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MartinvHS: my journey to become free of duloxetine / Cymbalta


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I am a 60 year old male (with PhD in biochemistry) who has been using Duloxetine for depression for 10 years (60 mg/d). Before that I was on Effexor for 3 years. I also have been hypothyroid (hashimoto) for 30 years, but that is stable (150 micrograms/d T4).

Otherwise I am fit and healthy and after retiring from science a few years ago my wife and I now own and operate a flower farm in Australia.

I have wanted to stop cymbalta a couple of years ago because I have been feeling well, but I felt I have become highly dependent on it (on the very rare occasion when I forgot a dose in the morning, I could feel it by the evening). I also felt that my GP recommendation to switch to 30 mg/d for a few weeks and then quit was not going to work, so I felt trapped.


Then over the last year I developed orthostatic hypotension and irregular heart rhythms and I actually fainted (broke my nose in the fall) and ended up in a cardiac ward in hospital for a few days of observation. I now have a heart monitor implanted but I have not had a repeat incident even though I have episodes of ectopic heart beats. This incident has made me research known side effects of cymbalta more seriously and I have found reference to orthostatic hypotension and irregular heart rhythms in this context.


I also have various other annoying ailments which I now wonder if they are side effects from long-term use of cymbalta. Frequent and difficult urination and poor emptying of bladder, excessive sweating, stubborn  modest overweight (BMI 26), sleep disturbance, Inability or delayed ability to ejaculate and possibly reduced libido (?).


So I decided in the past few weeks that I really need to come off cymbalta and I started seriously researching online how to do it. Soon I came across the tapering method, so I designed the following schedule:


My capsules contain 444 micro beads (plus or minus a couple). I had guessed that phasing them out in 150 days might be safe enough and so I planned to reduce the dose by 3 additional beads every day. So -3 beads on day 1, minus 6 on day 2, minus 9 on day 3 etc. down to zero beads on day 150! I was going to do this (laboriously further down the track) by bead counting. A great plan so I thought and I was excited to finally free myself from the cymbalta shackles.  


But now on day 4 Of my taper I have already come unstuck!! My daily dose is down only 2.5% (1.5 mg)  And I already have major withdrawal symptoms: Blistering continuous headaches, cold sweats, weakness, very poor sleep. So back to the drawing board. For now I have gone back to the full 60 mg dose and I will start again in another week or so.


So I went back online and after hours of reading came across very useful patient sites. Thanks to those I now realise that I may have to take as long as 2 years to taper off Duloxetine.  If only I had known this when I started with AD. A long journey ahead of me but I want to become free of Duloxetine and I hope my heart health issues will improve.


Edited by ChessieCat
added space

 I have been on cymbalta for Major depression for ten years now 60 mg/d. Before that lexapro for 3 years. Have been feeling good for several years but have been unable to see my way coming off due to WS. Started with micro-taper last week at minus 0.4 mg/day but came unstuck with significant WD symptoms after just 4 days... 😫

i will now try reducing by 0.4 mg per week. Any comments?

i have been hypothyroid for 30 years - stable on 150 micrograms a day.

apart from that  take fish oil 4.5 g/d and magnesium chelate (200 mg Mg per day)

i am 60 year old Australian male - retired scientist (PhD nutritional biochemistry) turned flower farmer. Happily married.


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  • Moderator

Welcome to SA, MartinvHS.  I'm glad you found your way here.


Please add a drug signature, including drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements in the last 12-24 months. Also include supplements. This will help us give you the most accurate advice we can. 
  • Any drugs and supplements prior to 24 months ago can just be listed with start and stop years and dose.
  • A list is easier to understand than one or multiple paragraphs. 
  • This is a direct link to your signature:  Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature.

We recommend tapering by no more that 10% of current dose every four weeks.  Some have to go more slowly.  A safe taper using our recommended rate will take longer than two years.  I know it is difficult to wrap one's mind around how long it takes to taper safely, but you have already experienced what can happen when you go too fast.

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?


This link is specifically about tapering Duloxetine/Cymbalta:


Tips for tapering off Cymbalta (duloxetine)


Here is some information on the withdrawal symptoms you experienced.



This is your Introduction topic, where you can ask questions, post updates and connect with other member.

Gridley Introduction


Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Begin Brassmonkey Slide Taper Jan. 2017.   

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

Oct. 30, 2020  Jump to zero from 0.025mg.  Current dose: 0.000mg

3 year, 10 month taper is 100% complete.


Ativan 1 mg to 1.875mg 1986-2020, two CT's and reinstatements

Nov. 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover to 18.75mg Valium

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper of 18.75mg Valium  

End 2021  year 1 of taper at 6mg

End 2022 year 2 of taper at 2.75mg 

Current dose as of Sept. 22, 2023 1.4mg

Taper is 92% complete.


Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan-Sept 2016 tapered to 14.4mg  

March 22, 2022: Begin 10%/4 week taper

Aug. 5, 2022: hold at 9.5mg and shift to Valium taper

Taper is 87% complete.  


Supplements: omega-3, vitamins C, E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, zinc, melatonin .3mg

I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to MartinvHS: my journey to become free of duloxetine / Cymbalta

Hi & Welcome to the Group!


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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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi! Welcome to the group. I'm new here myself and being on my taper for 6 months.  I have been using compounded liquid duloxetine - and I just learned that liquids are not extended release. This has made my journey from 20 to 9.75 mostly unpleasant - particularly in the afternoons and evening - and I have a long way to go. 

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