It has been ten days since I took my last bead of Cymbalta and I think I can officially say that after years of suffering, effort, and dedication I'm officially done with tapering. If I'm having any residual side effects they are minor enough to be indistinguishable from my normal, crappy state of affairs.
I took Cymbalta for a little over six years. At the peak I was taking 60mg for Fibromyalgia. Unfortunately I could never tell if it really was helping with chronic pain or any other symptom. But I also didn't have any bad side effects from just taking the medication. From pressure from doctors and with the thought that it wouldn't hurt anything I kept taking it. If I had only known what issues I would have with Cymbalta withdrawal I would have tapered off the medication in the first few months. It was past six months but within the first year when I realized that missing just one pill would put me in a state more painful and horrible than even my worst days before taking it. After several instances of running out of pills I became terrified of ever running out.
It never seemed like a good time to try to taper off of Cymbalta but I finally started in February of 2020. In four months I had tapered down to 30mg but it was tough going. I was able to get prescribed 30 mg pills so I took a tapering break for 8 months. I started tapering again in February of 2021. The last 30 mg were much harder than the first 30 mg. It took a year and a couple of weeks to taper off of the last 30mg. Anytime I was having serious side effects I would take a tapering break for a bit until I felt better and start the slow taper again. I kept track of my dose in a google spreadsheet that I'll share below. The first tab is the first 30mg tapering and the second is for the last 30 mg.
It has been two years of slow tapering and taking breaks to finally be done! I'm so relieved I'm not even sure I can properly express it.
I greatly appreciate the support and information I've gotten here over the years. You all helped me going in the worst times even if I didn't interact with most of you. Beyond the very helpful direct help and encouragement, just knowing there were other people that recognize the difficulty of withdrawing from Cymbalta and were in the same boat made me feel less alone. I've had medical professionals dismiss my own experiences and try to force me into a quick taper from Cymbalta. Other people sharing their experiences with tapering bolstered my confidence to taper slowly and safely. While I had to deal with awful side effects during moments of my Cymbalta tapering, I never had to deal with the horrific and truly devastating issues from going cold turkey or tapering too fast. From my experiences from missing one pill or flares during tapering, I know if I hadn't tapered as slowly as I did I would have dealt with debilitating and potentially lasting health issues. I'm so grateful to those that gave me the information, support, and camaraderie to complete this taper the right, safe way.
For those that are still tapering my best advice is to just keep going and not give up. Be kind with yourself and your body. Listen to your body closely. If you are having a tough time stabilize your dose for as long as your body needs. I know it can be so tough in the middle of it especially if you have been tapering for a long time, but it is so worth it in the end. Hang in there, everyone. You can do this!