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How I Successfully Weaned Off Cymbalta


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#1 MsSuccessful

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 01:04 AM

This is my story about how I ended up on Cymbalta and how I SUCCESSFULLY weaned off. You can skip the story if not interested and go straight to my weaning schedule at the end.

I was diagnosed with major depression mid 2009 due to a traumatic event. I was prescribed antidepressants and only after trying all other natural alternatives, I started on 60mg Cymbalta (daily). I suffered pretty much every side effect – insomnia, strange intense dreams, brain zaps and feeling sluggish etc. Please note - even with these side effects, the antidepressants got me through the worst of my depression, they gave me the boost that I so badly needed.

Fast forward two years and I felt I was ready to wean down to 30mg in the goal of eventually stopping altogether. My main concern was how my body would react, from past experience - if I missed/forgot to take a tablet, the next day was terrible – very dizzy/vertigo feeling, nausea, headaches and worst of all, the foggy confused feeling that I couldn’t shake.

To prepare myself – I researched other people’s experiences and what helped them. I dropped to 30mg without much trouble (some dizziness, brain zaps & feeling foggy) - from there I tried: missing a tablet every second day – no go – far too intense and after a week of feeling awful, I was back to a daily dose.

I then tried: missing a tablet once a week – this was easier but after about two weeks, I decided that it was making me more emotionally tired and stressed out – I needed something more gentle and slow – something I could ease into, without my body/brain going into shock.

I found a few references to people successfully weaning off by using a low dose of Prozac in conjunction with a small dose of the Cymbalta. I approached my Dr. who was not very understanding on why I couldn’t just wean off as she had suggested (as above), long story short – she finally gave me a prescription for 10mg Prozac, and below is my successful story of how I eventually became Cymbalta free!!!

Please note that in Qld Australia – the lowest dose of Cymbalta is the 30mg in capsule form – I had to use the ‘bead counting’ method – where I had to open and remove a certain amount of beads from capsule, close capsule and store them in bulk ready to be taken. I put them in a weekly tablet container labelled with the estimated mg amount e.g. 27mg / 15mg etc.

This is an estimate, every person will react differently – you should adjust to what you feel comfortable on:

2 weeks : 27mg Cymbalta + 10mg Prozac (daily) = felt a little off but nothing extreme
2 weeks : 20mg Cymbalta + 10mg Prozac (daily) = felt a little off but nothing extreme
4 weeks : 15mg Cymbalta + 10mg Prozac (daily) = started feeling the dizziness a bit more, decided to stay on same dose a little longer – until my body adjusted and I felt ready to move to next drop
2 weeks : 10 beads Cymbalta + 10mg Prozac (daily) = felt better, still a little dizzy, emotions were a bit over the place – but I also found out I was 5 weeks pregnant – I decided it was best for me and bub to continue on my weaning schedule but made a personal choice to speed up process
2 weeks : 10 beads (not mg) Cymbalta + NO Prozac = had my ups and downs but bearable
2 weeks : 5 beads (not mg) Cymbalta + NO Prozac = felt ready to take the plunge, I was only experiencing a bit of fuzziness, but brain zaps had totally stopped, dizziness was almost gone and I was feeling like this was it – I was so close to being free!
5 weeks and counting : NO Cymbalta + NO Prozac = feeling GREAT! Dizziness & brain zaps are no longer – it’s almost an anticlimax as I was expecting to feel terrible.

The lessons I learnt: Everyone is different, what works for one person, may not work for another.

  • If you have dropped a dose and are feeling really bad – go back to previous dose and try again when you are feeling more comfortable
  • You can go down a bead at a time if that is what works for you – the slower you wean off, the easier it is on your body and mind
  • You need to have a good support team (family/friends) to talk you through the hard times when giving up seems the easier option
  • Listen to your body – if you are feeling out of control - slow down weaning process - if you feel ill, your heart is racing – might be the dose of Prozac and Cymbalta is too high and you need to lower dose or see your Dr.
  • None of this is fun – but I found doing it this way compared to the other options – was bearable and something I had control over

Good luck to everyone trying to get off of these tablets – you can do this!!

#2 mitsisue90

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 05:54 AM

All I can say is WOW! Well done and 10/10 for sheer perseverance. I wondered how the Prozac would react with the Cymbalta and now I see how it works. Great job. :D

#3 freeme2

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 09:41 AM

congrats...
Thank you so much for posting this success story. This is what I need to hear. That we can be on our own without drugs.. Yipee

#4 matt39

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Posted 07 June 2012 - 01:28 PM

Wow you are strong and courageous!

#5 mitsisue90

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 07:34 AM

Hi there,
I just wanted to let you know that your method of doing this is what inspired me to give it a go and I am going really well. So far down to about half (30) and as that is the lowest dose in a single capsule, I might just sit there for a while. I have not needed any other meds to sit alongside but have used some herbal anxiety preps 2X. That, to me, is success.
Thank you for your precise outline of your method.
Cheers M :)

#6 Shikna

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 07:45 PM

Thank you so much for all the detailed information! and Congrats!!!!

#7 Tinajuli

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 04:14 PM

Hi MsSuccessful,

I'm Tina and new here. I'm logging in from Germany where it's still absolutely difficult to find a good med who actually advises you. I have tried several and they all got quite aggressive when I talked about side effects I had and that I couldn't deal with. With Cymbalta I don't get my period any more - and I'm only 38 and want to have kids! Plus I can't do any sports any more as the drug makes me totally exhausted. My doc reduced the dose from 60 to 30 cold turkey which gave me a breakdown: I couldn't stop crying, was emotionally completely unstable. Not to mention the migraines and flu-like condition. The worst was the sadness and feeling of hopelessness, however. I felt more depressed than I had felt before starting this drug. Before I had taken Imipramine for a long time, then stopped, and when I started again following a personal crisis it didn't help any more, and I couldn't deal with the very high dose I would have had to take.
Anyway, back on the original dose I tried to taper down. I tapered down because of the side effects that scared me but mainly because I had been feeling good and healthy again (had taken Cymbalta for 6 months ish) and thought I could do without the drug now. There's nothing really to make me depressed any more either. I have also done a therapy for 2 years.
The taper didn't work, though. I counted the beads, as recommended. I went down 10 beads every 2 weeks which is a very slow taper compared to what I'm reading on here. But even those 10 beads didn't work. I was able to go down to 45mg, which was already a battle: I had crying fits and sadness and tiredness.
After 45mg my body didn't get stable again, the crying fits didn't stop after a week like they had done before. Also I wasn't sure about coping with crying fits and sadness every second week for several days.
That's how I ended up thinking about going for the taper with the help of Prozac, like you.
I would be really really grateful if you and all those who read this could tell me if they also had those long crying fits and extreme sadness. It feels as if my depression has come back. If I didn't know that I haven't felt THAT depressed since I started taking antidepressants at all I would believe that the depression has come back. But before starting Cymbalta I was ok, I was only mildly depressed and didn't want to take a high dose of my old not-well working antidepressant for this.
I would also be happy if you could tell me how easy or difficult it was to get off Prozac afterwards.
What about the side effects of Prozac?

Thank you so much for reading this and maybe giving me some advice.

Tina

#8 Maddi

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 01:23 AM

First and foremost, I'm so sorry to read the stories about dealing with nausea and dizziness as side effects. I've weaned myself off 60mg and my only side effect had been a tingling sensation every now and then. I'm 27 and have been taking anti-depressants since I was 16, and the last 4 years I'd been taking cymbalta.I chose to get off the drug because my health insurance was making me pay $200 vs the $30 copay AND because quite frankly, I wasn't feeling motivated, happy and energetic anymore, not to mention my sex drive seemed to stop (sorry if that's tmi, but the truth!) How I got off it successfully was by taking it every other day for one week, then every two days the next week, three days the following... continuing in that pattern until my bottle was gone (and honestly by the third/forth week I didn't even need it).
I'm not saying it was a cake walk because there defiantly were times I wanted to cry but I was able to give myself a reality check and ask myself "Is this really a problem I need to get upset over? Or am I just being emotional because I'm adjusting to not taking cymbalta?" 9 times out of 10 it was the latter and I was able to mentally slap myself out of it. I'm not saying this will work for everyone but I've found I have so much more energy and motivation and I'm not using my depression as an excuse anymore. I honestly feel as though I've taken back control of my life and my little mental pep talks really help me push forward because I can now separate my emotions instead of blaming them on depression.
My advice to those battling the emotional ups and downs of stopping this drug is to be strong! When you don't want to get out of bed PUSH yourself to! I know it may sound easier said than done but you can do it! You deserve to live a happy, cloud free life and you will! If you're having a bad day or a "relapse episode" instead of crawling back in bed, physically write down how you're feeling and why and what you can do to solve your problem-then do it! It won't be easy at first, but the more you push yourself, the happier you will be =)
Xo

#9 lady2882Nancy

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Posted 19 April 2013 - 09:17 AM

Maddi

You are definitely one of the lucky ones who can wean off this drug without alot of side effects.

I am happy to hear that people can get off this drug without having the hellish symptoms that those of us here have gone through. I was beginning to think that Eli Lily lied about that too.

Each of us react differently when discontinuing a drug just as we all are affected differently when we take a drug. 

I can now push myself to do more each day but 2 weeks ago standing up without falling back down was an accomplishment. SSRI Discontinuation Syndrome is very real, well documented problem especially for the ones that have a short half life. Cymbalta's half life is one of the shortest being only 12 hours which is why it can affect a person so much.

With all that I have learned about this drug, I can't help but ask what other medications do you take?

It would surprise me a great deal if you aren't taking any other med.

Congrats on getting off Cymbalta





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