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HOW TO WEAN OFF CYMBALTA SUCCESSFULLY


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#1 4ALLIE

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Posted 16 April 2008 - 08:07 PM

Please read the forum "IT WORKED" under this topic. I am writing this to help anyone weaning off Cymbalta the drug from hell. Or I should add the withdrawl from hell, which is probably the reason why you are reading this now. I am not going into all the side effects, which we all know from experiencing and reading everyone else's posts but I am going to offer some helpful tips of withdrawl. "It Worked" topic is correct about weaning off of Cymbalta. The amount you are on now have your pharmacist put half in empty capsules for you for one week. Then put 1/4 in empty capsules for another week and the last week 1/8. Take one 20 mg Prozac daily with each cymbalta through the third week...then STOP everything !!!! I am pasting and cutting an article I just read below, then I found the posting from "It Worked". Furthermore, my doctor agreed this will work. He actually said you can do it quicker nd only take the cymbalta for four days and then stop....according to the article below you need only take the Prozac for two days. Anyhow, I am trying this tonorrow and will ket you all know the results. As of now I have already taken 20 mg and have split them in half for the past few days. I am also cutting and pasting another post of someone else who did this successfully. Good Luck to all !!

Top 6 Tips to Reduce Antidepressant Discontinuation Symptoms
By Nancy Schimelpfening, About.com
Created: June 21, 2007

About.com Health's Disease and Condition content is reviewed by Steven Gans, MD

See More About:drug side-effectsantidepressant discontinuation symptoms
The following are some possible methods to alleviate uncomfortable discontinuation symptoms that are often experienced when an antidepressant is stopped. These are not meant to constitute medical advice, but are rather ideas from practicing psychopharmacologists that you can discuss with your own physician. You should never discontinue a medication without your doctor's consent and guidance.

1. A Single Dose of Prozac (Fluoxetine)
According to Dr. Ivan Goldberg: "The administration of a single 20 mg capsule of fluoxetine usually does the job. The withdrawal symptoms are relieved within hours and the patient goes through a slow fluoxetine withdrawal that is usually symptomless. If the individual had been on a high dose of paroxetine or venlafaxine, a second 20 mg of of fluoxetine may be needed."
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2. Benedryl (Diphenhydramine)
Benedryl (diphenhydramine) is an over the counter allergy medication that has been reported to help with discontinuation symptoms.3. Taper Off Slowly
Gradually decreasing your dosage over an extended period of time is preferable to quitting "cold turkey".4. Switch to an SSRI or Effexor (If Already Using an SSRI)
From Dr. Ivan Goldberg: "There is no risk of such withdrawal symptoms when going between SSRIs or between an SSRI and venlafaxine. You can go from fluoxetine to just about anything, but an MAOI, and not worry because of that drugs long t-1/2."5. Use Prozac as Your Antidepressant
Because Prozac has a very long half-life, extreme withdrawal symptoms are unlikely with it. There is a built in "tapering off" by virtue of the fact that it leaves your body so slowly.6. Keep a Regular Schedule with Dosing
Certain antidepressants, such as Effexor, may cause withdrawal symptoms even if you are slightly late with a scheduled dose. Keeping a regular schedule can help you avoid these symptoms.
Suggested Reading
Dr. Bob's Psychopharmacology Tips
ANOTHER POSTING;
Let's see. I checked my last post. It was Feb. 28 and Day 6 into my cymbalta withdrawal. I was going through some kind of hell, with electrical shocks in my head being my worse, most unbearable, symptom. Thank you for this forum for letting me know my symptoms were typical. What I didn't like was reading how long they could last. After reading a recommendation from a pharmacologist on another site, I called my Doctor and told her I needed to take 20 mg. of prozac to help me through. Upon my second day of prozac(day 8 post cymbalta stoppage), I felt fine. I came off prozac a few years back, uneventfully. I anticipate no problems. Just want to put some time and distance from when I stopped cymbalta before I come off the prozac. It's been 18 days since I stopped taking cymbalta, and I feel quite normal.
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#2 Sarah J

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Posted 17 April 2008 - 08:22 AM

Good Luck 4Allie - let us know how everything goes.
You are so lucky to have an educated doctor in this to help you.

Your post that you pasted was not the only person who used this method with success, there have been several and they are kind of smattered throughout the site, but lots of people did withdrawal this way - with good results!

Looking forward to hearing about your success with this!
All the best!

#3 tired08

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Posted 17 April 2008 - 01:40 PM

Blessings to you and let us know if it works. We need to hear from the ones who've had a successful wean.

#4 1sickpuppy

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Posted 18 April 2008 - 12:23 AM

Now that I am weening off very slowly, I can hardly feel any symptoms anymore apart form a massive headache but I think that's coincidental as I get these anyway.

#5 4ALLIE

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Posted 18 April 2008 - 07:45 PM

so far TWO DAYS OFF OF CYMBALTA WITH NO SIDE EFFECTS !!! :) CAN THE 20 MG OF PROZAC REALLY MAKE THE WITHDRAWL SYMPTOMLESS AS THE GOOD DOCTOR CLAIMS ??? I THINK HE MIGHT BE RIGHT BY GEORGE.....I HOPE EVRYONE READS THIS WHO DOESN'T WANT TO GO THRU A PERSONAL HELL OF WITHDRAWL .... I also am getting shits of B12 once per month, lots of omega 3, cla, multi-vitamins....but it is really the prozac that is stopping the withdrawl symptoms !!! I have only taken it for two days and will try just one more day of prozac and stop completely as the article says.... :roll:

#6 Sarah J

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Posted 20 April 2008 - 08:58 AM

4Allie

If this works for you, please keep letting everybody know - people first coming of off Cymbalta are looking for answers and this looks pretty promising!

#7 4ALLIE

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Posted 20 April 2008 - 11:48 PM

Thus far I am on day 4 Cymbalta free and also stopped taking the 20 mg of Prozac yesterday. I felt one slight "head rush" today BUT other than that, PERFECT. NO HEADACHES, NO ANYTHING !!! My fiance is a doctor and said this is working...the 20 mg of Prozac is off setting the withdrawl symptoms of Cymbalta. Plus, one only needs to take the Prozac for 3-4 days and then can stp it which I did. I have also lost three pounds already. My craving for carbs has stopped and I know the drug from hell is on its way out of my body forever. My fiance said most docs don;t know because the drug reps come into their offices and push how great this stuff is and gives the docs tons of free smples to hand out. Remember all doctors are not created equal...!!! Vey few know about the details of anti-depressants. My fiance has been consukting with the psychiatrist at his hospital who was the one suggesting to go on Prozac 20 mg for 3-4 days along with half the dose of Cymbalta and that would ellieviate most of the Cymbalta withdrawl side effects. SO YES SARAH, IT DOES WORK !!!! :P

#8 4ALLIE

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Posted 20 April 2008 - 11:59 PM

pardon my spelling mistakes on above forum I did not proof read

#9 1sickpuppy

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 01:43 AM

I had no problems going down from 22.5mg to 15! have beenon 15mg for about a week now and I don't feel too bad. Going down to 10mg tomorrow.

#10 taylor12

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 11:57 PM

I am day 4 without Cymbalta and can't stand it. I am nauseated and feel very dizzy and head rushy. I was put on Cymbalta for fibromyalgia 2 1/2 months ago. Before that I was on Celexa. I am reading how some people are having success with the Prozac and Cymbalta together. Has anyone used Celexa in place of the prozac to healp wean off? I can't function!!!

#11 Sarah J

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Posted 26 April 2008 - 10:20 AM

Taylor12 - they gave me Celexa, which I came off of already. I think it was Feb 28 I was put on Celexa, weaned off and my last day was April 7. Now I am on no antidepressants. I was on Cymbalta for situational depression.

Other than what people post on this board, I don't know very much about fibro conditions, except for I pray that all of you with fibro find gentle solutions to what has to be a trying problem. Talk to you doctor about anything you are doing.

Please let us know how you are doing and what you decided to do! Hope you are already a little better.

The best way to get off of antidepressants should be without resorting to another drug. Any substance you ingest that alters your brain chemistry that you stop taking, you should expect to be a little bit uncomfortable and have it take some time. But, if you don't see progress coming off of Cymbalta get some help from your doc.

I weaned off the Celexa with very minimal withdrawal effects. 2000% easier than coming off of Cymbalta for me. You can and will get through this! It does not go on forever.

My best to you and everyone out there.

#12 4allie2

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Posted 26 April 2008 - 09:09 PM

As far as I know Celexa is the same as Prozac. It is just more expensive. My sister weaned off Cymbalta with Lexapro successfully and actually had less side effects than I did. Therefore, I don't see why you couldn't use Celexa. We both used it in conjunction with Cymbalta for four days after splitting the cymbalta in half (we just opened the capsule and poured half out by eyeballing it. Our dr said to do this). After four days we just stopped the cymbalta & prozac altogether. My side effects were relatively mild and lasted for only a few days. Today is ten days cymbalta and prozac free. I have lost four pounds and feel sooooo much better. Check with your doctor first. BUT you shouldn't have to go thru this !!! I wish more people understood that you cannot wean off every other day. It is starting the withdrawl process all over again .Thank goodness I have a doctor who told me to take Prozac for three or four days to help the withdrawl. It really works.
Good Luck and keep on these posts. You will be fine. I know the dizziness, nausea, sweats is awful but it will pass.

#13 schmb01

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Posted 26 April 2008 - 10:24 PM

Lexapro is Escitalopram Oxalate, Celexa is Citalopram Hydrobromide, and Prozac is Fluoxetine hydrochloride, so they are not all quite the same. It is my understanding that Lexapro and Celexa are more similar in nature.

#14 Sarah J

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 06:54 AM

Celexa (generic) is on the $4/ list for a month supply at Sams/Wal Mart and Target. Lexapro is a newer version of Celexa that was made when the Celexa patent wore off, so that the drug company can charge more for Lexapro.

Celexa I know has a half life of about 36 hours and with Prozac it is around 7 days.

4Allie - thanks so much for posting your experience.
Where were you around January 13 when I started??

#15 4allie2

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 01:43 AM

No, I wasn't. You are correct about Celexa and Lexapro. My sister weaned off of Cymbalta using Lexapro and actually stopped the Cymbalta in three days after starting 10 MG.of Lexapro and hardly had any withdrawl from the Cymbalta.
Sarah you are such an inspiration to us all and stay on top of this forum when you don't have too. I think when most people are feeling better they do not come back to it as you did to help others. Thank-you for helping all of us !!!

#16 Sarah J

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 12:28 PM

I think when most people are feeling better they do not come back to it as you did to help others. Thank-you for helping all of us !!!

4allie - I repeat that statement to the other people here who stay and post as well, scmb01, tired08 and everybody who comes back and helps counts. You only get what you give.

Just like your success story, there are now many to be found. I could not find one place where somebody said they made it through this when I started. Now there are many!!!

It's just too bad that my first three weeks of withdrawal, my brains were so scrambled that I could not even spell the word withdrawal, maybe I would have found this site sooner! (now I can laugh about this ;) :) )

Glad you are feeling better - because it does get better!

#17 schmb01

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Posted 28 April 2008 - 07:01 PM

I agree, we all need to keep coming here to let others know that there is hope. I still shudder when I think of the darkest times during the worst of the withdrawal, and I can say, I feel like I've made it! I feel like a human, with normal responses and reactions to life. It amazes me, because I really thought it would never end.

#18 4allie2

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Posted 29 April 2008 - 03:03 PM

Thanks Sarah for your loyalty answering everyone on this site and in each different column !! I would love to be able to get the word out that one can successfully wean off of Cymbalta and have very lttle side effects by using Prozac 20 mgs. Also, I have already lost six pounds so yes...you can lose weight afterwards with the old fashioned way of diet and exercise !!!! :P

#19 justintime

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 04:39 PM

I am doing this version of withdrawal right now. Am on Day 22 off Cymbalta and Day 20 off Prozac. Also taking the recommended vitamins, etc, (when I remember so about 50% of the time honestly b/c of the drug induced memory loss). But my diet & exercise regime have gone down the drain since I started weaning - just too nauseous at first, now too tired.

This Prozac protocol (for lack of a better term) has worked well for me. Have had all the usual withdrawal effects but much less severe than without Prozac (like most of us, I have experienced withdrawal before unwittingly when late taking a dose or missing a dose of Cymbalta). I am still able to function "fairly" well.

Week 1 was the hardest with the most brain shocks and physical symptoms. Week 2 felt SO much better. Now Week 3, am emotionally overwhelmed, suicidal thoughts pop in my head a few times a day (let me be clear, I am not suicidal, my brain spits this junk out) and am completely exhausted.

Overall, I would recommend the Prozac route. Only a few more weeks and it'll be out of my system and I'll be DRUG FREE!! Yipee!

Does Ambien count? ;)

BTW: I'm 37 YO, developed a case of mild PPD (undiagnosed for 8 months) after second child five years ago. Only symptoms at the onset: insomnia, irritability, disturbing OCD thoughts (the usual PDD type)
My psyche drug History

7 days Lexapro (put me in the hospital), switched to ~
6 months Celexa & Trazadone, too many side effects so switched to ~
4 months Wellbrutrin, lost my memory, switched to ~
1 year Effexor & Lamictal b/c became Manic and diagnosed with Bipolar 2 . B/c of daily withdrawal & general stupidity, switched to ~
2 years Cymbalta (first 40 mg once a day, then 20 mg twice a day b/c withdrawal)

Can I just say that I never took drugs until I met a psychiatrist (and I like mine). I HATE drug companies. Off Topic - I have two neighbors that are stay-at-home-moms-turned-Drug-reps (for other drugs) and I consider them drug dealers. It's the new socially acceptable drug ring complete with the company mini-van. Sorry to vent.....

Thanks for listening! My strongest support for you with your drug withdrawal ~
~ Katie

#20 1sickpuppy

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 02:20 AM

I have gone down from 10mg to 7, now down to 3mg. I didn't feel the last 2 changes so I am hoping I won't feel it when I go down to nothing in 3 days. The headaches went about a week ago too!

#21 Sarah J

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 09:35 AM

I have gone down from 10mg to 7, now down to 3mg. I didn't feel the last 2 changes so I am hoping I won't feel it when I go down to nothing in 3 days. The headaches went about a week ago too!

So glad to hear that you are improving!

#22 Ivan

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 04:30 PM

I tried cold turkey several times during the 2 years that I was taking Cymbalta (from 60mg/day). The longest I ever lasted was 1 week. I was finally able to quit by switching to 30mg twice/day for a month, switched to 30 mg/day for a couple of months, then to 30 mg every other day for a month or so and then to 20 mg every other day for a couple of months. I was able to C/T from there.

Immediately, my memory improved, my mood stabilized, I felt happier although I was a little light-headed. But no ZAPS. That lasted for about a week, then I started feeling more irritable and had a few zaps, but they weren't unbearable. Things improved with time.

I've been clean for about 3 months now. I have a lot of family issues to deal with. My mother has Alzheimer's and is in a nursing home, so I have to manage her affairs. However, I can deal those things now that were such a burden 6 months ago.

Cymbalta was good for a couple of months but became rotten quickly. I only stayed with it because I couldn't get off of it and I was afraid of what would happen if I did. BTW, the Elavil that I was taking before Cymbalta was even worse.

#23 DixieDaisy

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Posted 27 June 2008 - 12:41 AM

HI,

I have been on Cymbalta for almost five and a half years and at the time I was put on it, it was a God send for me. I had run through a number of ADs without relief, my mother had just died and my three sons were being sent to Iraq (this was at the beginning of the war). It was the only thing that had helped me.

For several months now I have been hearing horror stories about getting off the drug so that is why I am here. I'm afraid the longer I am on Cymbalta, the worse it will be to get off. I am also nervous because of the electrical zaps people talk about getting. I have epilepsy. I haven't had a seizure in three yrs but I don't know what withdrawal would do to me if I had the electrical zaps.

I want to see if I can survive depression without any kind of AD at all. I have learned some coping skills and would like to live with less chemicals in my body. I feel that I have to take my antiseizure med but maybe the AD can go. Frankly, I'm scared!

Daisy

#24 schmb01

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Posted 27 June 2008 - 12:02 PM

Daisy, please take some time to read through the posts as to what has worked for others, and take the information with you to your doctor.

There are also some posts about brain zaps here, that explain exactly what they are triggered from, so that would be helpful to you regarding your concerns about triggering another seizure. You are smart to be cautious. Many of us weaned or went cold turkey, BUT there are a couple of methods using Prozac or Celexa that seemed to work very well for people, and they minimized the withdrawals significantly. Had I known about them at the beginning, I would have tried the Prozac.

Hopefully you have a good doctor that will work with you. Also, read up on some of the nutritional aspects of dealing with withdrawal/depression, as they may come in handy for you too.

Good luck, and feel free to come back as you begin your journey off of this!

Babby

#25 DixieDaisy

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Posted 27 June 2008 - 10:38 PM

Thanks Babby,

Prozac is one of the meds I didn't do well on not only because it didn't work but because of the bad side effects. I had the least side effects with Cymbalta. *sigh* I shook so bad with Prozac I had to sit on my hands at times but my body still shook. That with the headaches, nausea, etc. doesn't make it a good idea for me. All the meds in that family did the same thing.

I have a good pdoc but I don't anticipate that she is going to be happy about me going off ADs. I have had Chronic Major Depression for years and had a very bad 2006/2007. But I'm better now than I have been in a very long time.

I want to wait until my youngest son gets home from Iraq later this summer before coming off the med. The other two are back home now. This is the second time since the war began that all three have been there at the same time. This is my youngest son's third tour, my middle son just finished a second tour in Iraq plus he has also been to Afghanistan and my oldest son has been to Iraq twice. I don't need that stress while weaning off ADs.

I tried Barnes and Noble again for the book, Could It BE B12? and they DO have it. I guess I entered it in the search engine wrong! BAM has it also. My bad! lol I'm going to order it.

Daisy

#26 schmb01

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 08:12 AM

I can't even begin to imagine the stress of having 1, let alone 3 sons in Iraq! That would be enough to push you over the edge.

Too bad Prozac didn't work. I know for this process it is as little as 10 mg, but still if you had issues with it, you would want to be cautious. Wouldn't it be awesome if you found that your depressive disorder was due in fact to the b12 deficiency? I mean, you would still have to contend with some level of withdrawal, but still, to think that once you were through it, that you may not need to be on meds due to b12 treatments would be such a blessing!

Having your sons all home will be the biggest boost yet, I think your heart will feel together again, and you will feel like you can face almost anything.

Good luck, and remember we are here for you!

Babby

#27 DixieDaisy

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 04:32 PM

Oh, how I would love it if it was the B12 causing the problem but alas, the depression has been with me too long for that to be true. I do have a low thyroid but I have been on a med for that for several years. I think some childhood issues started it and I have worked through those by way of therapy and some skills learned through online msg forum friends. Thank God for them! And Thank God for the Internet! What would we do without it now!?

I do wonder now, if I have had a low but not critical, B12 level for a while. It would explain some things to me. It was that way with my thyroid. It was low but not critical but my pcp dr didn't do anything but ask me if I 'wanted to be put on meds' (DID I wanted to be taking more medication? Of course not!) and my pdoc told me to tell my pcp to put me on thyroid meds. It was low enough to effect my depression.

It has been a rough five and a half years. I am thankful my sons have been in harms way so much without being harmed! Many, many prayers have gone up for their protection! It was brought home forcefully last summer that you don't have to be 'in harm's way' to be in danger though. My 39 yr old nephew was killed while cutting grass under a high voltage power line that was stressed due too high temps. (We had record heat last summer) It snapped and hit him. He was killed instantly. We were in shock, not only because of the sudden death but because we were all so concerned about my sons and thought my brother's sons were safe. You can't take anything in life for granted. You have to walk with God everyday.

Thank you for your responses, Babby. I appreciate them very much!

Daisy

#28 schmb01

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Posted 29 June 2008 - 05:17 PM

What a horrible and shocking loss for your family! You are right, we just don't know from day to day what can happen and to whom. Coming off of Cymbalta, and out of the "dead fog", has made me realize how important it is to appreciate TODAY and those around us, because I felt nothing for so long. I'm just so sorry for your family.

It could be that you are right about the b12 levels. From what I understand in reading the book, you can have issues with it being low, but not necessarily at a critical level. It is typically when it is at the critical level that the really nasty stuff starts to happen. I posted this, but the snippet on the bottom of my last blood test stated that people with levels between 200-400 can begin to experience neuro psychiatric symptoms. That level isn't low enough to warrant shots, at least according to my doctor. So, perhaps your levels were within that range and were affecting your moods, on top of other issues that triggered the depression. Kind of a double whammy so to speak.

I'll be interested to know what you think after you have the book. It is an easy read, and it really is interesting. I'm currently annoying the heck of my family about making sure their levels are good. :oops:

Take Care!

Babby

#29 Lori

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 09:33 AM

DixieDaisy,
I am so sorry for you and your family's loss. I am sure with everyone being on pins and needles as your three sons fight for our freedom, it was shocking and devastating for such a tragic accident to happen to your nephew. Keep posting and reading here. We will get you through what you are dealing with. I took a natural supplement to help me with the withdrawals from Cymbalta and it helped alot, as a matter of fact, I have not taken the supplement since Saturday. I took it for 7 weeks, I think. You can read some of my past posts and those of others who were in the early stages of withdrawal from Cymbalta but as you follow those posts you will see what routes each of us took and how we overcame the grip Cymbalta had on us. There is much power in prayer, as you have stated. I posted under "Lets Talk About Something Else"...."Power in Prayer" so while you are ordering the book Babby has told us about, you may want to invest in the Power of The Praying Parent. ;) It actually teaches us how to let go of the worry and fear we have as parents, and with your sons line of work, this may be something that would help you. The author, Stomie Omartian was a terrified parent herself and had to release her children into Gods hands and pray for them. This allowed her to be able to enjoy her life without the constant fear and worry that plagued her.

One step at a time, DixieDaisy.....one small step at a time. Please continue to post here and let us know how you are doing.

Lori

#30 winterose

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 06:13 PM

This forum has been a sanity-saver! I am writing to thank all of you for your invaluable guidance, support, and compassion. I started down that slippery slope of Cymbalta withdrawal, and around day four was having those awful symptoms you've all described. It was through searching for validation of the symptoms, that I found this site. Quite the eye-opener! I won't reiterate what has already been described, but just to add a few items from my personal experience: prior to going off the Cymbalta, I'd left a voice mail for my psychiatrist regarding my desire to do so and asked for feedback. Never got it; still haven't heard from her. Also, I posted a question to www.allexperts.com, the answer to which I've included here in the event it, or the site, might prove useful to someone else.

Subject Wellbutrin, Lexapro & Cymbalta
Question Hello,There are two parts to my inquiry: 1)I am d/c'ing Cymbalta and have learned through various sites, including this one, that I can replace the Cymbalta with Lexapro. Is that a direct replacement -- meaning, can I simply not take the Cymbalta at the usual time and take the Lexapro instead? And 2) my psychiatrist originally Rx'd Wellbutrin & Cymbalta together; is it ok in this scenario for me to take Wellbutrin & Lexapro together instead? Thank you so much for your assistance!
Answer Hi
The short answer is yes to both questions.
Lexapro and Cymblata have similar mode of actions. Cymbalta is a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor and Lexapro is a potent serotonin reuptake inhibitor. You can stop one and start the other with no washout period and you should not have any withdrawal symptoms. Wellbtrin has a different moder of actio and I have seen the combnination used safely.
Thank you for using Allexperts
Sincerely,
Eric Brandt, B.Sc. Pharm

And finally, since we all have had such horrible experiences with this issue, I thought a few people might appreciate this humorous note: before I realized what the withdrawal was all about, I was at the track one morning for my usual workout. I couldn't understand why the horizion wouldn't stay still! Made for a very interesting running experience -- kind of like the old bouncing ball to follow along with the television jingle -- for those of you old enough to remember.

Wishing everyone in search of solutions to this mad journey all the very best. Thank you for all that you've done for me.



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