tablet (5mg) from the 60mg capsule per month until you get to 45mg total daily dosage, then switch to brand-name Cymbalta or a generic containing beads rather than mini-tablets. Use the bead-counting method. You can combine brand-name Cymbalta or generic beads with generic duloxetine mini-tablets to taper. (This would cost less than using brand-name Cymbalta for your entire taper. A prescription for 60mg brand-name Cymbalta capsules will go further.) You could take part of your dosage in brand-name Cymbalta beads and the rest of your daily dosage in generic mini-tablets. For example: If your 30mg generic duloxetine capsules contain 6 mini-tablets, each mini-tablet contains about 5mg duloxetine. Let's say you want to reduce 10% from 30mg to 27mg. You can take 5 mini-tablets (25mg) and add 2mg in beads to it. If a 60mg capsule of brand-name Cymbalta contains 200 beads, each bead contains about 0.3mg duloxetine; you would take 7 beads (2.1mg) to total a daily dose of 27.1mg. (BE SURE TO COUNT THE TOTAL NUMBER OF BEADS IN YOUR CAPSULES -- THEY CAN VARY FROM THIS EXAMPLE.) When you are down to 5 mini-tablets (25mg) per day, take 4 mini-tablets and the rest in beads to reduce another 10%, and so forth. Reduce by micro-taper The very smallest dose of brand-name Cymbalta is one bead. Some people find they can better tolerate a reduction of one bead at a time rather than a 10% decrease. You may be able to make reductions of one bead more frequently; try reducing by one bead a week for a while to see what your tolerance is. See http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2878-micro-taper-instead-of-10-or-5-decreases/ Do not reduce by one additional bead per day. This is too fast, you may develop withdrawal symptoms before you know what's happening. Here is an example of a micro-taper from cymbaltawithdrawal.com http://www.cymbaltawithdrawal.com/topic/8325-dose-down-bead-counting-chart-anywhere/?p=50499 Switch to Prozac Like its fellow SNRI Effexor, withdrawal from Cymbalta can be very difficult. Recently, I asked a knowledgeable doctor about how he switches patients to Prozac. He said if the dosage of Cymbalta is "normal" -- 30mg-40mg -- he would switch to 10mg Prozac with a week of overlap. In other words, take both medications for a week and then drop the Cymbalta. Later, taper off Prozac. He acknowledged Prozac can have its withdrawal problems, but given Prozac's long half-life, gradual tapering should be much easier than tapering off Cymbalta. And, at least Prozac comes in a liquid. He confirmed that Cymbalta cannot be compounded because the pellets are enteric-coated to get the medication past the stomach acid, which destroys it. Other than the Prozac switch, he said counting pellets is the only way to taper. See more about the Prozac switch http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1463-the-prozac-switch-or-bridging-with-prozac/ NOTE Also see 2009: FDA hears testimony about Cymbalta discontinuation syndrome Study finds some Cymbalta withdrawal "severe and persistant" Doctor is shocked at severe Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms Cymbalta Withdrawal Lawsuits Progressing in US
  19. Hi, So I finally understood that it is strongly recommended to write a little something about my experiences here. I will just copy some parts of my posts I have shared in this forum to sum up. Recent developments: I myself have intolerable withdrawal symptoms even reducing 5% of the drug. They are unbearable, both physically and mentally. They totally incapacitate me for weeks (I sleep up to 15h a day, terrible brain fog and dizziness up to the point where I cannot walk, of course the brain zaps and lots of pains in different parts of the body etc) (I will not mention the mental effects, they are really bad...) and then on it is still bad but keeps stabilizing very slowly. At this point (after tapering for years) I am seriously considering coming off the 8,44 mg altogether because I am just unable to go through the symptoms that come after a reduction so many times any more. Because the withdrawal symptoms are extreme for me I am thinking it would be better to cut off the drug now at 8,44 mg and hope the nervous system will start balancing itself out than to go through this hell for at least another year (which is the very optimistic time frame). Note: I have decided to go with this idea - I am going from 8,44 to 1 mg in 8 days. (today being the 3rd day: April 3rd 2015 ). Before judging please read the history of my experiences to understand why I personally have decided to take this approach now in the very end of tapering. My experience: I have been tapering at different pace throughout the process. Since the beginning I have made the reductions by 10% or even 5 % when I realised that the symptoms were directly caused by the reductions. I was aware (theoretically) that my symptoms can be caused by the drug, its side effects and withdrawal, but I didn't really believe it for a long time. Or it would be more correct to say I always had doubts whether it was still more me being crazy and ill. So for a long time in the beginning (I have been tapering for over 2 years) I kept tapering with intervals that I now realise were not nearly enough for my brain to stabilize, but I was not fully aware that the withdrawal symptoms could be so severe and last for so long that I figured the reason had to be somewhere else. I just tapered according to the planned schedule, keeping aprox. 3 week intervals (and unfortunately, optimistically 2 week intervals). I also tried micro tapering every week, but needless to say that proved to be harsh on my nervous system and was keeping me in a constant state of agony. During the last 9 months or so I have had to keep longer periods between reductions in order to stabilize (I realised more and more that what I was experiencing was due to the reduction of the medication and the link got clearer by the day), but I cannot even estimate the stabilization point. For some of my friends it is perfectly clear - their withdrawal "cycle" is short and simple: they know that their symptoms will come 1-2 days after the reduction and last for about a week (max). This is not the case for me. One week for me is the extremely acute period (which would correspond to maybe the 1st 1-2 days of my friends' cycles) and as much as I would like to see a noticeable improvement during week 2, I can only say that it gets slightly better than the extreme, but not nearly enough to function to a standard that would/could be acceptable or tolerable. After recently having a 6 week and a 2 month gap between reductions I can say that during the 2 month gap I guess you cold say that I started to feel like the symptoms were starting to actually stabilize for the fist time for me subjectively. That enabled me to observe how the affects of withdrawal came about abruptly and directly connected to the reduction. In more detail: I'm having a hard time remembering exactly how long I have been taking certain drugs. Seems like forever. I was first prescribed Fluoxetine when I was 17. I am 30 now and for 13 years I have constantly been on and off different antidepressants - the whole spectrum of them. For a very short while I was even on antipsychotics (a month or so). I have always had awful side effects and have discontinued the drugs after a while, switched from one drug to another etc. It wasn't until a few years ago when I finally became aware and educated myself on the topic of antidepressant withdrawal and the harm they cause. (I would really suggest two books for a real eye-opening: Medication Madness: The Role of Psychiatric Drugs in Cases of Violence, Suicide, and Crime by Peter R. Breggin and Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America by Robert Whitaker). When I think back on the years on these meds and realising now what they have done with me, it makes me indescribably angry and sad. I have had awful side effects for years and discontinuation effects that I only realise in retrospect for what they were. Last drug I discontinued before Cymbalta was Venlafaxine (Effexor) which is another nightmare next to Cymbalta. Unfortunately then I was not aware of the methods of slow tapering and the discontinuation symptoms literally almost killed me (the "brain zaps", disorientation and dizziness were so severe that I almost tumbled in front of a moving car one day). By then I was already google-smart on the discontinuation side effects these meds have but was still unaware how to slowly taper. I was very reluctant to start taking Cymbalta but was convinced it was necessary by mu doctor. I started with the idea that I would only be taking the drug for a few months. Well, months become a year before I started tapering. I was taking 60 mg of the drug. When I started tapering it was very difficult for me to distinguish between the effects of withdrawal symptoms and my usual symptoms. A lot of the time I did not believe that the drug could be causing all the mental and physical symptoms and was afraid that it was just me. By know (as I described in my previous post) I have realised that a lot of this has been the drug's effect, but I am still afraid whether these effects can be undone. I have no way of knowing whether the decade of these drugs has caused permanent damage on my nervous system. I have tapered using different strategies. I have never tapered more than 10% of the last dosage, but I did reduce very often for a long time (after making a schedule I tapered every 2-3 weeks). It was because I could not really believe that my symptoms were so severely caused by the withdrawal. Later when I tried longer stabilizing periods I experienced how the withdrawal effects were sudden and obvious and followed a certain pattern (for Cymbalta and for me it is 1st day - no different, 2nd day slightly lowered mood, mild brain zaps etc, 3rd day - hell!). Withdrawal symptoms: The first week, on day 3 I start to have terrible crying spells. Literally for days I keep crying. Well, of course not 24/7 but for most part of the first days I am in tears. I am not sure how long that lasts but at least half a week. At some point the crying is replaced by despair and major depressive feelings. This is the worst symptom and the best I know to describe it is that while having this I feel that I cannot bear living for another minute more. I just want the suffering to stop. And it doesn't. And that can get better for half a day or even an entire day, but still last for... well, an unknown amount of time. I know I could handle any kind of symptoms - all the pain and crying and everything, but this is unbearable. The only thing that helps is numbing the feelings with Xanax. I do not drink alcohol but I can totally understand why people would choose to numb their pain with it. I suppose it is not at all different from taking Xanax - they're both a sort of a poison for the body and the brain. From physical symptoms the strongest ones I have is exhaustion (up to the point where it is ridiculous even), I have strong neurological symptoms (brain fog, brain zaps - they are a sort of a mini seizure, extreme sleepiness - sleeping up to 15h a day, not being able to shake the drowsiness and fogginess for the most part of the day, I have strong neural pain in the left side of my body - in the left arm, shoulder, back of the head, behind the eye, vision problems, extreme sensitivity to sounds (!) and a general sensory oversensitivity, nausea of course. Oh, I remembered for some period during the tapering I sweated extremely. I usually sweat really little. I also sweat a lot during the night. The flu-like symptoms occur. Ohwell... the list is so long it is embarrassing. And these symptoms don't really seem to pass fast. They just last and last so that I get to thinking it is ridiculous. But it still keeps happening. Oh and from time to time comes the agitation and irritability. I can feel how my thinking gets impaired - it slows down, the memory gets really-really bad, I cannot remember words and names (I used to think it was just me or a symptom of depression, but now I have established a clear link between the symptoms and the reduction of the meds). Oh, and the restless legs of course. My method of tapering: I have developed a method for myself for tapering off Cymbalta that I have not encountered in this forum or any others so I thought I should share it. For the very reason that the beads inside a Cymbalta capsule are not the same size (two capsules might not contain the same amount of beads) and I do not have a scale to measure such small portions, I have come up with an alternative. What I did is I folded a paper in half from the middle, creating a void where I could pour the beads and they would stay in a straight line next to each other. In that way I created a measurable line of the contents of a capsule. Right now I use a 30 mg capsule which creates a 25,5 cm line (fits on a regular A4 paper), but when I was using a 60 mg capsule I had to devide the beads into portions and measure them all and calculate from there on. Now I am not particularly fond of mathematics, but with a few simple calculations and a lot of concentration ( ) I was able to calculate how many mg of the medicine was in a line of the medicine of a certain lenght. So when 30 mg of Cymbalta is 25,5 cm, that meas for example, that 15 mg of Cymbalta would be 12,75 cm etc. (This is specific to the capsules I use bought from Estonia, yours could be very different so you should always measure your own medication!) I use the same folded paper (with markings on it) every day to pour a certain amount of beads out from the capsule. So if I am using a 30 mg capsule and I am - let's say - at 20 mg daily dosage I would have to calculate how many (what lenght) beads I would have to extract from the capsule before taking the medicine. So I have established that 30 mg = 25,5 cm. That means 20 mg = 17 cm. I know that there is 25,5 cm of beads (30 mg) in the capsule so I have to pour out 10 mg = 8,5 cm. It really makes no difference, if you calculate it in cm or mg after you have established the relation between the two. So I have a marking on the paper and each day I pour out a 8,5 cm line. And if i reduce the dosage I just make another marking. It is actually very easy to do the reduction just visually, when you have drawn the lines beforehand and calculated what necessary. You also have the history of your reductions right there under your eyes. I always write the date of the reduction next to the specific line every time, so I have a good visual overview of what, when etc.
  20. Hi Guys, I had a difficult childhood but rather not common! I have wonderful and spiritual parents but I was born a worrier with intense fear of the world. Who knows, maybe genetics, etc… The fears made me feel different and I didn’t develop like the standard child in the 70’s. I avoided social gatherings, had no real friends but otherwise healthy as per my pediatrician. I was aware of my fears but thought that some threats are forever when they were not and threats that I had, everyone has, which was also not the case. I kind of managed to get through life while being chastised by my parents that I was lazy, had no self-confidence, low self-esteem, etc… It came to a point where I just couldn’t see eye to eye with my parents nor with the world around me! This caused lots of anxiety, more fears, and a disconnect. Doctors, herbalists, or anything under the sun in the 70’s, 80’s and even 90’s were tried but everything seemed to point to my mental distress although people didn’t give any credence to these kids; either you were a top performer or you were down in the dumps, I guess. To get to the chase, at age 18, I had a panic attack in the summer and then another in the winter at age 19, followed by anxiety symptoms, which at that time were physical and left me worried as a hypochondriac… At age 20, I was becoming convinced I’ll never marry, I’ll never make it in life, and nobody really needs me. My father hates me and my friends are moving along, leaving me behind. At a cousins wedding, I had a horrific anxiety attack, which left me pacing and twitching, not knowing what the morrow will bring. Of course, my parents at that time took me serious and tried to console me, without success. To make a long story short, I was introduced to my first Psychiatrist/Butcher. After 45 minutes, I had a prescription for Prozac and Zanax, being promised I will heal and that the drugs were not addictive. His psychotherapy was worse than no therapy and after a while, I was introduced to the new phenomenon of being drugged for life. Change of meds to Paxil made no difference. I was encouraged to get married (bad advice!) while taking all the drugs. Although I was not comfortable, somewhere down the line my parents convinced me to cut medication. Off with the Xanax (too fast, of course) and tapered the paxil to 10mg (too fast, of course!). I was doing well (so to speak) until I collapsed into a more horrible depression with suicidal ideation and urges. Well, I think you can guess the rest and I won’t bore you with 10-15 useless years. Changed and added new meds. Ranging from: Paxil, Klonopin, Lithium, Zyprexa, Lamictal, Ritalin, Trileptal, Effexor XR. I was separated and made the mistake to get back before I was ready, pushed by a psychiatrist with an agenda! Started with worse anxiety, I ended up seeing a psychiatrist that introduced washout in Cornell at Westchester, NY. What a slam of a deal! Stupid people tapered me off all the drugs in a 3 week range, leaving me with panic attacks that hit the roof. Sleeping was damaged, so was I. I complained, so they reinstated Klonopin, added: Depakote, Ambien for sleep, Lexapro, Seroquel low dose for sleep, and Wellbutrin XL. I was one big mess. This happened in 2013. I was separated, to be divorced, after that incident for good. Living in my parents’ house was hell and the doctors and parents started blaming me for being not motivated and a weakling. After a few months of torture, I started seeing a psychologist that works with the “system” suggesting a new, best in the world psychiatrist for meds and he’ll do the therapy… Now my regimen has changed to: Cymbalta, Wellbutrin XL, Klonopin continued, Viibryd, Seroquel increased, and Deplin. I wasn’t doing too great and my parents suggested holistic medicine. A cortisol test confirmed the highest level of cortisol 24hr a day. I was given supplements, a diet plan, and Seriphos. The Seriphos worked like a charm and after a couple of months, I was read to even think about withdrawing from drugs. I started with Wellbutrin and went down to 75mg Regular release (from 450mg), Cymbalta to 60mg (from 120mg). Still stuck on Seroquel 200mg, Klonopin 2.5mg, and Viibryd 20mg. This is where I crashed and had to stop the withdrawal, for now. I can’t seem to break below 60mg of Cymbalta and was told by people on this forum, outside of forum that I need to go slower. I guess this is where I’m now. A short and sweat hell. After the Hospital event, where I stayed for a month behind locked doors and fortress like walls, I seemed to not respond to the drugs the same way anymore and have constant mood swings and other withdrawal symptoms. I’m working in NY as a Database Reporter and trying to keep my job despite the difficulties… I have two wonderful kids and I’m hoping and praying to G-d that things will turn around and get better. Maybe this forum will allow me to learn other people’s experiences so I’ll heal smater! I am seeing a new holistic practitioner and taking lots of supplements. I also took the 23andme genetic test showing some defects. Did multiple testing and I guess it’s a hit or miss; sometimes I’ll feel better, other times not!
  21. Aargh! My head feels like when you go down an elevator too fast, pressure. Only opening your mouth and yawning do no good. I can't focus, think, sleep...My Dr. is attempting to remove Cymbalta from my regimen. He is suspecting that it may be causing or contributing to an ongoing bout of diarrhea that fails to respond to traditional or prescribed medications. I have to reduce it to zero and stay off for at least a week before I can begin a new medication. Surprisingly, not as much pain as I expected, but not quite off of it either. I drove to see my daughter yesterday and almost didn't make it home on my own. Crying jags and confusion. No driving for awhile. Struggling at this dose to cope with daily activities.
  22. hi i was put on cymbalta and developed low blood pressure and high pulse rate....asked the doc if it was the Cymbalta they both said no.....went on it for 6 mmonths and weened down to 2.5 milligrams doc said just go off it did and went into withdrawal so they put me on prozac for 3 weeks and said then you can stop...well i have never been so sick in my life....it causes my bronchia to just ache when i put my sleep apnea machine on i am now taking prednizone so i can sleep and now my kidneys are acting up all my nerve endings are seized in my chest and stomache..and i am 26 days cold turkey...funny i cold turkeyed for 4 days and then tried to go back on a low dose and the pain was worse.....i am having such a bad time see a specialist on Friday hope he can help and...when i stand up my right shoulder and chest go numb so go figure...went to emerg 12 times they know nothing....go see your GP he said your sick on the drug so go off it and deal with the withdrawal and meditate....begged to go to the psych ward hoping a psych would know something about this drug quess what 4 psychs knew nothing...i mean nothing...i said put me in and figure something out...no !
  23. I began taking an antidepressant, Effexor, approx 10 years ago following a divorce after 21 yrs of marriage and uncontrollable crying that was frightening my young daughter. I was told “ it doesn’t change your personality, it just takes the edge off” and allows you to be more functional. I was a single mom in a cut throat stressful job and meeting the wrong guys. It worked! No more crying. I felt great. I changed docs who put me on 90 mg of Cymbalta, 150 mg of Wellbutrin and 60 mg of Vyvanse. His dx was GAD with secondary depression and ADD. I’m not sure if it was true. I think it was situational and the meds made me forgetful. I was losing things and wanting to see constantly. I’m retired now and daughter graduated college and moved away for a job. I was ready to get off the drugs to see who I really was now - warts and all. Doc advised I needed the meds. I hated the sedated feeling. He advised switching to Pristiq. I got script filled but decided not to start it. So, unknown to doc, I tapered myself to 60 mg for a few months then 30 mg for a couple few months. No withdrawal symptoms at all until I stopped, cold turkey, from 30 mg. It hit at about day 4. Even still using the Wellbutrin 150 mg my symptoms began - no brain shocks, just severe emotional swings, nausea, fatigue, insomnia, difficulty concentrating, sore throat, weepy, sad, nasal stuffiness, dizziness, etc. It’s making relationships difficulty. Yestetday, desperate, I cut up the Pristiq and took about 1/3 to simulate about 20 mg of Cymbalta to help. I was going to taper Wellbutrin last. Not a great idea but it helped a bit. Then I researched and found the nightmare story of Cymbalta, dependency and withdrawal. And advice on tapering correctly. I’m here to do just that. Thanks. Let’s do this.
  24. divewarm

    divewarm: Cymbalta

    (Moved from: Tips for tapering off Cymbalta Reading through this thread has been moderately terrifying. I've been taking 90mg for 11 years. I've tried various ways of tapering ... and nothing has worked. My pharmacy recently changed brands, and I've been having horrid side effects (similar to withdrawal symptoms). I'm super sensitive to any changes, and had resigned myself to being "addicted" for the rest of my life. I will definitely be following up with my physician on this particular taper method. Thank you!
  25. I beat withdrawal and in the process I beat a depression that had been plaguing me for half my life. I’ve been meaning to share my story for sometime now but have failed to take the time to do so. When I was in the thick of it back in 2016 I heavily utilized this site for answers, for comfort, and for inspiration. Unfortunately there don’t seem to be a lot of success stories but I am proud to say I am one. It was quite a daunting task writing this all down, I swear I could write a novel based on my experience with depression and antidepressants. Irregardless I hope my story can help encourage those currently in the midst of withdrawal just as stories I had read on this site encouraged me during my withdrawal. I am a 27 year old man and I took antidepressants from 2010 to early 2016. My first year was on Zoloft and the next five years were on Effexor 150mg. Depression entered my life around the age of 13 and it more or less stayed there up until recently. Sure there were periods of time where it subsided but eventually I would always return to my depressed default state. When I was about 13 my father died unexpectedly, a few years later my grandfather was murdered. My teenage years were very lonely. Affected by the deaths and trying to understand my sexuality pushed me into a state of isolation, it was during this time where I developed a very strong pornograghy addiction. Rather than talk about my issues through friends and therapy I chose to keep them hidden and use medication to do the work for me. Soon after starting college I got on Zoloft. It suited me, I felt calm and content but I craved something more stimulating. I had previously been prescribed adderall, but I recognized the ill effects it had on my personality so I stopped taking it. The campus doctor recommended Effexor, he said I might find it to be more stimulating. Therefore without question I took the prescription and worked my way up to 150mg where I would remain the next 5 years. During this time I was also taking ambien nightly, and between these two drugs I was able block out any of the persistent issues that were bothering me. I was numb. Years later I was living in a house with two very supportive roommates. These two guys would become my best friends and for the first time in my life I actually opened up about the things that truly bothered me. I also finally decided to get into therapy. In retrospect I could see that I was not actually happy on the antidepressants. I was just going through the motions, numb to the good and numb to the bad. I could see my growing disconnect from people. Up until those roommates I didn’t have close friends, I wasn't dating, and I certainly wasn’t having sex. I was almost 25 and still a virgin. The antidepressants removed the desire to be intimate with people, I was living in perpetual loneliness. So in January of 2016 I made the decision I was getting off Effexor and that was that. As with most doctors, my doctor had no idea how to get me off. There are no established plans to get people off of antidepressants, once your on them your expected to stay on them. So every two weeks I would half the dosage, and at the lowest dosage I was to take it every other day. That was completely idiotic as Effexor only has a 12 hour half life, essentially I would be playing ping pong with my brain chemistry. Fortunately I did not follow that last part of the plan but I did get off too quickly. After five years on the drug, six weeks is not long enough to get completely off. My first day off of Effexor was also my first day on a one month solo trip through South America which was during my birthday month when I would be turning 25. The trip was fantastic but it gave me a false sense of security as to what life would be like without the drug. While traveling you are processing so much new information and your brain is naturally producing tons of dopamine through all these new experiences therefore I was not accurately feeling what real withdrawal would feel like. I had some minor headaches the first week of the trip but that was really it. By the time the trip ended I thought life without antidepressants was going to be a piece of cake, boy was I wrong. When I came back it was time to face reality, and I had to do so without relying on Effexor. We were moving from our house, my two awesome roommates were going their separate ways and I was on my own. On top of that I had a very important all consuming project at work to figure out. My anxiety was through the roof. I had a prescription for Ativan that I used very sparingly to get me through, but the anxiety was so bad I thought I needed a more permanent solution. I had to do whatever it took to get through this move and this project so I went back to the doctor to try a different antidepressant. He put me on Lexapro, I believe it was only 5mg but I could feel it instantly. I was finding I was hypersensitive to everything now. I was only able to tolerate Lexapro for 5 days because on the fifth day I was contemplating suicide. Whatever fire I had inside me that had always gotten me through the tough **** felt extinguished and I just wanted to die. I ended up going back to Effexor only taking 10 or so beads from the capsule, just that small amount made a tremendous difference in my anxiety. I did this until I had settled into a new place and my project was complete. While my anxiety was calmed my emotions were neutralized and my libido was extinguished. These were the exact reasons I got off in the first place so I knew I had to stick with the plan of staying off for good. Things were calming down but I was very depressed and had a complete lack of motivation. I was trying a lot of things like B-vitamins, Magnesium, L-theanine, and Fish Oil. I could feel some benefit from each of them but after a few days I would be back in my depression. I had very low energy and I was sensitive to everything. Just eating bread would make me feel terrible even though I had no apparent gluten intolerance previously. It was around this time a good friend of mine talked me into doing Improv. I thought it was crazy but I had nothing left to lose. So even at my worst I did Improv and I also continued training in the martial art Krav Maga. No matter how bad I felt I would show up and make a fool of myself in Improv or hit the **** out of something in Krav. I always felt much relief whenever I did either and I credit both of those activities to helping me beat my depression in the long run. I opened up a lot to my friends and family about what was going on in my head, and whenever my anxiety felt high I would challenge myself into doing something that made me uncomfortable. I performed on stage, I did sparring at my gym, I went on dates with guys, and I opened up to my Mom about my sexuality. My motto was “oh you think you’re anxious now? Wait till you do this!” While all these lifestyle changes helped build up my confidence I still struggled to find relief from my depression. I thoroughly researched the neurotransmitters and what vitamins and supplements help support what. I determined that my issues seemed to lie with Dopamine. So I went back to my doctor to get on Wellbutrin. I was not happy about throwing in the towel again but I also wasn’t ultimately finding relief. I was open to Wellbutrin because it supposedly did not have as severe of sexual side effects. I started taking it and I actually felt pretty damn good. Unfortunately I also broke out in hives. So it was back to the drawing board. I tried St. John’s wort and SAM-e, neither of those did anything. Finally I tried L-Tyrosine, this seemed to make the biggest difference. Like I hypothesized, my problem stemmed from dopamine and L-Tyrosine is a precursor in the creation of dopamine. While I found some relief, it was very finicky. Taking too much made me feel like I was going to have a heart attack, too little of course did nothing at all. It was also very easily influenced by the digestive process so it was hard to find consistency and consistency was what I needed as I was about to hop on a very stressful 6 week project. I threw in the towel again this time looking at Cymbalta. I had read that it was less likely to cause the sexual side effects that Effexor does. It was true, I found my libido did not seem to suffer as badly however I downright felt badly. I felt achy, my head hurt, I felt dehydrated, and I was terrified to force my body to adjust to this seemingly toxic drug. I knew that I had no intentions of staying on antidepressants my whole life therefore if Cymbalta feels this harsh to adjust to in the beginning then I can only imagine what it would feel like to get off of. This whole withdrawal process shook me to my core. While I was desperate to find relief so that I could function at work I also knew that I never wanted to withdrawal from an antidepressant again. I tossed the Cymbalta and I went back to taking a few beads of the Effexor. Once again I felt relief but once again my libido vanished as did my emotions. The most striking difference I noticed once I was back on the Effexor had to do with a coworker. I had a thing for one of the girls I was working with and I knew she felt similarly. Whenever she smiled at me I could feel an electricity rush through my body. When I got back on Effexor and she smiled at me, I felt nothing. That was it, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I could be depressed, anxious, and barely able to function but I was not going to lose the feeling of being human. I was not going to lose feeling a connection with someone, caring about someone, and I sure as hell was not going to lose my libido, not at 25. Antidepressants were out, I had to find another way. That’s when I discovered a different form of L-Tyrosine called N-Actetyl-L-Tyrosine, this form is less affected by digestion and crosses the blood brain barrier more easily. It took a lot of experimentation with how to dose the N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine. It caused a lot of headaches but it was relieving my depression and anxiety. Finally I developed a regimen that included several of the vitamins I had previously tried that offered relief but couldn’t fix the problem as a whole. My regimen consisted of a B-complex, Fish oil, Vitamin C, and Vitamin D during the day; at night I would take Magnesium, melatonin, and every other night 150mg of N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine. After 6 months of suffering and countless experimentation I finally found stability again with my own personal regimine. I more or less stayed on this particular plan for a year, and the extreme depression and anxiety stayed away. I had never felt better because I was actually feeling everything like a human being should. I was also very in tune with my emotions, as soon as I felt depressing thoughts creeping in I would identify them and root out what may be causing them. I continued challenging myself with the improv, krav maga, and anything else that my old self would swear I could never do. I also continued therapy and being open and honest with those around me. I beat the depression that had been plaguing me the majority of my life. I didn’t stay on that particular set of vitamins and supplements indefinitely, I started dropping things along the way. After about a year the N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine started acting finicky again, I was suffering headaches similar to when I first got on it. I ended up dropping the Tyrosine several months ago and instead started experimenting with Rhodiola Rosea. So far it has been working well. If the Rhodiola Rosea stops working I’ll try something else, the important thing is that my mindset has changed. I’m extremely self aware, I’ve accomplished so many things I thought I could never do, and I know that I no longer need antidepressants to function. Depression will always be something I will battle but I’m finally now in the driver's seat and I am not going to give up my spot so easily this time. Withdrawal is horrible but its an important process in forming a new and better self. Just because L-Tyrosine and Rhodiola Rosea have helped me doesn’t mean they will help everyone. It took a lot of trial and error to find what seemed to click. Ultimately it was challenging myself, being honest and open with those around me, and learning mindfulness that truly brought me into the light. I hope my story can provide some ray of hope for all of you out there in the thick of it. It can be done. It’s not the end of the world to reinstate just know what your ultimate goals are and stick to them.
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