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DigDug

DigDug: concerned about moving from Viibryd to Cymbalta and brain zaps

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DigDug

Hello,

I’ve been taking Viibryd 40 mg. several years for depression.  I’m concerned that it is not working as well as it has until recently ( last month or so).  When I miss a dose for more than a day, I get the alarming ‘brain zaps’ and brain fog.  So, I asked my GP Dr. if I could try Cymbalta to see how it would work.  He gave me the script for Cymbalta 60 mg. and had it filled.  Im hesitate to switch since I’m not sure how this will go.  My thought was that there should be a titration period from Viibryd to Cymbalta since my previous changes were titrationed.  But, he said to just stop the Viibryd and start the Cymbalta the next day.  This is what scares me.  So, I’m curious if anyone has had any experience with these two drugs and if so, what was your experience.  My other concern is that if I’m to eventually stop antidepressants in the future, the brain zaps will never leave and I don’t think that I could handle it.  This thought is from others experiences that I’ve read about on the web.

 

Many thanks in advance for your thoughts and or experiences.

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ChessieCat

Hi DigDug and welcome to SA,

 

SA is a site for reducing or going off psychiatric drugs.  We generally do not make recommendations about what drug to change to.

 

Changing to a different drug may not be successful.  You might get withdrawal from the old drug and start up/side effects/bad reaction to the new drug.  You will not know what is causing any issues.

 

55 minutes ago, DigDug said:

When I miss a dose for more than a day, I get the alarming ‘brain zaps’ and brain fog. 

 

This is not unusual and is a withdrawal symptom.  Psychiatric drugs need to be taken same dose, daily, at about the same time.  I have had brain zaps when I have missed a dose of Pristiq.  Please see Skipping Days vs Every Day Dosing Graph

 

I will provide you with some links to check out:

 

Before you begin tapering what you need to know 

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?


are-we-there-yet-how-long-is-withdrawal-going-to-take

 

Dr Joseph Glenmullen's WD Symptoms Checklist

 

If you would like assistance with reducing or getting off drug/s, then SA is the right place for information and support.  Learning about psychiatric drugs will help you to make informed decisions.

 

 

Edited by ChessieCat

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ChessieCat

Because you are taking more than one drug, I strongly suggest that you put all your current drugs in the Drug Interactions Checker

 

Ensure that you go all the way down to the bottom of the screen to see the drug duplication categories.

 

You may find that some of the symptoms you are experiencing are because of interactions.

 

Please copy the link and paste it in a post.

 

 

Edited by ChessieCat

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DigDug

Hi ChessieCat,

 

Happy New Year to you and the other members.  I want to thank you for your provided thoughts and informational links.  I plan to review them to gain further knowledge around how I can better move forward.  

 

When I began taking antidepressants years ago, I began with a Psyhciatrist and always did for those medications, check ups until approximately a ago.  When it became to far off drive, I decided to have my GP Dr. fill my anti depressant prescriptions.  All was going well and was considering a taper down until a couple of months ago when I felt a slight slip in performance.  This has brought me to reconsider that and the possible switch.  

Cymbalta came to mind since it apparently helps with some musculoskeletal issues which I too suffer from in my spine.

 

I have used the drug interaction checklist and that also concerns me as one of the symptoms can create heart palpitations, etc. After reasearching that, I think that some of these prescriptions are contributing to that.  

 

I’m going to try to find a new Psych soon and work with them on some new strategies.   Overall, the drugs have helped tremendously, but the side effects of trying to get off them is criminal.  I don’t think I could spend the rest of my life with daily brain zaps...

 

Thanks again for all of your information thus far and potential assistance going forward!   It helps and means a lot to know that there are others out there going through the same as myself and willing to help throug their experiences 🤗

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ChessieCat

This topic has links to tips for tapering different drugs:  Important topics in the Tapering forum and FAQ

 

9 minutes ago, DigDug said:

I don’t think I could spend the rest of my life with daily brain zaps... 

 

You said in your first post that you get brain zaps when you miss doses.

 

Q:  Are you taking your drugs every day?

 

Skipping days is not recommended.  Psychiatric drugs need to be taken daily at about the same time.  Skipping Days vs Every Day Dosing Graph 

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DigDug

A: Yes, I am taking my drugs daily as prescribed. The zaps have only happened on the rare occasion that I have accidentally missed a dose.  I meant that it would be a shame and very difficult to deal with even if monitored / tapered off of them with Dr. assistance.

Essentially, to put all of the time and energy into tapering off, however long that is, then find you still have to suffer with zaps, etc. would seem like a waste.  I guess I'll not know until it's tried.  that said, if it happens, it will most certainly be under a Professionals watch and guidance.

 

Q: From your signature, it appears that you have tapered from 100mg of Pristiq to 5 mg over a 3 year period.  That seems like a long time to me, but that could very well be the proper amount of time necessary.  During that period, have you suffered with zaps, or other withdrawal symptoms over that 3 yr period?  

 

I didn't review your graph yet, which may answer my question.

 

Many thanks - 

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ChessieCat
55 minutes ago, DigDug said:

A: Yes, I am taking my drugs daily as prescribed.

Good.

56 minutes ago, DigDug said:

Q: From your signature, it appears that you have tapered from 100mg of Pristiq to 5 mg over a 3 year period.  That seems like a long time to me, but that could very well be the proper amount of time necessary.

Tapering Calculator - Online

Because I have to get my tablets compounded I have had to tailor may taper to the doses I get (combos of main dose plus 5mg, 2mg, 1mg, 0.5mg, 0.25mg, 0.125mg).  Some doses I hold for 3 weeks (if it is a lot lower than 10%) and other doses I hold for 4 weeks (closer to 10%).

 

I've just used the calculated to work out if I had tapered 10% every 4 weeks I would be at 0.01mg on 23rd March 2022, so I may not be off at the end of next year, which is what I was hoping for.  After 5+ years of tapering another few months isn't going to make much difference.

 

59 minutes ago, DigDug said:

During that period, have you suffered with zaps, or other withdrawal symptoms over that 3 yr period?   

 

I've only experienced mild withdrawal symptoms.  No brain zaps.  There have been times when the symptoms have increased, usually when external stressors increased.  For example my anxiety increased for a few weeks after I had a helicopter flying lesson for my 60th birthday about 18 months ago.  Even good things can be a stressor.  Some members find that exercising too much causes their symptoms to ramp up.

 

The side effects from Pristiq have lessened as my dose got lower, and after I got below 20mg my emotions started returning.  It wasn't until that started happening that I realised how numb I had been for so many years, although I do think that it was worse on Pristiq SNRI than on citalopram SSRI.

 

Please see the following for links to tips for tapering various drugs.

 

Important topics in the Tapering forum and FAQ

 

Not many doctors understand psychiatric drug tapering and withdrawal symptoms which is why this site exists.

 

How do you talk to a doctor about tapering and withdrawal?


What should I expect from my doctor about withdrawal symptoms?

 

Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery

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DigDug

Thank you so much for this information.  I’m going to find a new Psychiatrist/therapist this week to get back into regular visits.  Hopefully, I can begin a taper down soon and have a good experience going forward.  

 

I don’t think that I could learn to fly a helicopter, but wishing you the best if you stick with it.  I hope to update you soon as to my next steps and findings.

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ChessieCat
39 minutes ago, DigDug said:

Thank you so much for this information.  I’m going to find a new Psychiatrist/therapist this week to get back into regular visits.

 

You don't need to see a psychiatrist to get prescriptions.  Regular doctors can write them.  So if you need counseling focus on finding a good one for that specific purpose and if they can't write scripts then get them done elsewhere.  Just be aware that not many medical professionals understand tapering and withdrawals.  My suggestion would be to suss them out first, because if they are pro drug then they are more likely to label you with a psych tag and blame any issues on you having on a mental illness or relapse and not taking the "therapeutic dose", which by the way is an arbitrary term that the pharmaceutical companies use and the term they teach the doctors etc.  SA prefers to use "lowest effective dose".

 

34 minutes ago, DigDug said:

I don’t think that I could learn to fly a helicopter, but wishing you the best if you stick with it

 

No, I'm not going further with it.  It was a "big" birthday and I wanted to do something special.  I had thought about a harbour tour, but I've done those before.  Then I thought of a helicopter scenic flight and then didn't know where to go and thought that it was a bit expensive to do the longer flight plus purchase the dash cam usb (getting up over the $500 price tag).  The lesson cost $330 for 1/2 and was a great experience.  I've only ever flown in a plane twice when I was 16.  I never got to use the foot controls but that was fine.  I had fun and a great memory.  I would have loved to gone back for another go, but then I think I would have got hooked and being on a pension I can't afford it.

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DigDug

Ok, thank you.  Apologies for my delays as I try to jump on between family and work.

 I think that I’m going to search for a good counselor/therapist to speak with and if they can’t prescribe, I’ll have that done via a professional that can.   It’s been years since I’ve worked with someone, so it’s probably time to give that a go again.  

All said, I may be loosing my insurance in the near future which would be a big problem with any appointments and continued medication costs.  The cost for care and medications here is astronomical without insurance, so I’m hopeful that can be continued. 

I now understand about the helicopter flight and that sounds like it was a great experience.  I’m glad that you were able to follow through with it and had an enjoyable experience.  I’ve never been in one, but have been on many plane flights.  I’m better now with flying than in the past, but anytime over 2-3 hours, I’m ready to land.  

Thanks again and looking forward to keeping you posted as to how things go 🙂

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Altostrata

Hello, DigDug. You've been taking Xanax daily since 2013? What are the symptoms of Viibryd "not working as well as it has"?

 

Why are you taking Lamictal and Buspar as well?

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Carmie

Hi DigDug, 

 

How are you doing?💚

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