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Cymbalta Warning: Discontinuing May Result in Severe Withdrawal Symptoms

  [ 366 votes ]   [ 70 Comments ]
By Karen Lee Richards • • March 10, 2014

Cymbalta Warning: Discontinuing May Result in Severe Withdrawal Symptoms
In 2008, Cymbalta became the second drug to receive FDA approval for the treatment of fibromyalgia. It was classified as a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) antidepressant. At the time, the FM community was excited to have another medication available that would hopefully reduce pain for at least some FM patients. Little did we suspect the misery that could result when those patients wanted to stop taking Cymbalta.

The medical community has long known that abruptly discontinuing any antidepressant can result in Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome. That's why patients are (or should be) strongly urged not to suddenly quit taking an antidepressant but to talk with their doctor about gradually tapering off the medication.

Cymbalta Discontinuation Syndrome

However, neither physicians nor patients expected the severity of withdrawal from Cymbalta. In fact, it's bad enough to warrant its own diagnosis – Cymbalta Discontinuation Syndrome. An FDA advisory committee report about Cymbalta Discontinuation Syndrome states, “Much anecdotal evidence has accumulated documenting the injury, distress and life management impacts caused by discontinuation of Cymbalta. The effects of discontinuation can be severe and extend for weeks or even months.”

As you read through patient descriptions of their Cymbalta withdrawal experiences, it's not uncommon to see terms like “horrific,” “a nightmare,” and “going through hell.” Some of the withdrawal symptoms described include:

“Brain zaps”
(electric shock sensations)
Extreme mood swings
(“irritability that quickly turns to rage”)
Suicidal thoughts Paranoia
Dizziness Confusion
Nausea and Vomiting Limb pain
Headache Fatigue
Nightmares Insomnia
Diarrhea Anxiety
Excessive sweating Agitation
Involuntary crying or laughing Hypomania
Tinnitus Seizures

The Discontinuation Dilemma

When it comes to discontinuing Cymbalta, the prescribing information says, “A gradual reduction in the dose rather than abrupt cessation is recommended whenever possible. If intolerable symptoms occur following a decrease in the dose or upon discontinuation of treatment, then resuming the previously prescribed dose may be considered. Subsequently, the physician may continue decreasing the dose but at a more gradual rate.”

While gradually reducing the dose sounds like a reasonable approach, there is one very big problem. Cymbalta is only available in three dosages: 20 mg., 30 mg. and 60 mg. To complicate things even further, Cymbalta is a capsule, not a tablet that can be cut in half. Adding insult to injury, patients are warned, “Cymbalta...should not be chewed or crushed, nor should the capsule be opened and its contents sprinkled on food or mixed with liquids.” So although Cymbalta manufacturer, Eli-Lilly, recommends gradually reducing the dose, there is virtually no way to actually do that.

What Can You Do?

If you're currently taking Cymbalta and want to stop, talk with your doctor about developing a discontinuation plan. Make sure your doctor is aware of how severe Cymbalta Discontinuation Syndrome can be and discuss possible options for treating the various symptoms that you may experience. Some doctors have tried switching patients to a different antidepressant that is easier to taper off of and then treating other symptoms with appropriate medications (like antiemetics, antihistamines, etc.) through the withdrawal process.

If you are contemplating whether or not to take Cymbalta, be aware of what you're getting yourself into. Trying to get off of the drug may leave you feeling far worse than the fibromyalgia symptoms you're trying to relieve. Thoroughly discuss the pros and cons with your doctor before making a decision.

Please Discuss This Article:   Post a Comment 

Cymbalta Discontinuation - Misdiagnosed as Bipolar
Posted by: hermeneutic123
Sep 6, 2014

You are absolutely correct. I had severe irritability and suicidal thoughts every time I tried to taper off of Cymbalta and with no history of these symptoms in 35 years my doctor prescribed me Lithium for being bipolar. No one ever informed me about this including my psychiatrist or that this was even a possibility. My side effects were so pronounced when trying to stop the drug that in 2012 the State of South Carolina adjudicated me a mental defective and they ignored the fact that this syndrome existed. Prior to this I was a successful academic and corporate executive with no history of mental illness. I was prescribed Cymbalta for depression I was experiencing while going through a nasty divorce. Though I was discharged by my psychiatrist a year ago and only have the diagnosis of ADD I am now labeled and slandered all over the internet. I continue to excel at work but lose one management position after another when my name is Googled. I lost my home, cars, and filed bankruptcy all because Eli Lilly hid the effects of coming off this drug.

Reply Reply

Answer to withdrawing from Pristiq and effexor
Posted by: lwspeer
Sep 12, 2014
I took pristiq and had to start taking effexor for insurances purposes. I took the extended release for abut two years and soon realized I must get off of this drug. I was losing my hair, having wieght gain, had terrible headaches, asthma symptoms as well as sever dizziness from which I had to go to bed. I went to a new doctor and she tapered me off by adding 1 Prozac plus the 1 Effexor I was taking daily. AT the end of 5 days I was to stop Effexor, and I am doing fine. Neither Pristiq and Effexor helped my depression and the side effects were terrible. When I stopped it I lost 9 pounds in 2 weeks, and everyone in my family has noticed a change in me. I no longer have these dangerous symptoms and feel a great deal better.
Reply Reply

Brain zaps partial seizures
Posted by: eguillot
Sep 22, 2014
I have been on Cymbalta for Fibromyalgia for several years now. I also have epilepsy, and I can tell you that the "brain zaps" are EXACTLY the same feeling that I get right before I have a grand mal seizure. My neurologist calls them partial seizures. So probably those "brain zaps" that everyone is getting from withdrawal are actually partial seizures.
Reply Reply

Cymbalta Withdrawal Lawsuits Now Being Filed
Posted by: roberthilley
Sep 24, 2014
The manufacturer of Cymbalta is facing a number of lawsuits from people who experienced withdrawal symptoms after stopping Cymbalta (duloxetine).

The label states that withdrawal occurs in at least 1% of patients, but studies have found that at least 50% of patients experience withdrawal and 10% of the cases are severe.

If you or somebody you know has taken Cymbalta and suffered from severe withdrawl symptoms, you may be entitled to financial compensation. You can learn more by visiting or you can contact the law firm for a free case review by dialing (866) 920-0753.
Reply Reply

Lawsuits against cures, hmmm
Posted by: LadyConstance
Sep 25, 2014
I don't understand. If someone needs medicine for an affliction and goes to a doctor and gets medication who is to blame? Are you saying we should have been given a disclaimer to sign? Come on, I am in the throws of Cymbalta withdrawal and if I had to point a finger at who put me here...I couldn't. I mean if there is one sure thing to know about any drug is IT'S A DRUG. Some provide real, life saving results and even those can have sketchy side effects. It's about balance and choice, our own choice, no? If we keep suing the drug companies we will NEVER get a cure for cancer! Now I'm not saying these guys are always good guys but if you have ever suffered a disease so horrible that you would take snake venom to feel better you would know that worrying about the backside is not even in the realm of "what if's" because if tomorrow and for a year or 2 your life would include joy, laughter and health you might just take that snake venom, it's up to you.


Who knew? Cymbalta withdrawal ongoing.
Posted by: LadyConstance
Sep 25, 2014

I am a 62 yr old female and this is my experience:
I see others had been on Effexor as was I. I guess it stopped working? I can't quite say but I never had problems with Effexor. New Doctor switched me to Cymbalta a few years ago. I too was on Welbutrin with the Cymbalta. I also, since I have no thyroid, that came out earlier this year with a cancer scare, take Synthroid and Caduet for high blood pressure AND cholesterol. Add to these Adderal for ADHD. Absurd, too much!

Then I developed a disgusting skin thing, they called it nummular eczema/dermatitis. So I was put on Dapsone AND Cyclosporine. Insanity! So all by myself, in an effort to heal my skin, I decided to go gluten free and to get off some of these meds. I was convinced one of them was causing my skin issue which by the way, is the worst itch I have ever, ever, experienced, absolutely no relief, and so have no idea, all over my legs, arms, hands, looks like boils, so I have that going for me!:( Yuk.

For about a week all seemed to be going fine as I got off Welbutrin and reduced Adderal and Cymbalta. I guess they hang out in your body for a good long while because the poop finally hit the fan a few days ago and I was sure I had MS! Nausea, weakness, aches in muscles, esp. legs and glutes. Couldn't walk the dog. Couldn't feed the dog w/o barfing. Sweating, shaking, major brain fog, words escaped me every time I tried to make sense, sounded like an idiot. I was also manic! Crazy talk happened and I was like OMG what did I just say? Shut up! Shut up! I own a vintage furniture store and also a design biz and I can't believe I have gotten this far w/o making a complete fool of myself. It has been about 2 weeks and as I was driving home today from meeting with a design client I said aloud, "here come the tears" because it was 4 PM and they always come at that time. Got home and immediately called my long time family doctor, a female, who has always helped me get right with such kindness and compassion. It was after hours but I got her via her service and she took charge, called in RX for my nausea and instructed me to get into her office in the AM with all my meds and we would figure it out. I feel hopeful. Just bracing for the dreams...
Reply Reply

Cymbalta Withdrawals
Posted by: unclejames
Jan 3, 2015
I was taking Cymbalta and Welbutrin too..after the nightmare with Cymbalta I would be terrified to try and stop the Welbutrin. I will never take another medication without researching it first. Doctors should research medications before prescibing.


stopping Cymbalta & Wellbutrin
Posted by: YearoftheHorse
Feb 25, 2015
My heart goes out to you. I too have had FM for 15 years, am your age and also have many side effects and other problems leading me to take many, many drugs, both prescibed and OTC in a day. I will say that 1) you should be careful taking yourself off any drug w/o consulting your Dr - but you know that now and 2) When I had Wellbutrin, alone, w/o Cymbalta I too had strange skin reactions, welt like things that didnt erupt into boils but looked like they wanted to. I might suggest it is the Wellbutrin you may have been "allergic" to and /or the combination of both, and not just the Cymbalta. Maybe. I'm not an MD but I know my body,or try to, and am doing the best I can. ANd I know you are too. Its frustrating isn't it? Hang in there and work with your Dr who hopefully knows these side effects and containdications etc. Good luck!


Cymbalta Withdrawal Symptons
Posted by: kattails
Sep 25, 2014
I stopped my Cymbalta (90mg daily) about 2 months ago cold turkey and I still have excessive sweating. Does anyone know how long this will last. Thank you
Reply Reply

Cymbalta Withdrawals
Posted by: unclejames
Jan 4, 2015
I was taking Cymbalta 60mg once a day. I have been in withdrawals for a little over a month now. I am angry with my pain doctor for not taking me off slowly. I will be calling her tomorrow to discuss this. I cannot believe she did not know about just taking me off without weening me off. She has caused me major problems.


Cymbalta...what if our brain changes are permanent?
Posted by: LadyConstance
Sep 28, 2014

I am in week 2 1/2 of withdrawal. I have been reading so many blogs I can't keep them straight, and my w/d ain't helpin'! But has anyone considered the possibility that some of our neuropathic issues may remain forever? What if our brains are permanently scarred in some way? How will we ever know except to keep talking? I have seen some absurd entries in some blogs like the woman who wrote in (...oh!...there went a brain zap...) and said she quick cold turkey without symptoms. I don't believe her. For one, I don't have time to waste, who does? I run a business, own a home, have children, dogs, you get the picture, I am just like most of you guys writing in. Would I even think to bother to research, find and write in a blog on Cymbalta withdrawal if I had no issues? No, no I would not, so I don't get the point of some of these folks mudding up the waters. Maybe they work for Lilly, who knows. I believe via my reading and personal exp. that everybody is going to have some kind of symptoms withdrawing from this drug, period. My point is, to those of us who are writing for help and TO HELP let's keep going until the fat lady sings; when we find out if any of us are permanently scarred by Cymbalta and I guess, together, we will figure out what to do then.
PS: I don't think the term "brain zap" is a good description of what is happening in my head but it's there whatever it is, a quick ZOOOOM! and gone. Any thoughts?
Reply Reply

It's not permanent...
Posted by: BarbRishaw
Jan 18, 2015
Hi LadyConstance,

I've withdrawn from Cymbalta a few times (various reasons) and while the discontinuation symptoms can be grueling, they do eventually stop. I don't believe there's any permanent neurological damage.

Hope that helps,



Cymbalta Withdrawals
Posted by: unclejames
Jan 4, 2015
Lady Constance I am with you. I hope there is no personal scarring from the Cymbalta. I know not being weened off of properly by my pain doctor has messed me up. I want the chance to ask her was she aware of the Cymbalta Discontinuation Syndrome. She had her medical assistant call me to come off of it. I was taking Wellbutrin and Cymbalta and said I had to choose one or the other. When I asked the MA why she said something like the drug store said something about it cost effectiveness. I did not really believe that. Or if my doctor did tell her to tell me how to ween off and she failed to do so. Either way I want the truth. I may make the dr mad or get someone in trouble either way but this should not have happened. I have been in these withdrawals for over a month now. I have never felt this bad when my Fibro flared at its worst. But my point is my brain has felt foggy at times. Sometimes I go to say something and my words come out screwy. I feel anxious and agitated at times. My vision was even affected for a little while. When I first wake up and try to read anything like on TV or computer I could not focus very easy. Now I am into some more symptoms. My lower back has been hurting so bad now for 3 weeks nonstop. I have a female condition because of the Fibro called Intertistial Cystitis. It was under control and now this past week I have suffered horrible with it and the back pain. I am still trying to decide which doctor to call tomorrow because I have to find some relief. I have typed up all my symptoms and dates to take with me to whomever I try to see. I will be printing the articles I have found also. This has been H%$#!


" I don't think the term "brain zap" is a good description of what is happening in my head but it'
Posted by: clbeall
Feb 4, 2015
" PS: I don't think the term "brain zap" is a good description of what is happening in my head but it's there whatever it is, a quick ZOOOOM! and gone. Any thoughts?"

In regards to what I copied from the last part of your post (above):

Thank you so much for clarifying the term "brain zap" for me. I had no idea what people were referring to when they used that term.

I absolutely agree with you in your description of thoughts being there and then instantaneously being gone in the same second - and not having a clue of what the thoughts were about. I really though I may have been getting the beginnings of alzheimers. I was a little scared until I read what you had written.

Thank you so much for taking the time to write what you did. You helped me tremendously and I really do appreciate it!


Posted by: GratefulDoctor
Sep 29, 2014
I had a friend, an MSW clinical psychotherapist, who seemed the picture of emotional balance and good sense. I had not seen her in a long time, but had heard that she'd found relief from her fibromyalgia by taking Cymbalta. She posted on her website that she'd been enjoying her dog and looking forward to visiting friends in another city. Two days later she was dead at 58 years of age. I heard that it was a suicide. I do not know if she'd stopped her Cymbalta. The possibility that the medication contributed to her death haunts me.
Reply Reply

Cymbalta Withdrawal Help and Support Group
Posted by: roberthilley
Oct 1, 2014
If you are looking for a support group to assist you in coping with the withdrawal symptoms associated with the discontinued use of Cymbalta, you should check out:
Reply Reply

Discontinuing Cymbalta
Posted by: sledford
Oct 10, 2014
I had been taking a 30mg capsule since the beginning of April. Getting on this medicine was absolutely horrifying. I had every side effect listed ...and some! If it weren't for the many blogs I had read online, I wouldn't have pushed through in the beginning. I just thought I had to do it to get to a better place. I was taking it for horrible mood swings and irritability. It worked extremely well for those problems. I felt so much better mentally. My only issue was the constant fatigue I felt. It caused me to gain weight, because of my lack of energy. I decided I should quit taking it. I did the removing of the little balls in the capsule. I started on September 24th and was completely off by October 6th. The first two days of no meds was fine. However, I am now feeling the constant motion sickness, dizziness, nausea. I can't believe that a medication that causes so many people such extreme side effects is even available. I am just going to push through and hope it gets better soon!
Reply Reply

Posted by: LJHM
Oct 14, 2014
I think Lily doesn't list Cymbalta because of all the issues ppl are having with withdrawal symptoms, and that they did not have a plan for tapering ppl off of the med, and they were not upfront with doctors or patients when they came out big time with cymbalta. There are no ads on TV any more like they had been advertising.
I think they're afraid of law suits. I know I went thru a horrible year of withdrawal symptoms and am still having side effects..
Reply Reply

Cymbalta withdrawal side effects
Posted by: LJHM
Oct 14, 2014
Hi! I had a horrendous time getting off cymbalta. I had been taking 60 mg (for nerve pain - did NOTHING for it) for many years. However, when I wanted to try to get off of it, I had the worst depression and weepiness of my life and thought, wow! I must be really depressed. That's what kept me on it for so long - after realizing that 1 1/2 years into taking it, it was not helping for the specific nerve pain it was prescribed for. I had in the past been on an antidepressant for nerve pain - amitryptiline which helped very much. However, it changed so much about me - my taste in food, desire to go out walking like I had been doing daily, made me sluggish and bc of all this actually caused depression but the reason I could not take it any longer was bc by month 12, I realize it was the med that caused me to go from my lowest weight in over 20 years to my highest weight ever, by far - I gained 70 pounds in one year! I am 5' 9" tall, but it was horrible. I had to get off of it. So the pain did come back but I had no withdrawals -a nd I was never the same person.
Found a dr - expert in this type of pain who would answer emails- he recommended cymbalta since amitryptiline had worked.. Cymbalta did nothing as I said. I did not have issues starting it.
A year ago, I tried to quit cold turkey. I was on 60 mg. Bad move. I was SO sick - general malaise, myalgia, internal body tremors, high blood pressure (despite being on BP meds and a diuretic 2 times a day!), strong palpitations, nausea, horrible head aches, severe weepiness and depression - back on cymbalta. Figured I was now too depressed a person, plus the high blood pressure and palpitations were scaring me. Ran out of the meds a month later on a vaca and decided to hold out till home to refill. Not a good choice - felt so horrible again.
Finally consulted with the dr. who had me go from 60 to 30mg. I had no reaction. Stayed on this about 4 months, then she had me down to 20 mg. She told me in a few weeks or a month or so, I could try taking every other day. I decided to give myself time and stayed on it for about 4 months then tried to go every other day. I went right back to daily I started being so sick..After a few months I was determined to get off of this toxin and I just started adding hours between the daily doses. So instead of 24 hours, the next time say it was 28 hours between, I didn't have any specific time schedule. My goal was to make sure I always stayed off of it longer than they time before. I was gradually able to increase the hours between dosages until I was finally taking it every other day, then 2 1/2 days. This was not too long ago. I have about 5 pills left and I am OFF of them! I do not and have not had the zaps ever. Thank God. But I am not the same person either. I feel it permanently changed my disposition and I become agitated very easily and react much more strongly to things than I should be or ever used to. I am hoping and praying in time, this too will subside, or else I will have to go on some type of med - that's not TOXIC like cymbalta and has a long half life, unlike cymbalta which has a short half life.
Lily IMO, has much blame and shame putting out a drug that they have no protocol for terminating use. They should have a dosage smaller than 20 mg. And they should have informed the medical practitioners prescribing it about how difficult it would be to come off of. I think they should be sued, for the pain and suffering so many of us have gone thru. I was given no warnings and when I tell the dr all the withdrawal symptoms she looks at me like I'm half crazy or exaggerating. ..not at all. Horrible, horrible drug. Shame on Lily
Reply Reply

Cymbalta Withdrawals
Posted by: unclejames
Jan 4, 2015
Lily should be held responsible. I don't know whether she knew to ween me off or not. But if she did shame on her


Make it stop.
Posted by: notwinning
Oct 21, 2014
Dear Eli Lilly,

You win! Although crying while writing this concession, I'm not a sore loser. I am a nauseous, disoriented, fatigued, anxious and emotionally distraught loser, but after only 6 days of attempting to discontinue use of Cymbalta (at 30mgs) I'm throwing up, and throwing in the towel. As a consumer that has 2 jobs, a household to run and yet can now barely drive, look at a computer or move my head from side-to-side due to dizziness and nausea, I remain your loyal customer. Your total lack of any manageable discontinuation options and standard of care for someone who would actually like to stop taking your drug, ensures this.

Reply Reply

Cymbalta and other antidepressants/anxiety meds
Posted by: EdG
Nov 14, 2014
I have suffered from major anxiety and depression and have taken every antidepressant out along with Xanax for 15 years.
I started taking GABA supplement and feel better than I have for as long as I can remember, and have cut the meds to a fraction of what I was taking. Believe me try it!
Reply Reply

cymbalta side effects and withdrawal
Posted by: rulupa
Dec 5, 2014
I was started on cymbalta 60 mg while in hospital. I was quite ill after having 14 admissions in 2 years and being told I just had chronic pain syndrome when in fact I had multiple abdominal abscesses that required surgery to fix. At any rate I was never told what I was taking or given any information about cymbalta. I do have a form of myalgia, although not fibromyalgia, but depending on who I asked no one seemed certain if I was started on cymbalta due to pain or the idiot doctors insistence that I must be depressed since they couldn't justify my pain complaints.
Because I was also put on a number of other medications at the same time that have similar side effects it took me 2 years to realize my complaints were actually related to cymbalta. I was going thru both side effects and withdrawal on a daily basis. I have had all of my large intestine removed so these slow release medications don't stay in my system long enough to fully absorb. But I didn't even know cymbalta was a slow release drug until recently. I get everything from extremely excessive sweating to the point where I can't work because I actually drip sweat of patients, muscle fatigue where I don't think I'll make it home from a walk, a feeling that my chest is constricting, have had seizures - one of which resulted in a brain injury because I fell and hit my head. The mood swings and serious suicidal thoughts as well as at times uncontrollable rage. Because of other health problems all medical personnel are so quick to blame it on other things and not one ever suggested cymbalta could be to blame. I've seen endocrinilogists, psychiatrists, internal medicine specialists, neurologists, cardiologists but once I read this site everything fit perfectly. This drug is dangerous!!!!!! If you need it fine but patients should make the choice going in with their eyes open. It has almost cost me my life and the fight is far from over. I was switched over to liquid effexor which my pharmacist told me I would only need to take for a week and would prevent withdrawal symptoms. Wrong! but hopefully they will not be a severe or last a long as when I tried to stop cold turkey. Good luck to others.
Reply Reply

Posted by: washk
Dec 11, 2014
I have been on Cymbalta (currently 60 mg) for almost 10 years now. I was originally prescribed it for depression but it did not work for that at all. Most other anti-depressants I had tried prior made me suffer very severe side effects. What kept me on the Cymbalta was I also had endometriosis and after my 4th surgery was still suffering severe pelvic pain and doctors could not figure out the cause. Surprisingly, I noticed that the Cymbalta completely stopped my daily pelvic pain. So I decided to stay on it. Fast forward a few years, I tried to stop taking it and got all the symptoms of withdrawal I've read about. I couldn't handle it so I stayed on it.

Now for the past two years, my insurance companies refuse to pay for it. It is not prescribed for the FDA approved conditions, therefore they will not cover it as a benefit. Since I can't stop taking it, I've had to apply to Eli Lilly for patient assistance, which luckily I have been approved for because who can pay the $400/month for a medication.

I feel trapped. I'm trying to sign up for insurance for next year right now and again it is not covered by any of the providers. I am thinking I will try to taper off this year with the guidance of my doctor and keep track of my withdrawal symptoms. I will ask if I can get a low dose of prozac added to my daily regimen to see if it helps with the brain zaps.

And I love how there is a generic version of Cymbalta but it is not a preferred drug by most insurance companies and still costs as much as the brand name. This is ridiculous. And if I stop taking it, will my pelvic pain come back?
Reply Reply

much more affordable through Canadian Pharmacies
Posted by: nancydolores
Feb 21, 2015
I started reducing cymbalta intake in August and with the support of Chinese medicine, completely stopped taking it by November. It's late February now, and I sense that my symptoms of insomnia, night sweats, depression, crying-at-the-drop-of-a-hat, broiling abdominal and chest sensations just might be discontiuation syndrome. Aargh!

So while I STILL wish to stay off cymbalta,I understand your position of needing to continue yet struggling with the cost. I founded sources of Cymbalta for about $1.10 a pill through online pharmacies in Canada. You might give that a try.


Cymbalta Withdrawals
Posted by: unclejames
Jan 3, 2015
I just found this site tonight. My pain doctor right before Thanksgiving had her medical assistant call me and tell me I could no longer take Cymbalta and Welbutrin which was her idea. The Cymbalta was for my Fibro and the other for mild depression. My doctor was already out of town and would be gone until after Thanksgiving. I was told to choose which one to stay on. I chose the generic Welbutrin as it was much cheaper. She did not bother to tell me I should ween myself off. But I had a feeling it should not be stopped cold turkey so I tried taking it every other day for a week or so. Then came the nightmare. Nauseated every day, headaches off and on each day, neck pain,upset stomach.I went to primary doctor thinking I had some sinus issues. Nope! My friend is a RN and we decided it was the withdrawals. those symptoms lasted 2 weeks. I ate Phenegan to stop nausea. well then comes lower back pain I cannot get relief from. so back to primary for xray, no new issues. She gave me some naproxen but it keeps my stomach upset. I also have Interstitial Cystitis which has reared it's ugly head all week long. I have periods of feeling like I am in a fog and cannot think clearly. My vision was blurry at times. After reading this article, I do not think I can go through this for several months. My husband passed away 2 years ago and I have done fairly well but now I cry everyday over him and depression is setting in. So now I don't know who to turn to. I wonder if my doctor had any idea about these withdrawals. I am quite pissed with her. Any suggestions on who to see or go see her and tell her what she has done. I am miserable. And upset.
Reply Reply

Cymbalta nightmare
Posted by: Bamboohut
Jan 5, 2015
Hello unclejames,

I typed out a detailed post about my Cymbalta withdrawal nightmare but my iPad shut down because of a low battery and my post was erased.

It's late and I'm too tired to type it all again so I'll just sat this - my w/d story is similar to yours and it has been SEVERE and UGLY. Your posts caught my attention because they are very recent and my horrible journey started in late November of 2014. It's been over a month since I took the last 60mg capsule and I am still living a day-to-day hell on earth.

Please let me know how you're doing. I will pray for us both because I truly believe it will take divine intervention to reverse the devastating side effects that cymbalta has caused.

May God bless you and all the others who are suffering because of this poison.
Reply Reply

Posted by: beechgirl
Jan 12, 2015
I have taken 6 pills prescribed by pain management. My first reaction was that it was wonderful. After the first dose my pain level was noticably less. Then the palpittions, dry mouth, nauseau and lightheadedness started. I googled it and found out about Cymbalta Discontinuation Syndrome. I specifically asked this dr who was new to me what the side effects were. His answer was something like nothing to worry about. I put a call into.him first thing this morning, it's evening and I haven't heard back from he yet. I am thankful that I did the research myself before I found myself stuck on this medication. I'm looking to tesolve a pain issue. I have never been disgnosed with depression. The pharmaceutical company should be taken to task,as well as the FDA. I am furious with this dr for not giving me full disclosure about this medication. I try to be an informed consumer when it comes to my medical care as I am a long time hospitsl worker. Shame on me too for not researchinh before taking the first pill.
Reply Reply

Don't take anymore Cymbalta
Posted by: Bamboohut
Jan 15, 2015
Beechgirl, please do not let your doctor talk you into continuing with this drug. I beg you DO NOT take a single dose more. I took the last 60mg pill on 11/22/14 and I am still living a nightmare. Nothing helps. I'm on the 4th week of taking 20mg of Prozac for the debilitating depression - no improvement, not even a little bit. I want to die. That is NO EXAGGERATION. Tomorrow, with my husband's help, I will be looking into checking myself in to a psychiatric facility if we can find one in this area. The doctor who prescribed the Cymbalta and who has been my GP for almost 20 yrs referred me to a psychiatric - that was the best he could do for me? Really? Saw the one psychiatrist in our town last a Friday who said, " don't worry. This is temporary. You will definitely get better." I wanted so badly to believe him, but today I'm still on the verge of suicide. I will never be the same. I give up. I want to die. I can't take this torture any more. I have a husband and two grown children. All are healthy - I love them - they love me. We are financially secure, have a vacation home by the bay - I want for NOTHING - but this drug has ruined my life. I can't face another day like this. I know it would hurt my family but it's so bad, I'm so deeply in despair that even my love for them doesn't matter - I jusr want to die and be left in peace from this horrific drug. Pleasea, Cymbalta, I'm begging you, LEAVE ME ALONE. IM BEGGING YOU. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE LEAVE ME ALONE.
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Boy---You Ain't Kidding!
Posted by: BarbRishaw
Jan 18, 2015
I've taken Cymbalta for several years (for depression and muscle aches associated with me/cfs) and it's a fairly effective drug.

However, readers should take the discontinuation symptoms described in this article VERY seriously. It's no exaggeration. Cymbalta Discontinuation Syndrome (CDS) can be extremely uncomfortable, both physically and emotionally. And a mild case of CDS on one occasion is no guarantee your next time will similar---it could easily be quite severe.

Cymbalta isn't an evil drug. It can be an effective weapon against anxiety, depression and pain. But using it comes at a price.
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Boy---You Ain't Kidding!
Posted by: BarbRishaw
Jan 18, 2015
I've taken Cymbalta for several years (for depression and muscle aches associated with me/cfs) and it's a fairly effective drug.

However, readers should take the discontinuation symptoms described in this article VERY seriously. It's no exaggeration. Cymbalta Discontinuation Syndrome (CDS) can be extremely uncomfortable, both physically and emotionally. And a mild case of CDS on one occasion is no guarantee your next time will similar---it could easily be quite severe.

Cymbalta isn't an evil drug. It can be an effective weapon against anxiety, depression and pain. But using it comes at a price.
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Posted by: JolietGirl
Jan 21, 2015
I was not feeling well one morning. Severe chest pain, nausea, vomitting. I got checked in, blood work revealed the Cymbalta raised my liver enzymes to over 700. Normal value should have been 35 to 40. Doctors said I was a verysick lady. So anyone taking this, and have these symptoms, please get checked. Be safe, be aware my dear friends.
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Cymbalta Disfunction
Posted by: Passoverman
Jan 21, 2015
I have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia for over 10 years & lived with it for many years before. My Dr. thought he was doing me a favor by putting me on Cymbalta. He was continually working with me to get me help....but Cymbalta was the worst. I started gaining weight, with little help or benefit. He asked me to hold on in case the help kicked in after being on it a while. At six months, I had gained 60 lbs. We began to lower the dosage, with an alternate antidepressant introduced. Nothing changed, so we lowered it more. Horrible head zaps, messed up sleep, my bones even hurt. It was 3 months of hell. When I was finally off it, I lost 35 lbs in 4 months. Then it leveled out, and I was stuck with an extra 25 lbs. This is one messed up drug. So many people I know have had many adverse affects, on it, or coming off it!
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Savella does too
Posted by: oneofakind503
Jan 21, 2015
I had a very similar experience getting off Savella. My doctor says they are similar meds. Anyone else have that happen? It was horrible. I reduced very slowly and it was excruciating each time. A year later I finally stopped the last dose and still spent months with agonizing symptoms including came close to trying suicide. Never again will I try these fibro meds. Lyrica was horrible too.
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It is a nightmare to try reducing Cymbalta amount
Posted by: egonona
Jan 21, 2015
Because Cymbalta make me sleep too much,( it indeed changed my life) I have tried few times even with my doctor to reduce the amount but it didn't work. At the beginning I started with 60 mg, but I didn't feel well because I started to sleep all day; I could not have a normal life.I reduced the amount from 60 mg to 50 and I started to feel better, but I still feel tired and I want to sleep. Then, I tried to change from 50 mg to 40, but I was going through the nightmare described in this article. I am depressed, I have pain all over in my body and all the symptoms related to Withdrawal Syndrome.I don't know what to do, and I am afraid that I will never be the person that I was one year ago.
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It's all true
Posted by: SailorGirl
Jan 21, 2015
I decided to go off Cymbalta last April. It wasn't really doing that much for me, and I was constantly tired to the point of no quality of life whatsoever. Being who I am, I researched what was out there about tapering off of Cymbalta. I lost my doctor a year ago, so I was doing this alone. The descriptions of the possible side effects were tame if anything. I opened the capsules and took out a few every day, then a few more, then a few more. I took three full months to taper off completely and gradually.

After the first three weeks, I learned about brain zaps. Good name for them. They suck. My Fibro fog got so bad I was really phoning it in at work, and I was really concerned about driving. Hot flashes, dizziness, pain, IBS. All the things you love about Fibromyalgia on steroids. I really pissed off the monster! I used Ginkco Biloba to help with the fog. I weaned myself off coffee, which was much easier, and started drinking green tea. I started getting my energy back. I no longer needed naps after work. My pain level increased, but not so much it wasn't manageable. I had been on one antidepressant or another for Fibromyalgia for 15 years.

Flash forward 9 months, and I'm doing much better. My pain is starting to do that weird Fibro thing where it wanders, and my shoulder pain is intense. But I think that's going to be a job for an ortho surgeon.

My advise? Looking back, I tried to get off antidepressants so many times. I can't say why this time I was finally successful, but I went through hell, and I will never, ever allow myself back into that cycle again. If you can't do it this time, regroup and try again make lifestyle changes -- diet, exercise, sleep, stress -- to make success more likely. And good luck.
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Been there done that!!!
Posted by: tearydawn
Jan 21, 2015
I was only on it for a few months. Getting off led to the worst side effects I have ever experienced, so much so, that I will NEVER take it again and warn others about it as well. I couldn't turn my head without the whole room following slowly after. I felt drunk with no ability to sober up. I was raging. I was severely depressed and wanted to lash out at those around me. That is no who I am. It was the worst experience EVER and this drug should not be on the market. The side effects lasted for a couple months, not a few days and I DID taper off very slowly.
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cymbalta and wellbutrin
Posted by: pattymetz
Jan 21, 2015
My doctor kept insisting that I be on both. I suffer from Migraines and I have Small Vessel Disease in my heart. Well at one time she had me on 300mg of Wellbutrin and increased me to 60mg of Cymbalta. My migraines increased immediately, my regular doctor increased my Topamax right away. It wasn't long before I had my Physch put me back down to 30mg Cymbalta. To make a long story short I finally convinced her to take me off the Cymbalta. I'd still like to be on less Wellbutrin because I think I felt better at 150mg. I understand the withdrawal symptoms, if you don't do it slowly, it will really mess you up.
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Cymbalta for 3 years... now Savella
Posted by: Figgy
Jan 21, 2015
I took Cymbalta for a bit more than 3 years. It did reduce my FMS pain, it helped with interstitial cystitis, reduced my lower back pain and reduced anxiety. However, I started at 30mg and went to 60mg and ended up at 90mg. When I decided it was not helping as much I wanted to switch to Savella. My rheumatology office swore the weaning off was not as bad as I'd read online. She thought I could get off within a month. I made the transition to 60mg with little problems except headaches. The transition to 30mg was more difficult. Nausea, dizziness, headaches, ringing in the ears, more pain returning. My colon started freaking out. IBS for sure. I have ulcerative colitis that had been in remission for years which returned slowly. By the time I had to reduce from 30mg to nothing (skipped one day every 3 days, then every 2 days, etc..), the colitis was really bad. Abdominal pain was constant. It was hard to determine if it was my bladder (IC) or colon .. My dr insisted I be all the way off before starting Savella. I got off and the symptoms all listed here got worse. My back was so sore and my muscles that it was hard to sleep, everything ached, I hated life. I hated everyone. It was miserable. It took 5 days to get the Savella (problems with pharmacy) and it was hell. I started on Savella which took a month to titrate up and now worry about getting off of that. It is helping the FMS though. But my colon has not recovered. Full ulcerative colitis flare up and not really getting better. I would advise NOT TO START and if you do, wean VERY SLOWLY. My primary care dr (more informed)tells me she has patients who are trying to wean and it's been more than 6 months and they cannot make the final drop in dosage. I am thankful I switched to Savella but wonder now if I'm just delaying the inevitable... my HR is VERY HIGH on Savella - up to 140 bpm and that's resting rate. I need to figure something else out soon. HELP.
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Cymbalta Discontinuing
Posted by: butterfly_hearts
Jan 21, 2015
Hello, I have been on Cymbalta now for about 2 years. last week I decided enough was enough they were making me feel like a zombie, so I made the decision to stop taking them and I was taking a high dose of 120mg. I just stopped cold turkey along with a few other pain killers like Junsita and Endone. I know it was now the wrong way to go about it but I am feeling a lot better by not taking them. just getting a few symptoms but nothing too bad as yet. but wanted to thank you for writing the article about going off them . I will keep you informed on how I am going .cheers Pamela
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Cymbalta withdrawl
Posted by: mssjenny
Jan 21, 2015
I will never take Cymbalta again. It took me 6 months to get off the drug. I had to do bead counting and slowly go down. If it wasn't for my daughter, she is an RN researching Cymbalta and coming up with a withdrawal plan, I would probably still be on it.
My Doctor at the time told me to do cold turkey, I got so sick. I had the brain zaps, sweating like you wouldn't believe, and I actually lost some sight in my left eye. All I can say is, you have to reduce slowly, bead count, to get off it. It's the worst drug out there.
I am now taking St John's wort for my fibro pain. So much better! I also take black cohosh and evening primrose for menopause. They are helping.
Doctors should research Cymbalta before prescribing it to people, and have a plan to help them get off.
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Posted by: mhreyes
Jan 21, 2015
Its not working quite anymore as it was with pain from FM. May have to discontinue it. It makes me very uptight. I bite down a lot when I'm on it. Can seem to relax. I'm not looking forward to having to get off. I know it will be real hard but I will have to have something to replace it. My pain gets chronic when I try to get off. Will be seeing Dr. in February. God be with all of you. Its bad enough we are in pain and discomfort with illness more or less with all the meds we have to take. Lots of grace and strength. Mary Helen
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Cymbalta withdrawal
Posted by:
Jan 22, 2015
Horrific is the correct word for Cymbalta withdrawal. I ran out over the weekend and couldn't afford to fill my script. I had every symptom described in this article except for the seizures. Between Cymbalta and Lyrica I don't know which withdrawal is worse and unfortunately I don't think either are helping my Fibromyalgia but I'm just too damned scared to give them up. I now know why it's so hard for a junkie to give up drugs
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Discontinueing Cymbalta
Posted by: Morningstarr
Jan 22, 2015
Please, Please , Please, anyone who is thinking of taking this medication, please reconsider. I have FM and took it. It was terrible. Yes, a real nightmare! However, nothing could prepare me for the next round with this unsafe drug. A family member who was taking it, passed away last year from taking her own life while on this medication. It was totally unexpected and I was unaware she was prescribed this medication. It is very dangerous!!! DO NOT TAKE THIS DRUG!!!!
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Posted by: waterdipper
Jan 22, 2015
Hang in there. We know not all (many) drs are up-to-date, knowledgeable about all the variable symptoms we patients share with each other and know are real, not our normal before FM.

Individual variability to each medication is an important factor.
I pray for a resolution to your symptoms and
guidance to a better health guiding doctor.

Sometimes psychiatrists can know more about the meds.
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Posted by: waterdipper
Jan 22, 2015
Since Cymbalta, I have daily morning nightmares.

Re-tried Cymbalta over a two-year period 3 different times.
Same thing. Nightmares.

Dr (rheum) response: Class I, II, and III FM patients.
and Class II get Cymbalta and Lyrica.

After reading this article, a the class action lawsuit?, will consider discontinuance. Now, how, Lily?-generic manufacturer?

Need Congress to revamp of our health system and FDA and better regulation . Pharmaceutical industry enjoys exorbitant growth rate of up to 24% compared to the US economy (2%?).
Put first common people who are suffering in so many ways each tied to the other: financially, emotionally, physically, happiness and well-being!
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I was forced to abruptly stop due to insurance not being in place when it was supposed to be.
Posted by: pjnalty
Jan 22, 2015
I had to fight for 8 days to try and get my pharmacy benefits turned on even though I signed up by the Dec 15 deadline. Needless to say I never expected to run out and not be able to get a refill for 8 VERY long and uncomfortable days. I even broke my phone in a fit of rage, which is VERY VERY unlike me....a very expensive mistake. And did the insurance carrier care about my withdrawal at all? Nope. They told me I could pay out of pocket and get reimbursed. Um, it costs about $700 for 30 days worth, and that was simply NOT doable. Makes me want to stop taking it just so this never happens again.
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Posted by: wonderlik
Jan 25, 2015
Living in the country where there are not a choice of psychiatrists I have also been put on Cymbalta. A Dopamine tablet was also added. My fybromyalgia was never very severe. In fact I wasn't aware I had ituntil my dr. diagnosed me with it.

I am taking the Cymbalta for depression - that's why I went to the dr. - a GP.

My Question is now: Is there a certain time that I must stop taking Cymbalta or for how many years can I take it.
Why should I stop taking it? Why do others stop taking it?

Should I rather see a psychiatrist in the city??
I hope there are some one who could give me answers.
Thank you.
Reply Reply

FM and Cymbalta
Posted by: pbefumo
Feb 4, 2015
I recently had to withdraw from Cymbalta, cold turkey, because I lost prescription coverage and couldn't afford the cash price for the generic. I discovered two things:

1) I experienced depression for the first time in my life, but I honestly wasn't surprised since I had been taking what was effectively an antidepressant, even if I was taking it for the side effect - reduced pain from Fibromyalgia. My doctor was able to get me past this particular side effect by putting me on an interim dose of Prozac. It worked.

2) I discovered just how bad my Fibromyalgia was - it was virtually incapacitating, and had - over the years I'd taken Cymbalta - become far worse. I finally found the cash to pay for it out of pocket, and within a week the pain was reduced to what it had been before I dropped the med.

I don't really blame the medication for this. It's doing what it's supposed to do, and dropping it most assuredly showed me, and my rheumatologist, just how bad my FM was.
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Stopping Cymbalta, etc.
Posted by: Gibby1960
Feb 5, 2015
I stopped taking Cymbalta 90mg, Wellbutrin 300 and 150mg, and Amitriptyline 25mg. I didn't know about the severe withdrawal symptoms of these supposedly helpful medications. I have been so ill. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, fatigue, dizziness, crying, headaches, flu like symptoms, severe itching, rash, muscle pain, unbelievable sweating like hot flashes on steroids, and insomnia to mention a few. I could not figure out why I was not getting better from what I thought was the flu or other such virus. Now that I know I need advise on how to push through this? I am NEVER letting this happen again. I will never take a medication that I do not research first. This is unreal!! Any help?
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Cymbalta Withdrawal
Posted by: I_HAVE_A_RASH
Feb 9, 2015
I had been on Cymbalta since 2007 - then generic form for the past year or so. I had to come off because my co-payment was too much since generic drugs seemed to skyrocket. I was taking 90mg per day a few years back and felt totally emotionless; couldnt enjoy anything, never felt like laughing, etc. I asked the Dr. to decrease to 60mg/day and decreasing wasnt bad. Finally I said I just cant afford it any more. My dose was dropped from 60mg for one week them 30mg for a week and then discontinue. I thought I was having a stroke literally. My eyeballs fluttered, felt dizzy and sick, high and very low moments. Now that I am off (approx. 1-1/2 weeks) I have developed a rash of sorts out of the blue. Has anyone else developed a red flat spotty non-itching rash? I still feel like crap, many brain zaps and zooms so I avoid driving because usually my eyes start to flutter. I go back to see the Dr. in a few weeks and I really dont want to try anything else. I cant stand it! All of these psyche meds are so expensive. The only benefit I got from Cymbalta is it controlled my body pain -fibromyalgia. I also had colon cancer and now have severe IBS and the Cymbalta did assist in helping with bowel pain in addition to Nortriptyline. All other meds have not caused a rash but was wondering if by chance Cymbalta was suppressing it. Any ideas???
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Cymbalta withdrawal
Posted by: Lahomaviv
Feb 17, 2015
Well I can't decide if I feel better after reading these comments or worse. Without giving the long back story, I will tell you I have been on Cymbalta 120 mg and Zoloft 200 mg for about 10 years. It has worked pretty well. A year ago I began to have extreme difficulty with memory. I really believed that I had early onset Alzheimer's disease at 51 years old. I was terrified to say the least. I could no longer think well enough to continue working in my profession in accounting and business management. Fast forward a year, a lot of reading about the medicine I was on, drug interactions, homeopathic medicine, etc. and I am now off Cymbalta 100% as of 3 weeks ago. I first cut my dosage in half to 60 mg for about 3 weeks and then to taking no Cymbalta. The withdrawal, physically, was not too extreme, the withdrawal is extreme. The mood swings, wanting to die, fights with my husband, crying fits, blurred vision, stiff neck, diarrhea, headaches, and just general pain is miserable and does feel like I am in HELL! At least now after reading these posts, I now know I am not crazy. This sucks. I see my doctor next week and I will be filling him in on what has been going on. I have talked many times with him about being on both of these drugs, and I have never heard until today in reading these posts that there was something called Cymbalta withdrawal syndrome. It really makes me wonder about my Psychiatrist, how could he not know this. I am so scared that my life will just be this way forever and at 52 my life feels like it is over.
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Just happy to know I'm not crazy
Posted by: petie1999
Feb 23, 2015
I'm really glad I found this board and all of the information out there about weaning myself off Cymbalta and transitioning to a new anti-depressant. I've been taking Cymbalta since about 2008 for depression after I had a back surgery and my other medicine was no longer effective. I originally started at 30mg, but over the years it stopped working and last year my dr moved me to 120mg. Over all these years NO ONE has ever explained the severity of withdrawl symptoms that I could experience. All I knew was that if I missed even 1 dose I would live in a fog, 2 days left me physically ill, and 3 days had me crying hysterically. Now that I HAVE to get off of it b/c it absolutely no longer worked for me, I have felt like I'm living with the flu - all the same symptoms, but in combination with brain fog, hysterical crying or maniacal laughter, and weird feelings in my brain. I'm trying to combat it all with lots of water, green tea, multi vitamins, and eating right. I also shared the info with my husband, kids, and friends - so if something happens to me they know what to tell the doctors. Thank you to everyone for sharing your experiences b/c I know that I'm not alone in this.
Reply Reply

Cymbalta withdrawals
Posted by: Brainzap85
Feb 25, 2015
Hey guys, I'm so happy I found this message board.

I was prescribed cymbalta for my anxiety and avoidant personality.

It was magic, I felt amazing, best I've felt in years. It really worked wonders for me.
I was away camping blissfully having a good time. It got to Sunday afternoon and I realised
Hey now I haven't taken my tablet in two days. Must remember to take it when I get home.

Enter "whoa what's that" turns out my first brain zaps were happening.
I googled it, I panicked, I want off this crazy medication.

I took my last tablet on Thursday last week after almost a year and a bit on it, 30mg then up to 60mg for a couple of months and then down to 30mg again for around a month. Yeah it was a fun year. Laziest year of my life. But anyway.

The withdrawals are strong, it sucks, I have the inner shivers and kinda like vertigo.
Luckily I haven't had much nausea or vomiting. My guts are going crazy though.

So is my heart. The thing that scares me most is that out of all of the posts there is not one here that says, "hey don't worry guys. Symptoms last two months and then you're golden. All good"

Why? I don't think you'd forget to Inform other people suffering with the same afflictions you are that you're all better. Out of this whole process thank goodness I actually feel like I am keeping my mind. No real deep depression or eratic thoughts yet. Here's hoping I won't get too emotional.

I really feel for you all. Thank you for sharing and I wish us all the best of luck... Something tells me we are gonna need it.
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Posted by: dgj123
Feb 27, 2015
OMG...someone help I have just gone off 90 mg cymbalta cold turkey on my 5day nausea isn't in it ,stomach pains,crying all the time,nightmares,excessive sweating at night,I can hear my eyelashes moving when I blink,headaches.i was giving this instead of armpitripline a year ago and went cold turkey off them after being on a 150mg for 6 years but the withdrawal from them was severe headaches and moody and lasted about 2 weeks how long is this withdrawal gonna last I really don't want to restart them I've got through 5 days but feel all in long does the withdrawal last and why are these drugs being perscribed in the uk when there are even lawsuits going on in the USA and why aren't we told about the possible withdrawal side effects when given these drugs it hasn't help my back pain at all and I'm never gonna take any pills for pain again or for depression which I have suffered from for 30 yrs cos nothing has really helped
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