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Caroline: Cymbalta withdrawal


Caroline

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Hi,

 

Read an article in the New Yorker called The Challenge of Going off Psychiatric Drugs. The story of tons of medication combos with hospitalizations and withdrawal over years resonated with me. This forum was mentioned and honestly a relief because there hasn't been a ton of help with withdrawal.

 

With insurance/doctor issues ive stopped cold turkey off Cymbalta multiple times throughout the past year but recently tapered off with help of my doctor. (lowering by 35 mg a week). In the month of coming off I've had severe tremors, crying spells,  hypersensitivity, and bizarre vivid dreams (with the history of no dreams at all). I'm not unfamiliar with these flu-like symptoms from past cold turkey withdrawal but it frankly makes me wonder if I'm just too weak to adjust lol.

 

Also having been on many high doses of various medicines since puberty I dont have a baseline for myself or my disposition. Is my true nature extremely agitated or is it withdrawal? But given my young age I wanted to possibly experience life not on drugs - also being on Seroquel really messed up weight gain and hope for some metabolism bounceback.

 

Medication history is currently vague due to memory loss, high stress, and young age at the time of many changes. Trying to piece it back together.

  • 08/2013 Celexa 10 mg; Seroquel 250 mg
  • 02/2014 Lithium 600 mg; Seroquel 150 mg
  • 03/2014 → immediate discontinue of prior medicine, begin gradual increase of Wellbutrin, Lexapro
  • 04/2014 Seroquel XR 300 mg; Lexapro 10 mg; Wellbutrin 450 mg
  • 02/2015 Cymbalta 60 mg; Seroquel XR 300 mg; Deplin 15-90.314 mg 
  • 05/2015 Cymbalta 60 mg; Seroquel XR 100 mg
  • 11/2015 Cymbalta 60 mg → 02/2018 Cymbalta 90 mg → 11/2018 Cymbalta 120 mg
  • 05/2019 Cymbalta Cold Turkey (as recommended by Dr.) → reinstated 60mg after severe WD symptoms and relapse
  • 12/2020 Began taper of 30 mg Cymbalta (removing 10% of beads in capsule each week)
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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Caroline: Cymbalta withdrawal
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Caroline, welcome to SA.  I'm glad you read the article and found our forum.  The taper your doctor recommended looks very fast, I would say not much better than a cold turkey, unfortunately.  I'm not surprised you're having some bad withdrawal symptoms.  It isn't that you are weak, it's that our bodies need gradual changes and time to adjust.  We recommend much slower tapering here - drops of no more than 10% of current dose and waiting at least four weeks until stable before dropping again.

 

It will be helpful if you can remember some more specific details and add them to your signature.  When was the last time you took Cymbalta and what dose?  One option for you might be to reinstate a very small amount of Cymbalta.  We generally don't recommend going back to full dose as there is a high risk of adverse reactions.  I recommend reading the top post of this topic thoroughly: About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms.  If you can provide more details about your taper (specific doses and dates) we may be able to suggest a reinstatement dose that could possibly help to alleviate some of your withdrawal symptoms.  Do you have any Cymbalta left?  Is it capsules containing beads?

2001–2002 paroxetine

2003  citalopram

2004-2008  paroxetine (various failed tapers) 
2008  paroxetine slow taper down to

2016  Aug off paroxetine
2016  citalopram May 20mg  Oct 15mg … slow taper down
2018  citalopram 13 Feb 4.6mg 15 Mar 4.4mg 29 Apr 4.2mg 6 Jul 4.1mg 17 Aug 4.0mg  18 Nov 3.8mg
2019  15 Mar 3.6mg  21 May 3.4mg  26 Dec 3.2mg 

2020  19 Feb 3.0mg 19 Jul 2.9mg 16 Sep 2.8mg 25 Oct 2.7mg 23 Oct 2.6mg 24 Dec 2.5mg

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Hi @Caroline and Welcome to the Group! Hang in there-it does get better with time!

2 years Drug History Prior to Tapering:

Between 2011 & 2018 I had approximately 58 dose changes between the 4 main medications I took as well as 14 new medications add & taken away.

Prozac (Fluoxetine):(Aug 2016-Dec 2016: 60MG),(June 2017-Nov 2017: 60MG),(Dec 2017: 80MG),(June 2017-Sept 2 2018: 60MG),(Sept 3 2018-Sept 5 2018: 40MG),(Sept 6 2018-Sept 8 2018: 20MG),(Sept 9 2018: 0MG).

Cymbalta:(Jan 2017-May 2017: 60MG).

Cyclobenzaprine: (Aug 2016: 30MG,(Feb 2017: 30MG).

Diazepam (Valium):(Aug 2016-Sept 15 2016: 30MG),(Sept 16 2016-Oct 2017: 15MG),(Nov 2017-Aug 19 2018: 6MG),(Aug 20 2018: 0MG).

Gabapentin:(Aug 2016-Aug 3 2018: 2400MG),(Aug 4 2018-March 26 2019: 2000MG),(March 27 2019-March 30 2019: 1600MG),(May 1 2019: 2000MG)

Hydrocodone:(Aug 2016-Oct 2016: 10-325/4daily),(Nov 2016-Feb 2017: 10-325/3daily),(March 2017-April 2017: 5-325/4daily),(May 2017-April 2018: 10-325/3daily),(June 2018-Aug 25 2018: 10-325/5daily),(Aug 26 2018-Sept 2 2018: 4.5daily),(Sept 3 2018-Sept 10 2018: 10-325/4daily),(Sept 11 2018-Sept 18 2018: 10-325/3daily),(Sept 19 2018-May 1 2019: 10-325/3.5 daily).

Oxycodone: May 2018: 10-325MG/4daily). 

Please see my Intro for full drug history.

         **Forgive Yourself For Not Knowing What You Didn't Know Before You Knew It!  -Maya Angelou/

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  • 1 year later...
Caroline

UPDATE:

 

My semi-cold turkey did not go well. I was reinstated to 60 mg Cymbalta in the fall of 2019. I later reduced to 30 mg. This winter I felt ready to start a taper, this time doing a slower taper myself. My doctor did not seem to take withdrawal seriously and urged how impossible it is to get capsules below 30. I counted 160 beads in my 30 mg capsule and on 1/14 began removing 10% every week (~ 3 mg less each week). I have a week or two left and so far so good. Im at about 2 or 3 mg right now.

 

My previous issues with focus are back, but not nearly as bad. I've been taking fish oil and vitamin D every day. I have been keeping a regular fitness schedule that seems to help. No shocks, shakes, or twitches like I experienced in 2019. I would say emotional spiral but not as bad. Very happy with the taper this time and lots of hope.

 

Nearly at 0!! 

  • 08/2013 Celexa 10 mg; Seroquel 250 mg
  • 02/2014 Lithium 600 mg; Seroquel 150 mg
  • 03/2014 → immediate discontinue of prior medicine, begin gradual increase of Wellbutrin, Lexapro
  • 04/2014 Seroquel XR 300 mg; Lexapro 10 mg; Wellbutrin 450 mg
  • 02/2015 Cymbalta 60 mg; Seroquel XR 300 mg; Deplin 15-90.314 mg 
  • 05/2015 Cymbalta 60 mg; Seroquel XR 100 mg
  • 11/2015 Cymbalta 60 mg → 02/2018 Cymbalta 90 mg → 11/2018 Cymbalta 120 mg
  • 05/2019 Cymbalta Cold Turkey (as recommended by Dr.) → reinstated 60mg after severe WD symptoms and relapse
  • 12/2020 Began taper of 30 mg Cymbalta (removing 10% of beads in capsule each week)
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