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Doctor is shocked at severe Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms


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"Doctors need to know that this syndrome can last for months." http://www.healthcentral.com/chronic-pain/c/27148/146506/cymbalta

Cymbalta Discontinuation Syndrome

By Christina Lasich, MD, HealthCentral.com November 07, 2011

 

Using an antidepressant for chronic pain might seem simple enough, but did you know that getting off an antidepressant can be a horrific experience?....Many are finding out the hard way that Cymbalta is extremely difficult to stop using. Yes, it may be "simple to use" like Eli-Lilly says in the packaging material; but some people are getting very sick from trying to discontinue using Cymbalta.

 

Recently, one of my patients and I discussed her use of Cymbalta and the fact that she was working towards her goal of getting off all of her medications because she was experiencing side effects with very little benefits. She had been on Cymbalta for five years since her primary doctor suggested it for the treatment of lower back pain. Neither she nor I realized how tremendously difficult it actually is to wean off Cymbalta. After dropping her dose from 60 mg per day to the next lower dose of 30mg per day, the nightmare began. The severe mood swings started. Her legs became increasingly restless. And she could not sleep. At first, I did not know what was happening to her. All of her blood tests were normal. But when she stopped the Cymbalta all together, WOW! She really started to go through hell. She began experiencing severe nausea, headaches, and an assortment of cognitive problems. That's when I knew that she was experiencing Cymbalta Discontinuation Syndrome.

 

A recent FDA advisory committee report about Cymbalta Discontinuation Syndrome states that there is "much anecdotal evidence" similar to this experience regarding the withdrawal syndrome that people experience when trying to get off of Cymbalta....

 

Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome is not new. All antidepressants have the potential to cause this after six weeks of use. However, no one has seen this type of severity until now. These newer antidepressant medications like Cymbalta are potent and have short half-lives. The primary reason people get sick when getting off these drugs is because they are left with too little serotonin. Without enough serotonin in the nervous system messaging system, everything goes haywire and the patient goes through hell.

 

Because many doctors and patients are unaware of these dangers, the diagnosis of Cymbalta Discontinuation Syndrome can be overlooked. Doctors need to get detailed medication histories and know that this syndrome can last for months. Once the diagnosis is made, then the doctor and the patient can try to treat the problem. In the above example, instead of restarting the Cymbalta, I elected to place the patient on an alternative antidepressant, Prozac. This medication replaces the Cymbalta and is easier to discontinue because it stays in the system longer (longer half-life). I treated her symptoms with an antiemetic and an antihistamine. Hopefully, we can eventually get her off of antidepressants all together. For now, I am primarily concerned about getting her through the withdrawals alive. But, I am not sure that this is the best way to go about it.

 

Avoiding the Cymbalta Discontinuation Syndrome altogether might be a better route. The company does not make a slow weaning process easy because only two doses are available, 30mg and 60mg. Some patients and doctors have resorted to breaking the capsules open and giving partial doses over a long period of time - often over several months. Bottom line is that Eli-Lilly needs to address this problem and help people get off of the medication when it is no longer necessary. Right now, they seem to be more concerned with getting as many people on Cymbalta as possible. Shame on them; the new packaging should read: "Simple to use; nearly impossible to stop." It is like having a hotel that everyone can check in to but cannot check out.

 

If you already are using Cymbalta, do not suddenly discontinue this medication. Talk to your doctor. If you are contemplating whether or not to start this medication, please be warned that this medication can put you in harm's way. The benefits from this antidepressant may not be worth the risk. Nothing is a simple as it seems.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

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This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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"Bottom line is that Eli-Lilly needs to address this problem and help people get off of the medication when it is no longer necessary. Right now, they seem to be more concerned with getting as many people on Cymbalta as possible."

 

DOH

hello? LAST thing they want is to help people get off a drug.

 

(I'm just a leeeeetle bit cynical about Eli Lilly, can you tell?)

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                1

Feb 2022            6                      0!!!                     0.00167               0.98                2.5 mg Ambien

Oct 2022       4.5 mg Lamictal    (off Celexa, off Xanax)   0.95 Valium    Ambien, 1/4 to 1/2 of a 5 mg tablet 

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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I still amazes me that after all these years, websites, lawsuits and patients tellin their physicians that they are in WD - the doctors are "shocked."

Intro: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1902-nikki-hi-my-rundown-with-ads/

 

Paxil 1997-2004

Crossed over to Lexapro Paxil not available

at Pharmacies GSK halted deliveries

Lexapro 40mgs

Lexapro taper (2years)

Imipramine

Imipramine and Celexa

Now Nefazadone/Imipramine 50mgs. each

45mgs. Serzone  50mgs. Imipramine

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At least this doctor is showing a lot of concern.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

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I hate how they refer to it as "discontinuation syndrome"! Just call it for what it is - withdrawal! Of course, withdrawal implies addiction, and we can't have that now can we?

2003-2011: Paroxetine,Citalopram,Effexor; Aug/Sept 2011: Effexor to Mirtazapine; Oct 2011: C/T Mirtazapine back to Effexor; Nov/Dec 2011: Fast Tapered Effexor - w/d hell; Feb 2012: Reinstated Effexor 37.5mg; June 2012: Dropped to 35.6mg; Jan 2016: Propranolol 2.5mg per day for general anxiety; Feb 2016: Finasteride 0.25mg per week to slow hair loss; 18th May - 8th June 2019: Started Vyvanse 7.5mg and increased by 7.5mg weekly to 30mg (lowest “therapeutic” dose for adults).; 21st June 2019 - 12th July: Cross tapered from venlafaxine brand Rodomel to Efexor (1/4 > 1/2 > 3/4 weekly before ditching Rodomel); 13th July 2019: Cut Vyvanse dose to 15mg; 15th July 2019: Akathisia returned after years of being free; 16th July 2019: Went back up to Vyvanse 30mg

Supplements: Omega-3, Vitamin D, Zinc, Phosphatidylserine 

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Alto,

 

In the quote below, it talks about the depletion of serotonin. How do we built the serotonin back as we are weaning?

 

 

"The primary reason people get sick when getting off these drugs is because they are left with too little serotonin. Without enough serotonin in the nervous system messaging system, everything goes haywire and the patient goes through hell."

 

Thanks,

 

Rosie

2009 Efexor 75mg tapered twice

November 2011 Pristiq 50 mg

January 2012 Pristiq 100 mg, became very dizzy and anxious with a lot negative thinking! Ear aches, eye pain, headaches, bruxism, night sweats.

Currently on 30 mg of compounded Pristiq

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I hate how they refer to it as "discontinuation syndrome"! Just call it for what it is - withdrawal! Of course, withdrawal implies addiction, and we can't have that now can we?

 

Need a LIKE button! Thumbs up... +3....

Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

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Alto,

 

In the quote below, it talks about the depletion of serotonin. How do we built the serotonin back as we are weaning?

 

 

"The primary reason people get sick when getting off these drugs is because they are left with too little serotonin. Without enough serotonin in the nervous system messaging system, everything goes haywire and the patient goes through hell."

 

Thanks,

 

Rosie

 

This explanation by Christina Lasich, MD, is incorrect, but typical of the simplistic thinking encouraged by the "chemical imbalance" theory.

 

The problem is serotonin receptors are downregulated. There may be plenty of serotonin in the system, but they cannot sense it and correctly engage in feedback operations with other hormonal systems.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Whenever I read of attempts to explain withdrawal in simplified and reductionist terms, I think of the chart in this article about A Unified Concept of Endocrine Withdrawal: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1586-endocrine-withdrawal-syndromes-a-unified-concept/page__pid__14972#entry14972

No, I don't understand the chart, but it represents the complexity of the situation we are dealing with.

 

I, too, find myself attempting to unravel the unravelable in hope of finding the key to feeling better after years of assault by drugs. Nobody really knows what these drugs do as is stated upfront in the prescribing info.

Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

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  • 1 year later...

Well, I just learn allot from this site. I was on Celexa for 2 years then my Doc switched me onto Cymbalta because of pain in my thigh (she thought it was in my head but was actually a torn ligament). So I wanted to stop cymbalta and asked her to switch me to something else. She got me on cipralex which I took for 4 weeks before stopping completely.

 

 

I now realize that I probably made things worse for myself. As I understand it, cipralex is not really a substitute for cymbalta. It will not prevent the withdrawal symptom from cymbalta to show up.

 

 

What should I do. Restart cymbalta or cipralex and start a very gradual phasing out. Like so many of you have said, family doctors or not the most knowledgeable when it comes to getting of SSRI or SNRI.

 

 

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

 

2016 Back to cipralex 10 mg

2018 March From 10 mg to 5 mg cipralex

2018 april 15, stopped 5 mg cipralex

2018 May 16 Hypersensitive skin as withdrawal

2018 May 19 to 23 took 5 mg cipralex but skin was more painful so stopped cipralex

2018 May 30, skin is feeling better

2018 June 28, very stressful event

2018 July 3, Skin is more painful

2018 July 8, started .5 mg cipralex 

2018 July 12 skin is even worst

Supplements Omega 3, Magnesium

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I am completely convinced Cymbalta was manufactured expressly with the purpose of being addictive.  They might be able to claim they had no idea Prozac was addictive, but when the same company manufactures a very similar drug with a much shorter half-life after tons of people complained and sued over the first and longer acting drug then it becomes rather obvious the drug is designed not to be stopped.

 

All the more reason not to buy into their marketing pitch to start with.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am not a medical professional and nothing I say is a medical opinion or meant to be medical advice, please seek a competent and trusted medical professional to consult for all medical decisions.

 

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  • 1 year later...
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Testimony regarding Cymbalta withdrawal syndrome:

 

Just found this legal document by Dr. Glenmullen. It really made me sit up and go "Whoa!"

 

I'm going to give it to my psychiatrist and my therapist. Even though they are going along with my whole antidepressant withdrawal claim, I don't feel that they really take it seriously or really believe me. Also my therapist is totally not equipped to handle what it is that I'm experiencing. Will attempt to educate them. Again. Sighhhh.....

 

http://www.baumhedlundlaw.com/pdf/DrGlenmullenDeclarationSupportofCymbaltaClassCert.pdf

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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BRILLIANT! Thank you for posting that Alto, I'm going to print it and keep it as evidence. 

**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

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  • 6 years later...
On 10/7/2013 at 9:21 PM, UnfoldingSky said:

I am completely convinced Cymbalta was manufactured expressly with the purpose of being addictive.  They might be able to claim they had no idea Prozac was addictive, but when the same company manufactures a very similar drug with a much shorter half-life after tons of people complained and sued over the first and longer acting drug then it becomes rather obvious the drug is designed not to be stopped.

 

All the more reason not to buy into their marketing pitch to start with.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a very old post but I can’t help congratulating @UnfoldingSky for this comment. It seems that pharmaceutical companies work hard to “improve” their drugs …. And by “improve” I don’t mean making them more beneficial for patients but making sure once someone is on them, they have no way out. I can visualize top members of the company brainstorming on how to “advance” their drugs. “Hmmmm….Prozac profit is going very well but It has a very long half life and it is available in liquid form, two factors that make it easier (at least for most people) to quit. So let’s advance our company and profit by generating a drug which has :1) a very short half  life, 2) only comes in capsules that cannot be dissolved (so we also target the people who know the trick of making their own solution), 3) make sure the lowest available dose is not that low and 4) that it doesn’t come in liquid form….. and here u go!!! Cymbalta is made!!!!!! Success for the pharmaceutical company, more suffering for patients. Shame on them…

It is Zoloft that ruined my life but cymbalta sounds worst from what i read here. 

Aug. 16-17, 2020, cipralex: went CRAZY! Recovered in 24hrs

Aug.28,2020; 3.5 weeks 25mg sertraline/4.5 weeks taper

Oct. 25: Last dose (4mg)

Symptoms while on zoloft

DPDR/out of my body/soul despair/feeling dead; tinnitus/no appetite; fear, anxiety/panics

4 months OFF: soul despair, anxiety/fear, brain disconnection/ DPDR, brain feels swollen-numb/crazy/bedridden barely functioning, tinnitus, eye lid twitches; face spasms. Feeling slightly better after 10pm.

- sleep & appetite are fine

9 months OFF: hell, no windows, same symptoms as above  (only eye and face twitches have stopped) plus intense arm/shoulder pain and visual issues. Tinnitus replaced by head buzzing. 

10 months-1 year: all above plus Insomnia (out of nowhere), depression, no peace of mind (mental Akathisia); 2.5mg melatonin

14months off: sleep resumed. All rest symptoms remain. Bedridden vegetable all day. DP is relentless. 

1.5 years off: still severely disabled, not much changed except some improvement in vision.

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  • 2 months later...
  • Moderator

I'm extremely thankful that my husband convinced me to get off Cymbalta right away when I was put on it 14 years ago.  Thank God! I'm learning a lot about this nasty drug.  

Please do not private message me or tag me.

 

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

 

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 2010 - 10 mg;  started taper August 2017, recent taper info: Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06, Nov 21 0.05, Dec. 17 0.04, Jan 14 '22 0.03, Feb 19 0.02, Apr 18 0.01, May 15 0.005,  Jul 8, 0.00.  Psych Drug Free as of July 8, 2022!!  Woohoo!!!

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

magnesium in small amounts at 4 AM, 3 PM, before bed

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, multivitamin, zinc

suppl 8 PM: magnesium 350 mg, Estroven, melatonin 2 mg

 

Paxil 2002 - 2010, switched to Lexapro 2010 

Trazodone 50 mg. 2002 - 2019, fast tapered in 2019 

Xanax 0.5 mg as needed 2002 - 2019, up to 3x weekly 

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