I have recently been diagnosed as BP II and am "trying" to get off of Cymbalta. I was taking 60Mg for about 9 months, so my doc put me down to 30 mg's for 10 days. I felt fine. Then I was to stop. WOW!!!!!! I thought being pregnant four times with morning sickness sucked!!! I was soooo sick, everytime I moved my head the slightest bit I wanted to vomit, and sometimes do! I feel like I am being "shocked" sometimes, BRUTAL. I called doc's office and they wrote a script for 30 mgs again and said to take it every other day for awhile again. Has anyone out there gone off this stuff? I assume so, but can you let me in on your "horror" stories so I don't feel quite so alone? Not sure if it is related, as I am also trying to stabalize on Lamactil, but my moods have gone SUPER screwed up since trying to quit this. HELP ME!!!
As monkeyc has said you need to get in touch with your psychiatrist.
Whenever I've had to come off a medication its always been done very very slowly.
The fact that you are also starting a new medication does confuse matters as you don't know whether you are experiencing side effects from the new med or side effects from withdrawal of the previous med. This is why getting in touch with your psychiatrist is the best option.
You have to even go down to splitting the smallest dose into just grains until you can wean off this drug. The withdrawal side effects are akin to heroine withdrawal, so you should take this very seriously. I was down to 12 grains before I stopped, I still got the electric shooting feelings going on in my head, severe nausea and body aches, I had the chills and was sweating profusely. I also took ativan to help with the shakes, it was awful. I was on the drug for 4 weeks and it took me over 6 weeks to get off the drug, and that was considered fast by my pdoc. You need to speak with your pdoc, and find out how much they know about the drug personally and not what is written up about the drug, fact vs. fiction. Lamctil is a wonder drug, but it shouldn't be taken at the same time as Cymbalta, that's weird your pdoc would do that. I might even ask for a second opinion honestly.
Hang in there!
When my pdoc took me off of Cymbalta it was pure H*ll, but he didn't do it like you are doing it. I went from 60 mg to 40mg to 20mg to 10mg to 0mg - over 45 days. It wasn't fun, but you can't just drop off of Cymbalta. You have withdrawals like LCC said - heroine addiction. I had sweats, vomiting, nauseau, swimmy head, dizziness, clicking in my head (I felt like there were bugs crawling under my skin), electric shock sensations, and insomnia then excessive sleep.
I went down on Cymbalta at the same time my Lamictal was going up in dosage so I didn't do like LCC - but it helped me to have something in my body, I suppose (the Lamictal). I went up on the starter dosage on Lamictal while coming down from Cymbalta.
Cymbalta is the devil drug in my book. NOTHING should hurt that much to come off of it. Hang in there, but do talk to them about a plan for coming off of Cymbalta - splitting the dosage won't work....trust me. Your body will adjust to the dosage over time - it has to be a constant gradual decline in medication dosage - but it still is really painful.
If you start to have hallucinations or suicidal thoughts, be sure to let your pdoc know right away or go directly to the ER. I had bad suicidal thoughts when I was coming off of Cymbalta.
There have been lawsuits against Effexor, the sister drug because of te severe withdrawal effects, I'm expecting the same with this one. The claim that it helps with pain is absolutely bung, I have chronic pain and it did nothing even at the highest dose. The lesson I learned, not to believe ads, and don't go to your GP for meds!
I took Effexor, too, at one time, and the withdrawals were bad on it, as well. The devil, Prozac, didn't have that effect on me, but gees, Cymbalta is the worst. Effexor had zero affect on me for depression - they had me taking so much I rattled when I walked. BUT, the withdrawals were really painful.
It's amazing what we do to make ourselves better - but I know myself, personally, would go through just about anything to feel better than the normal bipolar crappola.
I don't think there's too many anti-depressants I haven't taken!! I have heard the Lamictal has bad withdrawals, too, but hopefully, it will keep working at least for awhile.
It is hard for many folks to come off of Cymbalta. I had taken 90mg/day for 6 mos or so. Then ran out of my prescription over a long holiday weekend with no way to get new prescription. After 2 days, i was so sick--dizzy, brain "zaps", anxious, very moody, sensitive to any noise/light, bad stomach ache, etc etc Didnt realize until day 4 the correlation of stopping the Cymbalta. Of course my idiot Dr who prescribed denied there was any correlation. I eventually call the drug maker (I think its Eli Lilly). They said the is the expected response of going off to fast and that any Dr prescribing who doesnt know this shouldnt be prescribing. Instead of getting a refill, I just stuck it out. Each day after the first week got a little better. Once back to "normal" after 3 weeks. But that 3 weeks was hell. I was glad I didnt give in and take it again though.
Later, when I started seeing a psychiatrist (not a fam practice Dr who shouldnt be prescribing these meds IMO), I told her about my experience and my concern about the dependency, side effects, and withdrawal issues with these type medications. She said one of the ways some people find which helps is to slowing integrate Prozac in as replacement for (Cymbalta). Cymbalta has a very fast half life and as a result when you stop taking it, your body does not have time to slowly adjust. Prozac has a much longer half life and is easier, for that reason, to withdrawal. If you only take it to help with the withdrawal there should not be an issue with then stopping the Prozac. Often times when the dr has someone stop taking one anti-depressant for another without properly tapering, folks will mistake what seem like bad side effects of the new drug with what very well may be withdrawal symptoms of the previous drug. Best advice--taper very very very slowly.
hmm. However Prozac and SSRI class drugs need carefull management and consideraton because they can cause mania in a significant proportion if Bipolars and in a much smaller but still reasonable proportion of those this mania takes the form of mixed states which can lead to very dangerous conditions.
And SSRI withdrawl can be very bad indeed - google SSRI Discontinuation Syndrome for a glimpse at that charming funtime and it is not always related to the length of use.
And you might also want to read about post-SSRI sexual dysfunction which can last years after the drug has stopped and is a known side effect of combining Cymbalta with SSRI drugs.
I agree that family doctors should not be able to prescribe this stuff but I dont agree with adding another drug to the mix as a solution. I would question in the first place why Duloxetine is still being prescribed as a treatment drug considering its horrific withdrawls and side effects. Its not intended for use as a BP treatment at all and this is an off label usage. As such and with the many side effects and the withdrawl symptoms one ponders why this is being prescribed to BP's at all, there are safer alternatives including at least one other SNRI in Wellbutrin.
How Eli Lilly gets away with this is easy.. they dont intend the drug for use on BP's so if anything goes wrong its the doctors fault and the average doctor is a sheep following whatever the drug rep gave him the best toys for.
Cymbalta sounds like a gift from Satan. Good luck getting off it. I don't have personal experience with that one and after reading about it, I am thankful for that.
Also, thank you for the general heads up about this medication. I have a friend who is bipolar with anxiety and some other dianoses including gender identity disorder (not sure what it's properly called but it's having a physical body of the wrong gender). For some reason, she takes this medication - in spite of my repeated warnings about potential risk BEFORE I heard first-hand accounts of the withdrawals. I couldn't figure out why any halfway intelligent doctor would have put her on an antidepressant, but I have tried to talk to her about it with no success. I don't even know where she gets it. I am very concerned because this person has been more erratic than usual lately and has a history of suicide attempts. Cymbalta is the only medication she takes - and hormones when she can afford them. (Long story). She sees a therapist but has not had a regular psychiatrist in a while. It's not a good situation and I am now even more worried. I will have to try to talk to her again, but will have to tread lightly because next to the word 'defensive' is a photo of my friend... Anyway, thanks to all who shared their first-hand experiences.
I have stopped SSRIs three times and Lamictal twice. The SSRIs were worse for me. The Lamictal withdrawal was just a bad, funny feeling - kinda like the feeling I get sometimes anyway. Like I've got restless legs syndrome in my whole body and am coming out of my skin. My teeth and tongue felt funny - like they were hollow. It was bizarre and uncomfortable, but not painful and or frightening. I didn't have a lot of emotional side effects that I can recall. I do know I was depressed because the meds hadn't been effective. Beyond that, I couldn't say I attributed anything to withdrawal. The SSRIs had weird, uncomfortable physical side effects, but the emotional stuff was the worst. More self-destructive thoughts, more suicidal thoughts, insomnia and a whole lot of agitation, confusion, and racing thoughts but sometimes fuzzy thinking, too. I was up and down and all around; kicked into mixed states and that was a real mess. I was still working then, but I couldn't focus on one thing to save my life. That was from Paxil, which was mostly just ineffective. Luckily, I don't recall any of the issues lasting more than maybe 10 days, certainly less than two weeks. However, in the case of Zoloft, taking the drug was much more dangerous and I had to get off it because I was out of my mind. I don't recall reporting withdrawals to a doctor... Of course, both times I went off Lamictal it was when I decided not to see the prescribing psychiatrist any more. I had never really thought about how common some of the side effects were and it never occurred me to do anything other than wait it out. It was one more series of things to be endured and that is how I've looked at a long things for the past 20+ years. Sounds like I got lucky that it wasn't something like Cymbalta which sounds even worse - like hell on earth. Is it really worth it for people to go through that? To each his own, I guess. This reinforces my inclination to simply avoid the drugs that I've read might cause issues during or after use.
The good news is that in the US the reps won't be allowed to give out those toys starting in January. There may be some exceptions, but I don't know what they are. When I was a kid, my mom worked for a doctor. I grew up with highlighters, pens and pads from the drug companies, so I was unexpectedly sad when I found out the rules had changed. Kept thinking of the things I thought were totally cool when I was a kid. It's a good thing, though.
I just had a quick look around the web using links from a site where I looked up Cymbalta. Well, Cymbalta advertises on almost every site I hit that dealt with bipolar disorder. They are using a shotgun marketing approach. It's no wonder so many folks end up taking it that shouldn't. They probably ask for it and their doctors give in. Whether that's from ignorance or apathy, I couldn't say.
Hope all that made sense. I hadn't thought about withdrawals in so long that I had forgotten all about it. Happened to think of a work incident from the time I got off Paxil and it all came back.
The reason doctors put people on AD drugs is the same reason they prescribe oxycodone despite its addiction profile and Ritalin despite its serious side effects, the same reason doctors prescribe AD drugs to babies and toddlers and the same reason why our bodies have resistance to anti biotics.
Because we let them.
We do not ask questions, we blindly follow the doctor even when we are sitting in the doctors office and we look around and see a room full of drug marketing and we still do not question why the doctor wants us to take this drug.
Estimates range that anything up to 50% of people on AD drugs flat out do not need thme - we have become a society where feeling a little blue means a drug rather than someone to listen to us and where real mental illness is lost in the sea of over diagnosis and prescribing practices fed by big pharma.
Think I am wrong? Do some reading on the rise of Ritalin - a case study in mass media driven hysteria that now has teachers dispensing drugs to classrooms full of people. I grew up ADHD and there was nothing LIKE the diagnoses in those days but once Ritalin became the poster child of parent solutions its risen and risen and risen and people claim their darling must be ADHD because it works. Ritalin works on everyone.
As consumers we let drug companies sell to us, we drop ibuprofen like lollies without realising it can and does lead to stomach ulcers and other problems, we drink cough medicine at the first sign of sniffles and pump ourselves with drugs thus producing super viruses and drug resistant bacterias which mutate. The over medication of society is all pervasive and everyone wants a drug to fix them.
In the next decade we are going to see a boom in our own little community. Yes folks the rise of Bipolar Diagnoses is on now thanks to some high profile cases and the ease with which it can be mis diagnosed by doctors - and now we are diagnosing children as young as 3 as Bipolar against all known verifiable studies and evidence (aside from evidence from those with a vested interest) and the drug companies are busy sponsoring those studies now so they can breed the next generation of dutiful consumers.
Thalidomide, Rohypnol, Vioxx, Stillnox, those are just some of the drugs that managed to slip past the FDA and other countries prescribing boards before someone discovered a big sting in the tale - in the case of Vioxx about 10'000 cases so far of linkage to deaths and estimates put it much higher.
So whats the lesson. Before you fill a new script research the drug. Buy a copy of the current drug reference guide for your country - its a good investment. Read the web, ask the pharmacist, look at the side effects and most importantly ask if you need this drug - do not just take it because the doctor says so ASK WHY. We often see people here on the most confusing and amazing drug cocktails that stagger the mind.
Do not be seduced by drug company websites and advertising - ask before you take something what it may do to you - you may be stuck with it for the rest if your life, and we'd kind of like to see people around for a long time to come.
Thank you so much for your information, I am happy to say that I saw my pdoc, who did put me on Prozac to wean me off of the Cymbalta, and it is working like a charm!! It is amazing!! I am no longer having any side effects, it literally went from horrible to non existant!! Thank you so much!
My 22 year old son was on 60mg a day for three months, his P-Doc told him to take 30 a day for 7 days and then stop. He was so miserable he was drinking, tore up his appartment went for a drive and died in a roll over crash. I only figured out what happened after the fact, lost my son forever. I devastated all I can do is make sure it doesn't happen again. Be careful the stuff is poison. No one should go on this stuff that is so dangerous to get off of.
Take your tapering very slowly and make sure you are with people who can help you if you go haywire!
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