HOW TO WEAN OFF CYMBALTA SUCCESSFULLY
Posted 16 April 2008 - 08:07 PM
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.
Dr. Bob's Psychopharmacology Tips
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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Posted 17 April 2008 - 08:22 AM
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!
Posted 18 April 2008 - 07:45 PM
Posted 20 April 2008 - 11:48 PM
Posted 25 April 2008 - 11:57 PM
Posted 26 April 2008 - 10:20 AM
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.
Posted 26 April 2008 - 09:09 PM
Good Luck and keep on these posts. You will be fine. I know the dizziness, nausea, sweats is awful but it will pass.
Posted 27 April 2008 - 06:54 AM
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??
Posted 28 April 2008 - 01:43 AM
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 !!!
Posted 28 April 2008 - 12:28 PM
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.
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 !!!
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!
Posted 28 April 2008 - 07:01 PM
Posted 29 April 2008 - 03:03 PM
Posted 01 May 2008 - 04:39 PM
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 ~
Posted 25 June 2008 - 04:30 PM
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.
Posted 27 June 2008 - 12:41 AM
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!
Posted 27 June 2008 - 12:02 PM
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!
Posted 27 June 2008 - 10:38 PM
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.
Posted 28 June 2008 - 08:12 AM
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!
Posted 28 June 2008 - 04:32 PM
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!
Posted 29 June 2008 - 05:17 PM
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:
Posted 01 July 2008 - 09:33 AM
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.
Posted 01 July 2008 - 06:13 PM
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!
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
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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