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Yemondo: Cymbalta - Need to come off within 7 days


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Following signs of significant liver damage I have been told by my GP that I must come off my Cymbalta within 7 days.


I have been on them for 4 years (and Prozac for 11 years before that) and am on 60mg - because of the timescale I have been told to reduce to 30mg a days for the week and then we need to find something else for the depression.


I am very scared and thought I'd ask for advice/help. Not just around the tapering but I did wonder if anyone else on here might be able to recommend an alternative to Cymbalta that will be as effective (I take it for Major Depressive Disorder, OCD & GAD).

Thanks in advance.

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Read your response, I would be highly wary of any dr. who says to get off Cymbalta in 7 days due to the high probability of significant withdrawals within such a short time frame and esp. since you have been on them for so long....you can see from this board and in doing your own research with "discontinuation"" syndrome that this is NOT a good idea...Many dr's are just NOT experienced enough in w/d and claim there "should" be no problem when there definitely are indications of severe w/d symptoms in coming off...I understand you are concerned about your liver but taking the "short road" in coming off may indeed cause you more harm than just liver damage....your liver may be damaged somewhat but I have heard that such things can hopefully be reversed in time( milk thistle I have heard is good)..you may be in for neurological problems..dizziness, nausea, electric shocks, etc..if you come off too quickly...As far as switching to "something" else for your "depression" I would again think twice as this is also not a good alternative in being that as the dr's will try to tell you that there are many diff. kinds, etc., but truly there are NOT...they may act on diff.. neurochemicals but basically the same.with too many side effects in general..I would try simple exercise, thought retraining, diet, sleep hygiene, vitamins, prayer, etc..before I would switch to another antidepressant....There are no magic pills for depression and often times you feel worse on them due to the mental "influence" and physical side effects....Please Do NOT come off in 7 days...just a word of warning....and look around this board for help and more assistance in educating yourself as to the risks involved to where I do not think  your well-intentioned MD has made you aware...try alternatives to the conditions you set forth in the realm of NON-chemical treatment...many of these "disorders" are and can be resolved otherwise...Let "Google" be your friend...Good Luck...

med exp since 1985- abilify, latuda, Seroquel, risperadol, zyprexa, Haldol. latuda, saphris, mellaril, thorazine, lithium, tegretol, Depakote, lamictal, Prozac, pamelor, wellbutrin, Ativan, klonipin, etc.

 currently only on remeron: 3/13/14-6/5/14- 15mg

6/20/14 -9.5mg < 0.75-1.5 per week


8/11/14- 0.6mg of Remeron (almost off)

8/16/14--last dose of remeron...now completely drug free....

11/21/14-- 95 DAYS DRUG FREE!!!!


I do not give out medical advice only personal experience.

dx: BPI, II, CKD, secondary hyperparathyroidism, Chronic pain, fibro,

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello Yemondo,


None of us staff here at Surviving Antidepressants are medically trained, so we can't recommend an alternative medicine or advise you about how the liver damage should be handled. Can you discuss this further with your doctor and at least get some reassurance that there are other antidepressants you can safely take? It sounds as if your doctor has something in mind, and it might be a relief for you to know that you won't have to suffer through cold turkey.


If it's any help, many people find that a large initial reduction in dose didn't cause problems. The problems seem to start when reducing too fast at lower doses or just going cold turkey. I came off of Lexapro 10 mg. by first reducing to 5 mg., and I actually felt more relaxed until I halved the dose again.


In the meantime, you might want to browse our Symptoms discussion area for non-drug ways to relieve withdrawal symptoms. 


Welcome to the forum, Yemondo. You'll find lots of good information and friendly support here.

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor

Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/


Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.


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Thank you very much Jemima, I really appreciate it and I'll keep coming back here over the next few days to read about ways to cope whilst weaning off the Cymbalta.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Am I understanding correctly that you're cutting to 30 mg and then you're going to transition to a different AD? That may help prevent or at least moderate the withdrawal symptoms from Cymbalta.


Stay in close communication with your doctor and let him know if you have withdrawal symptoms, right away.

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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HI and welcome. I think is is commendable you had the foresight to take control of your medication and post here. So many people find out once in crisis and no thanks to the doctors. 


I thank you for bringing this up as my mom is elderly and like you, taking cymbalta. She has advanced heart disease and is an alcoholic. Makes absolutely no sense as to why this drug was recommended. I need to act on this for her sake.


I am interested in your path forward. I wonder if your physician is assigning a different antidepressant while you are tapering from cymbalta.


Keep coming back and let the fear fall by the wayside. Fear won't help. Being proactive will and it sounds as if you have this under control thus far.



atavan PRN ,Paxil approx 20 yrs ago for major depression
Switched to Klonopin PRN through to current
Paxil wore out
Changed to Effexor 
Depakote added
enormous weight gain - flat affect - led to depression - dropped depakote
Dropped Effexor, changed to Paxil 
PDoc added mixed salts amphetamines for ADHD - took for 2 yrs - was ok at first but had to cut as symptoms too intense -  then the crash was too much. STOPPED
Vyvanse started in 2013 (APRIL) - more smooth than IR amphetamine tabs---Have not used vyvanse daily in full amt since May 2013 

Paxil CT withdrawal 10/2012  :wacko:  Klonopin CT WD

Switched Klonopin to Xanax prn  - too strong

WD CT from XANAX after taking for a while - it was awful but can be done if you hold on!

Back to Klonopin PRN - working very hard to avoid taking it at all. 

Effexor 37.5 started 02/2013, 75mg by 03/2013, 150mg by 05/2012 (approx)  :blush:

Effexor 150mg 3/10/2014 Microtaper -3beads  :unsure:

3/11/2014-4beads ,3/12/14 - 5, 3/13/14 -6, 3/15/14 - 7, 3/18 - 8, 3/22 - 10, 3/24 - 12, 4/6 - 13, 4/7 - 14, 4/11 - 16 - on 4/19 ran out of brand took generic. Bad move. Back on brand on 4/20 and updosed 2 beads. 5/1 - 15, 5/6 - 16, 5/9 -17, 55/10 -17, 5/15 -18, 5/21 -19, 5/24 -20, 6/3 - 21, 6/6 -23, 6/13 -24,6/19- 25, 6/21 -26, 6/25 -27

6/28 -28, 6/29 -30, 7/3 -34, 7/8 -35, 7/17 -36, 7/30 -41,7/31 -42, 8/2 -43, 8/3 -44, 8/5 -45, 8/14 -48, 8/26-50, 9/24 -53, 10/24 -55, 12/1 -57, (lost the tally sheet, thus taper info for some of it), 4/19-63, 4/26-64, 4/30-65 Switched to wt reduction - now @ -.068, 7/14 -.070, August 2015 -.074, between Sept & October 10 -.077, Nov. -.078(feeling great), -.090 as of 1/10/16, down to  -.101 since January 2016 (it is now 6/24/16), -.105 as of 8/13/16

Ladies, please don't underestimate the possibility of perimenopause. The symptoms can be similar to, may intensify & in some cases mimic protracted w/d from ssri's & benzo's. 


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Thanks all for your advice/words so far.


I do know that 7 days is very quick to come off after such a long time on them but due to the rapid deterioration of my liver, coupled with the fact Cymbalta shouldn't be taken by people with liver trouble, I'm being told that there is a no choice. Obviously I can challenge this if the withdrawal becomes unbearable but I know the GP/MD is more concerned right now about the physical side of things rather than the mental.


I'm going to go back tomorrow to see if there is an alternative timescale we can adopt and also if there is something else I can be offered this week to help me come off the Cymbalta.


I respect the advice to come off medication altogether but considering I may be about to go through some major treatment for my liver I think it might be something I need to address another time.


As for cymbalta being given to anyone with alcoholism then that sounds like it certainly needs to be questioned - cymbalta and alcohol don't go together and there are many posts across the internet suggesting it can cause significant liver damage. Unfortunately I don't even drink so currently have no idea what may have caused my own problems.

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  • Administrator

Welcome, Yemondo.


I am sorry to hear you're in this position. But you've been on Cymbalta for 4 years -- when did the liver problems arise?


If abnormalities have just appeared, it may be a drug you've added recently is the problem. You may wish to check interactions between any drugs and supplements you're taking in this free online tool http://drugs.com/interactions-check.php and post the results in this topic.


If that's the case, you might minimize the risk of Cymbalta discontinuation syndrome by reducing or eliminating the other drug. (60mg Cymbalta is a hefty dose, for your liver's sake, you may wish to gradually reduce it to minimize it anyway. The less drugs you take every day, the better it is for your body.)


It could be that some combination of drugs, including Cymbalta, is affecting your liver, and substituting another antidepressant may not relieve the problem. Doctors are supposed to watch for drug interactions but often they don't.


(Given the liver warnings, which have been known for more than 10 years, whoever put you on Cymbalta was poorly informed.)


You may also have a genetically determined (but normal) inability to metabolize certain drugs. You should insist on getting your P450 cytochromes checked. This identifies the genetic variations that might cause you to be low in various liver enzymes. It may Cymbalta or another drug you're taking is blocking one or another of these enzymes, causing liver damage. Most antidepressants are metabolized by the liver; you need to make sure any new one does not do the same thing.


Abilifyneedhelp, sometimes there are emergencies where people do need to quit their drugs right away.

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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