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#1 gentlehermione



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Posted 27 November 2017 - 05:34 AM

Until recently I was an active, healthy female (58). I've been extremely fortunate in that, the only health problem I've ever encountered has been anxiety/low grade depression. At least that's what the doctors diagnosed 20 years ago. I was put on Effexor 75mg and then reduced the dosage to 37.5. Life was good. Earlier this year I decided to wean myself off my medication. I started tapering in January and by June was off Effexor. I did experience the odd odd brain zap but could easily go about my daily business. Suddenly at the end of July, I started having panic attacks and my psychiatrist put me back on Effexor albeit 150mg/day. At 2am on August 12th, I had a sudden cardiac arrest. Thankfully one of our dogs wakened my husband and he and my daughter performed CPR until the ambulance arrived. My guardian angel was watching over me and after a week in the hospital, where I was fitted with an ICD and was put on 30mg Cymbalta, I returned home.


Fast forward to three weeks later. My ICD fired. Off to hospital. In for observation for a week but no arrhythmias could be detected  :( Returned home and 24 hours later the ICD fired again! In hospital for another 10 days, had a catheter ablation but no structural heart damage was visible. What they did find was that one of the ICD leads had moved and pushed itself through one of the heart walls which could have explained the shocks. So another intervention to replace the lead. I was still on Cymbalta and an anti-arrhythmic drug.


Just when I was beginning to think I was on the road to recovery, my ICD fired on the 12th of November. Off to hospital. In for ten days where I met a fascinating psychiatrist who thought that my SCA could have been induced by going back on Effexor as it's known to have a potential influence on cardiac rhythms. And since Cymbalta is also a SNRI, it would be advisable to stop taking it. Well since November 17th I'm Cymbalta-free and yes, I went cold turkey which I normally would not have done under other circumstances.


So far, I've experienced lightheadedness, brain zaps, anxiety and irritability. The fog in my head does clear from time to time over the course of the day - wonderful moments! From what I've read on this forum, my symptoms are bearable. I'm taking vitamin D3 and Omega 3 supplements, drinking ginger tea and trying to eat all the right foods. I walk my dogs every day so am getting exercise and fresh air on a regular basis and I go for acupressure once a week. I have an appointment with a new therapist recommended by the psychiatrist I met in hospital. Any other suggestions? And since my symptoms seem to be subdued, can I hope to get through this more quickly than perhaps others who have had more severe withdrawl?


Sorry for being so long-winded!

#2 gail



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  • why_joining:
    5 months on cymbalta, scary side effects, never felt good.
    Needed understanding and support, and a place where I was not alone. To read others stories and realizing that I was not the only one going through all that crap.
    In hope that one day, I can return the favors in some kind of way.

Posted 27 November 2017 - 08:19 AM

Welcome to the forum GentleH,

Oh my, what a story. You've been through a lot.

Fishinghat will be in soon, he has the best knowledge to answer you.

#3 fishinghat



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Posted 27 November 2017 - 09:37 AM

What a story. Terrible experience and my sympathies to you.
Your dr is right about the possibilities of the Effexor/Cymbalta producing arrhythmias albeit rare.
You do NOT want to go cold turkey as the FDA warns against that causing seizures, arrhythmias, suicidal thoughts, and much more.
A couple of options here.
First Get on an ssri like Prozac or Zoloft. Stabilize and then wean off slowly. ssris are less likely to cause irregular heartbeats and are easier to wean off of. Do not take Lexapro because it has been linked to severe arrhythmias in  those over 60.
The second option is to go on Trintellix for 3 weeks and then withdrawal from the Trintellix over a 3 to 5 week period. This is a new technique some drs have been using to het off Cymbalta easier without the terrible withdrawal..
Other things you can do is omega 3 2000 mg/day, stay well hydrated and get as much rest as possible. Another thing, many members have found that Sudafed PE or Mucinex D have been very beneficial in helping with the withdrawal symptoms. Be cautious when taking these cold/flu medicines to get one with pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine. BE SURE AND CHECK THESE MEDICINES FOR DRUG INTERACTIONS WITH ANY OTHER MEDS YOU ARE TAKING. If you read post 73489, in the thread 'the answer to your question is...' you will find a detailed description on these cold meds and some details. It can be located in the Medical Support section.


I am not a dr and these items are simply things that we have learned over the years on this site along with some technical information from the medical journals.


I am sure you will have a lot of questions. please do not hesitate to come back here anytime for questions, to complain or for support. We are here for you.


God bless

#4 fishinghat



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Posted 27 November 2017 - 10:05 AM

I just did a quick check of the medical data base and the manufactures drug insert for Trintellix and neither had any mention of it causing arrhythmias.

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