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15 Yrs On Cymbalta .. Would Like To Get Off

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#1 Pandora



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Posted 21 December 2023 - 09:15 PM

Let me start by saying thank you so very much to the creators and admins of this site. I just found you yesterday and I believe you are true hero’s and earth angels … the way you dedicate your time and expertise in helping those who need guidance in their time of need, well, you are just a blessing. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for being here for all who need you. ❤️ 

Let me try to summarize what brought me here:

I went to my (now retired) doctor in 2009 for some minor aches and pains and some minor ‘situational’ sadness. He suggested that the aches and pains might be fibromyalgia and the melancholy was depression. Looking back, he was totally off base - *misdiagnosed*. Anyway, he gave me a month sample pack of Cymbalta 30mg and a Rx, and I just kept taking it for the last 15 years. 

It wasn’t until last week that I started thinking about getting off of this medication and started reading all of the horror stories that people are going through. I had been totally oblivious to the horrendous side effects until reading a few other forums on Reddit and that led me here. I was up until 7am this morning reading the posts between you (fishinghat, Invalidusername, and Gail, whom I understand has passed and I am very sorry for your loss), and London LDN. 😞 

When you have some spare time would you mind answering a few questions please. Christmas is around the corner and I know it is a busy time for everyone so there is no urgency here. 

- I am a 65-yr-old female; married for 40 years to my soulmate
- I have only ever been on 2 medications: Cymbalta (15 yr) and blood pressure pills (4 yrs)

- I suffer from ‘situational sadness’ … meaning if someone hurts my feelings I crawl into bed and sleep for days,

- I have never been manic, suicidal, bipolar, etc.

* For the last 3 months I have become so lethargic that I just don’t want to get out of bed. I am not sad or depressed, just extremely tired and unmotivated and I can spend 12 hours straight looking through Pinterest and watching series on Netflix.

If you need to know anything else, just ask. 😊 

Here are my questions:

  1. Does absolutely ‘everyone’ that has been on Cymbalta long-term go through these horrendous withdrawal symptoms?
    I can handle the brain zaps, vomiting, diarrhea, etc. (all of the physical symptoms), BUT I have never had a panic attack in my life and I’m scared to experience panic, mania, hallucinations, and suicidal ideations, seizures, etc.
  2. We have a clinic in my city that offers Ketamine and Psilocybin therapies, including mandatory sessions with a staff psychologist and a psychiatrist. I have read that Psilocybin in less effective if the patient is on any type of SSRI or SNRI. I am wondering if you have experience/knowledge about the subject of Ketamine being helpful with Cymbalta Discontinuation Syndrome.
  3. I’m stumped about what to try first in getting off of Cymbalta:
    - try cold turkey and if it is horrible go back on it (like I mentioned, I have no problem staying in bed and sleeping through the weeks/months of withdrawal symptoms.
    try bead counting … opening capsules and remove 1 bead the 1st day, 2 beads the 2nd day, 3 beads the 3rd day, etc., etc., which would take over a year to get to 0 beads.
    - OR what have you found in your research to be the least painful way to discontinue?

For the record, I’m sure you will suggest talking to my doctor, but I don’t like or trust my doctor. If I have to see her I usually come armed with my own research so I’m not at the mercy of someone else’s bad opinions. What kind of doctor keeps filling a dangerous prescription for over 10 years without even discussing it once or warning of the side effects, etc.

Those are my 3 most curious questions above.  And I DID download your FANTASTIC, almost 700 page ebook: Summary of Cymbalta Withdrawal Symptoms by Fishinghat and Invalidusername.  WOW!  Thank you!  I downloaded it at 7am this morning so I haven’t had time to go through it yet, but my initial scan through it tells me it’s AMAZING. Thank you again.

I look forward to hearing back from you whenever it is convenient.

Best Wishes to you and yours and may everyone who reads this have a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.
Season’s Greetings one and all.


#2 fishinghat


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Posted 22 December 2023 - 08:55 AM

Welcome Pandora. Love the name as Cymbalta withdrawal is indeed a Pandora's Box.


1. No not everyone. Research indicates that around 20 to 40% experience serious withdrawal. My sister-in-law (passed from Covid during the height of the epidemic) cold-turkeyed off 90 mg Cymbalta twice and never had a symptom. While you have been on it a long time you are on a minimal dose and that will help.


2. These compounds can be very effective but I have little experience with them so will leave any comments to IUN. He has a wealth of knowledge about these.


3. My suggestion would be to bead count and drop from 30 mg to say 28 mg first and see how you do. It takes 3 to 5 days for the withdrawal to typically hit so give yourself some time on that dose and see how you feel. You will then have a better perspective on how to proceed.


Thank you so much for the kind words. never worry about leaning on us for help or just to vent. We are always here, Christmas or not, lol. You might also look at our free ebook which contains information on medical research, member experiences, diet, meds , supplements and so much more.  It can be found at....




#3 Pandora



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Posted 22 December 2023 - 06:09 PM

Hi Fishinghat! Thank you so much for getting back to me so quickly.

I am so sorry for your loss of your sister-in-law. 😞 🙏  

Darn …, I managed to leave out the fact that although I started at 30mg it was upped to 60mg for the last 5-ish years. 

Yes, I will definitely spend time reading through your extensive ebook. 


So I’m not sure now if I should try to quit cold turkey and pray that I am one of the lucky 60-80% who don’t suffer from serious withdrawal. If so, I could go back on it and start bead counting. hmmmm … not sure, but there’s no rush and I’ll just wait until mid-Jan to decide so as to not ruin our Christmas holidays.

I will also wait to hear from IUN as his comments might play a big part in what I eventually end up doing.

Thanks again and take good care of yourself.


Pandora (locked in Lilly’s box - for now).

This description of Pandora’s Box is so fitting in relation to people trying to get off of Cymbalta

#4 Pandora



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Posted 23 December 2023 - 06:56 PM

I also accidentally/coincidentally found this youtube video discussing the subjects of my original questions in my 1st post. I thought I’d add it here for anyone else that has the same questions that I did. This description is a snippet taken from their video description:

In this episode, the hosts discuss both the scientific studies and anecdotal evidence they’ve seen firsthand when it comes to combining antidepressants and psilocybin. They also highlight some of the profound shifts they’ve seen in their clients as well as how microdosing can help alleviate the withdrawal symptoms associated with tapering.


#5 invalidusername


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Posted 26 December 2023 - 04:07 PM

Hi Pandora - lol about being locked in Pandora's box!!!!
I didn't see your post under earlier today, and what with all the Christmas stuff going on I have only just caught up. So please accept my apologies and my gratitude for your wind words about our forum. 
I can already see that Hat has started things off - I will be happy to help under my expertise as best I can.
1. I wouldn't say EVERYONE goes through this, but the majority - especially after 15 years - will have a bit of a rough ride, but not all are "extreme". There are some (very) lucky ones - and a lot depends on how quickly you withdraw. If you have seizures, you really need to go back onto your last stable dose where possible - we can help with that. But all the other symptoms you have mentioned we have seen many times on the forum.
2. I can help you with both Ketamine and Psilocybin. As Hat has kindly passed this over to me I will be happy to talk the options over with you. I will post this in a message directly after this one so you can separate the two.
3. I 100% agree with what Hat has said regarding the withdrawal in so much that you should start dropping low and seeing how you go from there. After you have dropped, please let us know how you get on and we could suggest a plan for moving forward. If you have been on 60mg for the last 5 years, I would say a maximum withdrawal of 30% to 40mg. Count out 2/3 of your beads - give it 5 days and let us know how you feel. If it concerns you, you can go for less, but generally this first drop isn't too bad. What happens after that remains to be seen, but we can help you with that. We wll look after you :)
It is difficult to say which doctors to talk to and which not to. A fair few do not know what they are doing simply because they do not have the time to read up about these things and rely on the instructions of the phara reps, which is where the problems can occur. 
For example, after 12 years on Celexa, I told my doctor I wanted off, and he said "half the dose for two week" and then stop. Never an option! This coming from the doctor who kept me on Celexa as "like a diabetic that needs insulin, someone prone to depression, need to keep taking anti-depressants". THAT is the pharma talking, and is total BS. 
I took Celexa after a near fatal car accident at 80mph on the freeway. Was diagnosed with PTSD and yes, the Celexa did help, but after 18 months, I was fine, and I should have stopped. Fortunately, after medical training, I know the truth, and wich to spread this on to other such as yourself.
Much love and blessings to you Pandora...
p.s. Thank you for your kind words regarding Gail. She was/is an Angel. Taught so many of us what suffering is about. I am so glad that her writings continue to help others following her passing, as I knew they would. Heed her words - she was an amazing example of kindness in this word of suffering and how much we, as humans, can go through...

#6 invalidusername


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Posted 26 December 2023 - 04:25 PM

Ok - so now to address the "alternative side of recovery".
Note that this will serve as a means to "reset" the parts of the brain that have been changed from their normal homeostasis to that of the meds.
Ketamine is NOT a one size fits all, and I would consider this as a second option having first tried the Psilocybin.
So addressing the Psilocybin first. Essentially these are mushrooms, or magic mushrooms, or 'shrooms - call them what you will, but the work of David Nut has take the use of this substance into new realms. I know there are a lot of talks about this on the internet, but I have starte from the original source, of whom is David Nutt.
David used to work for the British government as a cheif medical advisor. As soon as he conducted research to show that Psilocybin worked far better than SSRI's, he was asked to withdraw his work or be kicked out of his job. Truth!!!
He quit his job and went back to University of London to continue his work. It has since bevome more mainstream - there have been documentaries on TV, radio broadcasts etc. After reading everything that I can regarding the medication, Psilocybin is a VERY good place to go.
You MUST have withdrawn from any medication that alters serotonin and then wait a minumum of 30 days before undergoing any treatment, otherwise, it simply will not have its full effect. 
This is a tough period to wait out, but you need to follow this - ignore any other instruction - this is what must be done. I am doing the same currently for my partner after many SSRI's not working. 
I will also be doing the same thing when I can get the NHS here in the UK to prescribe me liquid Celexa so I can withdrawl safely. But I have helped others and read so much to know that its capacity to aid those with mental health problems has sa far greater recovery rate.
When you get to the point of being ready to start on micro=-dosing - please let me know. The last thing I want is for you to take too much and have a trip!!! Psilocybin is a great drug, but needs to be correctly administered and a doctor will not be able to tell you - nor will i doubt they will agree with you!! But I can cerntainly help. Been there, done it, administered it and seen a lot of what has happened.
Ketamine is your second option and this is not micro-dosed. This is done is larger doses to reset the areas within the frontal-cortex of the brain that have been previously messed up. This will need to be done under supervision.
Typically, you will have your first dose. Based on this, you will continue or discontinue treatment. It is not for everyone. But you will be expected to take a day or two off for this. 
Your first treatment may have you feeling like a bit of a trip and will take a few days for the results to work out. You will then go back to the company and report your results. Be prepared that you may have a bad reaction, but conversely, you may have a really good reaction. But often, it depends on what happens on the next few days.
It may be that you take two or three larger doses to complete the "reset", or you might need to be given a dose that you take at home (usually an inhaler) on a reduced dose.
There are far too many unknowns until your first "experience".
Please feel free to ask me any questions you may have. I will be happy to help you with any issues you may have....
Take Care,

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