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PapayaShake: Tapering Cymbalta

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PapayaShake

I'm tappering off Cymbalta after starting it on december 2015.

 

I didn't realize until it was too late, but while on cymbalta I lost the ability to feel, so i decided to quit

I tought it coulnd't get worse, but now that I´m tappering I feeling even less, I guess that´s part of the withdrawal

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Madeleine

Welcome to the forum!

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PapayaShake

Hi, 

 

I just joined the forum after looking for some support over the internet.

 

I was prescribed Duloxetine Cymbalta on December 2015, for treating severe depression and anxiety.

I started on 30mg and went up to 120mg 

 

I didn't make me feel as great as promised but at least I felt like I could manage my emotions a little bit better. 

 

After  8 months taking it was when I first started to notice some changes in myself. The first one was that I had almost no libido, and I stopped having romantic feelings for my partner.

At first I thought I was loosing interest in her, but it seemed strange that  I felt intensely in love just a few weeks before and our relationship was running smooth, no big events happened for my heart to change its  feelings so abruptly. Anyway I thought it was just me and my mental dilemmas.

 

While going to one of my appointments with my psychiatrist, I mentioned this and she said that "anorgasmia" was one of the side effects of cymbalta. That she didn't mention it because she thought that it wouldn't be a problem for me. I was very irritated at the fact that she didn't mention such a thing before prescribing me the drug. She then prescribed me some other antidepressant supposed no to have much of this side effect, and recommended to tapper cymbalta in just one week before starting the new drug.

 

Alarmed at the fact that she never mentioned such an important side effect, I wondered what else she might have omitted, so before I started on the new antidepressant and wrecked my brain further I searched more about cymbalta and antidepressants in general.

 

What I found was shocking, and discovered that not only the anorgasmia was a side effect of the drug but also the loss of romantic feelings, and a ton of other symptoms I was experiencing, which I thought were just me, were actually part of the mess this thing was causing in my brain. One of them was having a precise anxiety episode and panic attack always at the same hour of the day every day.

 

After learning this I decided that I did not wanted to take the new antidepressant and wanted to stop taking the cymbalta as soon as I can.

 

At the time I knew nothing about quitting cold turkey and such, so I just went down from 120mg, to 60mg as the Dr. said. There were no 30mg caps available at any pharmacy around so I went cold turkey form there. 

 

The first 2 days were fine, but at the third day my stomach started feeling bad which I attributed to my poor eating habits recently, I had light sensibility a strong migraine to the point where I couldn't open my eyes, tinnitus and other symptoms, I had to go home from work. I thought I was getting a flu or something, but then googled and found it was withdrawal from cymbalta.

 

I took the same dose and I was back to normal the next day. I tried quitting cold turkey one more time but the same happened.

 

I found a web site with instructions on how to tapper. 

 

I started reducing 10% the dose. I bought on amazon a scale the measures milligrams, because counting beads seamed too much time consuming and inaccurate. So I open them and measure them in the scale everyday.

 

From October 2016 to April 2017 I've reduced from 120 mg to 8.5 mg a day.

 

Since I'm taking such a low dose I thought Tapering faster  would be ok but even lowering a couple of milligrams makes difference and triggers the withdrawal symptoms.

 

The cymbalta induced panic attacks have left me, (the ones that were always at the same hour) But I'm left with a lot of other side effects. 

I feel like I'm not the same person that I used to be. I was a creative person but there is no creativity left in me. I can't concentrate, I lost my job because I made too much mistakes and forgot things (My bosses used to praise for my performance an diligence at my my previous jobs, even this one). I used to be very compassionate towards people  and the world, one of my dreams was to have a non profit organization to feed poor people or something along those lines, now I couldn't care less about anyone, I might even say I feel hate towards humanity. I get irritated easily and yell at people, something I never used to do.

 

I feel as if my soul was sucked out of me, I feel like a human empty shell obliged to keep on living becasuse that's just how it is. No more motivation than that. 

 

On some days for, some hours I feel a little glimpse of me, a little spark of feeling that reminds me that this is drug induced and somewhere deep down I will re emerge to live my life and be myself again.

 

I hope I can share a success story some day, because I am not going back to those antidepressants.

 

I would like to hear from others withdrawing from this drug and what things have helped during the process.

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Petunia

Welcome Papayashake,

 

Thank you for joining and sharing your story. I'm so sorry Cymbalta has done this to you, that you were not warned of these possible negative effects by your doctor. Unfortunately, this happens all the time and many people have had their lives and relationships changed in unwanted ways because of the effects of psychiatric drugs.

 

Getting off them safely can take time, but eventually you will recover and get your old self back. It sounds like you found some good information about how to taper properly, using the 10% method. This is good, its what we recommend too.

 

Here is our topic for tapering Cymbalta, you may find a few extra tips and helpful suggestions to add to what you've already been doing:

 

Tips for tapering off Cymbalta (duloxetine)

 

Its important to taper slowly as the dose gets lower. What we recommend is a taper that's based on a percentage of your current dose not of your original dose. Here is why: Why taper? Paper demonstrates importance of gradual change in plasma concentration

 

The best I can offer by way of advice is to listen to your body and avoid those things that set off symptoms as much as possible. Aside from a high quality fish oil and magnesium, avoid supplements. (See King of Supplements: Omega 3 Fatty Acids (Fish Oil) and Magnesium, Nature's Calcium Channel Blocker). They've been helpful to many of us. 

 

Here is the link to our symptoms and self care section, you may find some useful ideas to help manage symptoms as you recover.  Especially read the topics pinned at the top.

 

Thank you for filling in your signature with drug information. Please would you add a few more details to help us understand your situation clearer. Your signature appears under each post and makes it easy to see your history when responding to posts. Please add dosages, date you began tapering, rate of taper and current date and dose. Approximate dates are fine if you don't remember exactly. Also, any other medications you have taken or currently take. Last 2 years are most important.

 

You can use this thread as your ongoing journal to track progress, write about symptoms, ask questions and communicate with the community, add to it whenever you want. Its a good idea to bookmark it or follow it, so its easy to find again. I'm glad you found us.

 

Petunia.

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Altostrata

Welcome, PapayaShake.

 

Good job going down from 120mg (a very high dosage) to 10mg Cymbalta! 

 

Hang in there. This might be a good time for a nice long hold on tapering, to let your nervous system settle down for the final round. Be sure to take your drug at the same time each day.

 

Are you getting at least a half hour of gentle exercise, such as walking, per day? Do you keep regular hours? How is your sleep?

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PapayaShake

Thank you very much for the info

 

Petunia, I went trough the links and found a thread about how the last minimum dose might be even more problematic to tapper off. I was reducing 10% from original dose, but i think I hit that oh-oh point, so i should consider tappering slower.

 

Altostrata, I think i will follow your advice about staying in this dose a bit longer for my system to settle down, I did noticed that after around 15-12 mg I've had very bad withdrawal effects, but I couldn't understand why, if I was tappering as I've been doing for the past 4 months, but I see that after hitting the minimum therapeutic dose the withdrawal might kick in harder. and I think that's whats happening to me. I don't know if it would be a good idea to return to a higher dose or just stay where I am and wait f longer before the next tapper.

 

As for the exercise I'm a fitness and health fan for more than 10 yrs, but this last year while taking the drug I kinda  threw all my habits,bad and good, through the window, and i did almost no exercise and ate junk for an entire year. It has been very hard but Im finally back to exercising 5 times a week with a lot of effort and trying to loose the weight I gained. Also I sleep a lot this days, specially after the 15-12 mg reduction. I could spend litteraly the whole day sleeping if I could. 

 

I also read here how eating healthy and keeping exercise plans can help in recovery so that kinda motivates me even more.

 

I cannot tell you how grateful I am about finding this site, I thought I knew a lot about cymbalta and withdrawals but there is a lot more to know and share. I'm also thankful for you people taking the time to share what you know and helping others and me!

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ChessieCat

"I don't know if it would be a good idea to return to a higher dose or just stay where I am and wait f longer before the next tapper."

 

If you can handle your current withdrawal symptoms it is generally better to stay on the dose you are on instead of updosing.  If the symptoms are unbearable then a very small updose may help bring the withdrawal symptoms to a bearable level.  Please see Post #1 of this topic:  About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms

 

As Alto has already suggested, a long hold would most probably be worthwhile at this time to allow your brain time to catch up with the dose reductions.

 

These helped me to understand SA's recommendations:

 

Brain Remodelling


Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery

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PapayaShake

Thank you I went through the links and they were very helpful. Think i'll stay whre I am for a while

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PapayaShake

Hello, I was wondering is someone had any helpful advice.

 

Im on 2.7mg cymbalta now, I have been taking this dose for a month now. I really don't have much physical symptoms now, but anhedonia is at is worst, I have never felt so unintrested about anything in my whole life or so non-present.

 

I was wondering if I should lower the dose already or if the severe anhedonia is a sign that I should wait more time before the next dose lowering. Should I wait until I recover a bit from that lack of feeling or should I go on with my schedule, and recognise this anhedonia episode as part of the whole withdrawal-recovery thing.  I really want to get this drug off my system, specially because Im so close stop taking it

 

Any advise?

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baroquep

Hi PapayaShake,

Congratulations on getting to such a low dose of Cymbalta, you are almost there!!!

 

Just an observation … I've noticed that you are tapering a little faster than Surviving Antidepressants recommends and wonder if that might be the reason you are feeling so despondent.

 

Surviving Antidepressants recommends reducing 10% of your current dose with a hold of at least a month in-between reductions.  Some people are able to go a little faster, but at low doses it pays to be extra cautious.  Basing my calculations on a 10% monthly reduction, you should be in the range of 5.5mg at this time rather than 2.7mg.  These drugs are very powerful even in small amounts and it is recommended that people go even slower as they get towards the end. 

 

If I were you, I'd hold at your current dose for at least another month and re-evaluate where you are In a month's time. It would be a shame if you ended up running into trouble after getting so close to a drug-free life.  My concern right now is that you are at risk of destabilization as you've gone faster than is recommended. 

 

Hoping you start to feel better soon.

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Hellbutrin

Hi Baroquep,

 

I am also struggling with anhedonia. I tapered very quickly off of Wellbutrin 75 mg over one month. Is it possible that I messed up my neural connections so much that I will experience permanent apathy and anhedonia? Any advice is appreciated!

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PapayaShake

Hi Baroquep,

 

Thank you so much for the info. I guess you are right, I will stay longer on this dose.

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PapayaShake

I usually come to the forum when I am hopeless, looking for some hope. But today I just want to leave a record and say I'm feeling a bit better. I'm far from getting totally out of this since im stil on the med, but this couple of weeks I have been feeling things I have not felt for a  long time. I feel a lot less irritated by people, I might even be starting to feel empathy and compassion. I also have love feelings for my girlfriend, I feel things when I kiss her or touch her. Not as intense as before the meds but it is a good sign I guess. My though process is getting better, I'm starting to think clearlier and its getting easier to analyze things like math problems and university assignments. I have  bit of sex drive also and Im finding bits of myself inside me.

 

I stayed on 2.7mg for more than 3 months and just lowered to 2.5. And am planning to go really slow, so its still a long way to go. Even this might be just a window, but I thought I was lost, that I was never going to be myself ever, never, ever  again, so I leave this here for myself, in case I get too hopeless again, and for anyone who passes by, so we can know that the road is long and hard, but there is hope and someday, no matter how long it takes, we'll recover.

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PapayaShake

This days I've been feeling awful. Ironically I think, how can I feel awful if Im feeling nothing? 

 

I just want to give up, I want to end it all I don't know if this is the right place to say it but it's my reality. Its so hard to get up, so hard to do everyday tasks. I say to people around me that I am not  right and they just tell me to not think about it. I think I have said it so many times that it has just become normal to hear me say it, and nobody thinks it is dangerous anymore, just the same old song. But everyday I feel like is harder and harder. 

 

Its hard to make choices, to keep trying, to set goals when you have nothing inside. And my girlfriend is now bringing the " having kids" topic. I can't t decide if I want to have children If I can't even stand myself. Just waking up seems like a big task, I can't imagine myself having children to care for. 

Actually I can't imagine myself doing anything. How can someone be so empty and so dead inside. I don't want anything. 

And I can't see the light at the end of the tunel. I am so lost I don't have words to describe the horror I'm living. 

I cannot se any hope

 

Sorry I'm posting this I really don't know how what to do. 

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Altostrata

Hello, PapayaShake.

 

Long time no see. What happened in your Cymbalta taper? Please update your signature.

 

When you say you're feeling awful, what do you mean? Is it the absence of feeling?

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powerback
36 minutes ago, PapayaShake said:

This days I've been feeling awful. Ironically I think, how can I feel awful if Im feeling nothing? 

 

I just want to give up, I want to end it all I don't know if this is the right place to say it but it's my reality. Its so hard to get up, so hard to do everyday tasks. I say to people around me that I am not  right and they just tell me to not think about it. I think I have said it so many times that it has just become normal to hear me say it, and nobody thinks it is dangerous anymore, just the same old song. But everyday I feel like is harder and harder. 

 

Its hard to make choices, to keep trying, to set goals when you have nothing inside. And my girlfriend is now bringing the " having kids" topic. I can't t decide if I want to have children If I can't even stand myself. Just waking up seems like a big task, I can't imagine myself having children to care for. 

Actually I can't imagine myself doing anything. How can someone be so empty and so dead inside. I don't want anything. 

And I can't see the light at the end of the tunel. I am so lost I don't have words to describe the horror I'm living. 

I cannot se any hope

 

Sorry I'm posting this I really don't know how what to do. 

HI PS sorry to hear your in so much pain .it doesn't help you but I'm having a bad day myself .I get you about the kids issue ,i don't know how you approach this because its stressful to even think about it ,I'm in a similar boat .

SA Is a great tool and help but keep trying to find hope for yourself ,I read an article In madinamerica.com yesterday that gave me hope and determination .

The fact your posting and reaching out means there's something still inside your soul its just tangled up in this dam mess .I had to stop listening to a podcast there because I'm exhausted  and my wanting  to be well is over taking my common  sense so ile try find something less taxing on my brain .

Nutrition and the mechanics of the body ,I recommend keep learning everything you can about your body and what works for it .#

its taken this mess for me to seek spirituality .

Keep at it and you are not alone .

Peace. 

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PapayaShake

Hi powerback Im so sorry for not comming back until now. Thank you so much for your kind words. And sorry for not staying much Im so depressed 

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PapayaShake

Today I have paid my ultimate toll to this meds. Today my girlfriend left me. Why? Because Im a mess. Obviously she didn't say that. She looks to the future with me wants a family and a home together and I am an empty hole of nothingness that does not even knows what she wants to wear. My personality is so damaged that I don't picture a stable person. I want a family too and those things but I don't know what happens to me Im so lost i broke her heart wirh my unstableness and indessision and lack of character and I can't mend that.   Whatever I did it affected her deeply and I broke her and the sad part is that this is not me, someone other that is not my real self did this, i cannot distinguish wich thoughts are mine or not. I feel like Im someone who I dont recognize and this monster is who hurt her and I don't think I'm ever going to be abble to prove her I'm not like this, I will never be able to redeem myself because even though I can feel the damage of this meds, outside it looks like just me, and that is just how life is

 

I hate all that has happened to me, not just this but all what this meds have done to me, my life is distroyed. 

 

Im so sad and the damage is unrepairable.

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PapayaShake
On 5/20/2018 at 12:38 PM, Altostrata said:

Hello, PapayaShake.

 

Long time no see. What happened in your Cymbalta taper? Please update your signature.

 

When you say you're feeling awful, what do you mean? Is it the absence of feeling?

Hello Alto, 

 

 

I missed your message. 

I'm getting really close to getting off the meds

 

The anhedonia is really bad, is hellish actually. I do have a strange feeling though, I feel like I'm inside me now (and that has set in, which I think is a good sign I guess??) but I can't feel emotions like love and I have no motivation at all. It creeps me out because it’s like only my awareness is back but not all the other things about myself and it makes me wonder if this is the new me. Are the other things going to come back? I really feel no love, can’t stand people, and just want to be alone forever.

 

I’m having severe mood swings, I can be in different states through the day. (I feel like the man in that movie who had 27 personalities :c)

 

I don’t really have much physical symptoms but anhedonia is killing me, I try to hang on reading success stories trying to accept and just watch and try not to judge and hoping to get better.

 

Anyway I´m now taking 0.006 mg/ day  Cymbalta, that is 10 pellets, been reducing 2 pellets every month, which was less than 10% the dose because I felt I was going to fast but now for my next reduction I can’t crush the pellets into 1.5 pellets.  I went through the Cymbalta WD thread and something called micro-tapper was mentioned and it said to reduce 1 pellet every week. I wonder if it is ok to do this because I can’t divide the pellets anymore

.

Hope anyone can give some advice

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Altostrata
19 hours ago, PapayaShake said:

I’m having severe mood swings, I can be in different states through the day. (I feel like the man in that movie who had 27 personalities :c)

 

This sounds like you've been tapering too fast. When did these severe symptoms start?

 

Please stop tapering now.

 

Emotional anesthesia is a side effect of the drugs and can persist after you go off them. You will need to be patient as it very, very gradually goes away.

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PapayaShake
1 hour ago, Altostrata said:

 

This sounds like you've been tapering too fast. When did these severe symptoms start?

 

Please stop tapering now.

 

Emotional anesthesia is a side effect of the drugs and can persist after you go off them. You will need to be patient as it very, very gradually goes away.

I'm sorry I got the dose wrong I forgot that I had to do a conversion between my scale measurements and actual mg. (it measures in some other unit) Im actually on 1.8 mg though Im actually counting beads now instead.

 

 

I started feeling like this about a month ago. I had even stopped tappering during the previous 2 months and didn't make any reduction back then (when symptoms started) I feel Im much more stable now than back when it started and posted the comment. 

Also my condition without ADs is borderline personality disorder which is characterized by mood swings.

 

Don't know if it is a bad wave. I will stop the tapper until I get more stabilized and take away only one pellet per month I guess. 

 

 

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Altostrata

What did Cymbalta do for your "borderline personality disorder"?

 

You may have to hold at this low dose for a while, wait for symptoms to go away. If they don't, you might updose a tiny bit, one or two beads.

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PapayaShake

@AltostrataI think I'm a lot more stabilized now. The mood swings are almost back to normal. 

 

The Cymbalta was prescribed for an anxiety crisis (which is  co-ocurring with borderline often )  I was going through, not for the borderline per se. 

Borderliners are charaterized for feeling extremely, the good and the bad, I can say with Cymbalta all the intense bad feelings just got even worse, more panic and more paranoid, I started cutting, something I never did before the pills and now that I'm on a low dose I can say I don't feel such an intense need to cut as before. Without meds I had intense bad feelings but also intense good ones but it seems like all the good: love, expectation, motivation etc. Were numbed, but all the bad ones were super intensified, my panic atacks got worse than ever before, never have I felt better while taking this, I got super suicidal and exploded in rage. So in short it did nothing for my borderline, it got me worse just numbed the good part that was left of me. 

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Altostrata

Good to hear you're stabilizing. It's important you not freak out about drug-induced symptoms.

 

Strongly recommend you look for Dialectical Behavior Therapy while you plan your drug-free life.

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PapayaShake
Posted (edited)
 

It’s hard to remember that even mental states are actually symptoms, but I’ll try my best to keep it in mind, thanks.

 

I bought a DBT workbook a few weeks ago, since I can’t afford therapy right now, but stopped reading it because my mind wouldn't take anything in. I’m planning to get back on it once my mind gets a bit more functional.

 

Thank you very much Alto for all you do, and all the effort you put into helping other people, it really is invaluable and I appreciate it a lot.

 

Edited by ChessieCat
reduced font

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Galmond

PS  hello

 

I want to say I feel all of you pain and suffering. I was on cymbalta for six yrs. Then all he'll broke loose. I've been trying to recover and get some of my life back with no progress. I've lost my job lodt my fiance and now I'm looking my home. So if you need someone to vent to that fully understands I'm here.

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PapayaShake
23 hours ago, Galmond said:

PS  hello

 

I want to say I feel all of you pain and suffering. I was on cymbalta for six yrs. Then all he'll broke loose. I've been trying to recover and get some of my life back with no progress. I've lost my job lodt my fiance and now I'm looking my home. So if you need someone to vent to that fully understands I'm here.

Hello @Galmond Im so sorry all of this has happened to you,  I lost my previous job too becuase of cognitive issues caused by the pils, dropped my grades a lot and almost lost my relationship with my girlfriend which I'm trying to work on but I feel very insecure. I hate all  thatr this cymbalta has done to us. It's alway nice to have someone to talk to and vent, feel free to PM me if you would like to talk and obviously you can vent too if you need (:  

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PapayaShake
On 8/9/2018 at 12:52 PM, Altostrata said:

You're welcome. Meditation is also a good way to go -- and it's free.

 

Just be sure to pause and observe any symptoms, even mental ones, rather than spiraling into worry, anxiety, or despair about them.

 

See Dealing with Emotional Spirals and Important topics about symptoms, including sleep problems

 Thank you, Ill be sure to check those!

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