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Lllooonnnggggg Post, Weaning For A Year.


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#1 Menolly07

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Posted 22 March 2016 - 10:34 PM

When I was prescribed Cymbalta roughly six years ago it was as a migraine assistance medication. Side note: It has contraindications for the Triptans (migraine rescue meds). I slowly tapered up, ending up with 60mg in the AM and another 60mg in the PM. I remained steady, aside from a severe medication reaction caused all over body rash maybe a year in. Anyway, I was steady on this dosage for several years when I had an insurance changeover. For my previous insurance I needed a preauth. With a job change I went to a completely different insurance company, also requiring a preauth. Since my scripts only filled monthly you can imagine what that THREE MONTH WAITING PERIOD did for me. I basically went completely off 120mgs of Cymbalta overnight, for three months. This was two years ago this past December. I entered into one of the very worst periods of depression I ever have been in. I won't become detailed, but it was awful. I never wanted to go through that again. Additionally, I had extreme bodily reactions. Aphasia that hasn't resolved. Dizziness, fainting, exhaustion, headaches, nausea.

 

When my script was finally authorized I immediately went back on it. At the time I didn't realize how detrimental this medication really was becoming. After that I never improved fully. I hypothesize that it was the sudden drop causing some sort of change to my chemistry then going back on at full strength, no taper and as directed by my idiot former PCP, really was a mistake. For the next six or so months I dealt with a mix of what felt the same as withdrawal symptoms alongside slowly worsening depression. I managed, finally, to hook up with a stellar Clinical Psychiatrist through my partner who is a mental health professional with the largest hospital system in our region. I'll fast forward a bit. A little more than a year ago I began weaning off with his assistance. We moved me onto Wellbutrin, which has been SO helpful. Additionally, he prescribed me lorazepan as a panic attack rescue med. Recently we've also added trazadone as I'd been having such severe sleep disturbances that I was only getting about three hours of good sleep to a nine hour lie down.

 

Initially, I broke capsules apart and went by weight on a medication scale. Currently I'm counting by hand because the weight become unquantifiable to my scale. I did a super slow gradual taper, taking out five more beads every fourth day. Each taper brought severe withdrawal symptoms. I eventually began slowing my taper even more. Today I was down to three beads. Yay me!

 

Unfortunately, the last six weeks have worsened my mood and physical symptoms. I'm more likely to be found weeping than not. I'm nonfunctional aside from the very bare minimum effort. Sleep? Yeah.... Nope. And my brain is useless; confusion, severe aphasia, forgetfulness. It's hellish. That whole thing about losing interest in things you love and becoming a hermit? I am practically a dirty, beard wearing person living in a shack in the woods. Well, not the beard thing exactly. I'm a woman.

 

I've emailed my clinpsych, but I'm curious, has anybody found any other medications to support withdrawal? Currently I'm taking a good multivitamin, an omega with all the numbers, probiotics, unicorn farts, kitten snuggles. Ya know, the usual.


#2 fishinghat

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Posted 23 March 2016 - 08:50 AM

Menolly, Welcome

 

It sounds like you have handled things appropriately. Just keep going very slow. Your supplements are right on but you might add 500 mg of Vit C per day and be sure and stay completely hydrated. It is going to be tough for the next 6 to 8 weeks before you see any small but periodic improvements. During that time you have to go easy on yourself. The harder you push yourself the you will suffer. There are things like benzos, ssris and other snri that can be used to ease the withdrawal but they have their own withdrawal you would have to deal with.

 

Hang in there and be patient.


#3 gail

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Posted 23 March 2016 - 04:03 PM

Hello Menolly,

Members mentioned that a low dose of Prozac, 10mg, helped them with withdrawal.

But again, takes time to ramp up. You can, when you feel better, withdraw from it slowly.
It has a long half life, so easier to withdraw from.

I do hope that LadyNancy comes by and elaborate. She did it this way. But again, this is my thought from what I have read.

Fishinghat, I don't want to contradict you at all, I do believe it's a great option.

#4 fishinghat

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Posted 23 March 2016 - 04:59 PM

There is no problem with that Gail. I had so many issues with coming off Cymbalta that I went on Zoloft to step down. Like Prozac, it has a 'softer' withdrawal.


#5 Menolly07

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Posted 23 March 2016 - 06:25 PM

I have really low blood pressure, so the doc had concerns RE prozac. Hydration isn't a problem, thankfully. I'll check what vit c I'm getting extra, if any, and give that a go. Not like it can hurt. 


#6 lady2882Nancy

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Posted 23 March 2016 - 06:26 PM

HI Menolly07

I was actually off completely for 12 weeks and still suffering terribly when my psychiatrist put me on 10mg of Zoloft. It made a world of difference for me for all those nagging symptoms that just would not go away: the lack of sleep; crying; agitation; anxiety; headaches; confusion; forgetfulness; and all the rest of the weird and wildly wacky side effects that getting off Cymbalta (Crapalta) gave me.

I found it very easy to get off the Zoloft about 8 weeks later with very little withdrawal symptoms returning but I understand that some need to take a bit longer. I was just so happy to finally be done with Cymbalta and its effects,

I cannot stress enough the need to stay really well hydrated which is something that I was not good about but learned from my psychiatrist which may have helped getting off the Zoloft although its longer half life really does make a big difference.

Sometimes we need to fight med withdrawals with other meds.

I was also one that was put on it for pain and not depression and I suffered terrible depression while on it and while withdrawing, I still have bouts of depression which I did not have prior to using Cymbalta. I am adapting.

 

 

Take care of you and let us know how you are doing.

Nancy


#7 Menolly07

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Posted 27 March 2016 - 03:41 AM

Honestly, this is the very worst I've ever felt in my life, and it's so hard to to shake that sinking, soul ache of hopelessness that can come from feeling so sick for so long. Is withdrawal even something they rest for with regard to drug trials? I simply do not understand how this stuff made it onto the open market.

I was trying to explain the dizzynotdizzy feeling to my partner.

You know when you spin something with a liquid center then gently stop its spin. If you lift your first Ger quickly it will begin spinning again be cause the center is still rotating. The DnD thing feels like that but my brain is the liquid center. This feeling happens most frequently when I turn my head. It's like my brain is unanchored and keeps turning. Everything feels like it's sliding sideways.

As an aside, do any of your zaps and dizzy spells seem to be far worse in the evening on into the night?

#8 fishinghat

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Posted 27 March 2016 - 08:38 AM

For me it was the evening Menolly. Typical withdrawal symptoms but they will eventually fade, slowly.


#9 Menolly07

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Posted 27 March 2016 - 09:50 PM

Welp, we've done the whole cost-benefit thing and decided to do 10mg of fluoxetine (Prozac) after all. This is, basically, unlivable at this point. We also discussed a short term (medical) hospitalization for withdrawal management, the idea being that my ClinPsych can be more on top of my day to day. I pretty much vetoed that idea. So Prozac it is.

How did a low dose, nonCymbalata SNRI incorporation happen for you? Mine is saying cease the Cymbalta, which I'm only taking two beads of anyway, and start to Prozac then stop after a month. I'm a little worried about how to tell what's happening to me. Everything is just SO messed up. I'm having an extremely difficult time telling "real" sad from "real" depression from withdrawal depression. I honestly don't "trust" ANY of my feelings at this point. The brief glimpses of "happy" feel like they're a manic high to me. I am not bipolar by any means, so that's even more disconcerting.

#10 emoothart

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Posted 19 June 2016 - 12:05 AM

Menolly, how are you doing now (3 months later)?  I'd love to hear an update.  I'm thinking about trying Prozac or Wellbutrin to help me get off Cymbalta.  Currently I'm at 60mgs (down from 90mgs) and I can completely relate to what you say about not being able to tell "real" depression from "withdrawal" depression.  None of my feelings feel trustworthy to me either. 


#11 Menolly07

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Posted 19 June 2016 - 12:36 AM

Let's see. After my last post I began a 30 day stretch of 10mg prozac. I stopped at nothing after the 30 days. While the brain zaps went away the exhaustion and crippling body pain remained. This actually led someplace completely different than we thought it would.

Cymbalta is actually a common medication to help treat fibromyalgia. I've been on it for a decade. I had some fibro symptoms, that we didn't identify as fibro because we weren't looking. Headache. Migraine. Orthostatic hypotension. Low blood pressure. Persistent localized pain. Etc. Well, weaning is Cymbalta had all of these symptoms ramped up. We chalked it up to withdrawal. While it certainly wasn't helping it ended up being not fully at fault.

I ended up finding a new PCP while wrapping of the last week of Cymbalta. I got a full check up, waited about a week, had the bloodwork come back and then went back in. He lined me up some tests for the blood pressure stuff, but we didn't begin to address pain managament. Fast forward a couple weeks, and I'm finishing the last of the prozac and am Cymbalta free. I come in. We look over the tests. My heart is great. We add a medication to raise it a little. Give it some time. I have another appointment. I'm now prozac free and don't feel the zappy parts of the withdrawal. However, I'm in a statw of worse brain fog, physical and mental tiredness, lack or focus, lack of concentration. It's pretty awful. We do a different blood test, arthritis, and a couple others. I cone back. We've literally done ALL the diagnostic tests we can. This is where it gets unexpected.

The doctor asks me if anybody has ever talked to me about fibromyalgia. They haven't. I've friends with it, but it's never been floated for me. Well, since Cymbalta fights fibro symptoms it's actually been doing its job with regard to that. I basically didn't know fibro should even be on my radar because my symptoms were so well controlled.

SURPRISE!!

Things are finally improving. I'm on a lot of new and different medications. I've been working on coping with suddenly feeling as awful as I have, knowing I will likely feel that awful again, at least for a little while, and accepting that it will not go away completely. The cymbalar is clear of my system, FINALLY, but it was a CHORE to get here.

#12 zivcha

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Posted 19 June 2016 - 03:24 PM

Hi,

im also in a position of trying to choose between Wellbutrin or SSRI. based on your experiece, how can one choose? i mean, in which aspects do they differ.

i know that wellbutrin is a NDRI (=noradrenaline dopamine reuptake inhibitor). is it a medication that has to be taken daily or more like benzo's (which can be taken only when needed). also - i read that Wellbutrin has no withdrawal symptoms. is it true? 

 

its the night tachycardia that i feel i must sove before anything else.


#13 Menolly07

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Posted 19 June 2016 - 03:46 PM

My doctor told me how each medication works on the brain, and I chose Wellbutrin because it seemed the most focused on my particular depression. Part of how it works is focused on Dopamine, the "happy" chemical. Wellbutrin is one of those medications that the levels need to be constant.

I can't help you with choosing. That's a talk to have with your doctor. It's so based on you specifically and something a doctor should be helping you with. As to withdrawal, I can't speak to that as I've not yet been off the medication.

#14 fishinghat

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Posted 19 June 2016 - 05:26 PM

Zivcha

 

Wellbutrin is a once a day capsule taking 4 to 6 weeks to reach full effect. It does have a withdrawal with great variation in severity bit most would rate the withdrawal as less than Cymbalta. It not only regulates dopamine but also noradrenaline which is a precursor to adrenaline so may help with heart pounding, tachycardia, skip beats etc.


#15 FiveNotions

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Posted 19 June 2016 - 07:17 PM

Zivcha, If you want to soften the crapalta withdrawal, I'd suggest going with another SSRI, like zoloft, not the Wellbutrin ... I don't think Wellbutrin, which I used to take, and which works on dopamine, not serotonin, will help much if at all with the cymbalta withdrawal symptoms ... because it works in a completely different way than SSRIs ... all that's said subject to FH's knowledge and suggestions, as he knows a heck of a lot more than I do about all this stuff ...

 

I assure you, Wellbutrin does have withdrawal symptoms, just nothing as bad as cymbalta. (I was on that for almost 20 years, and weaned myself off of it over 4 1/2 months, with my last dose at the end of this February. Mostly, it felt like a bad case of the flu, with body aches, very bad insomnia, and extreme low energy. Nothing, however, as awful as my cold turkey cymbalta withdrawal in 2014.)

 

Cymbalta withdrawal was 4-6 months of hell, followed by a gradual fading of the symptoms. I've been left with high blood pressure (which may or may not be attributable to it), and tachycardia, horrid acid reflux, and tinnitus, all of which I believe it caused).


#16 zivcha

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Posted 20 June 2016 - 01:33 PM

Menolly, fishinghat and FiveNotions,

thank you for your answers.

 

Menolly, I am glad that you are feeling better :)





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