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12 Years On Cymbalta - Almost Off! (Super Slow Wean, No Brain Zaps)


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#1 tdog

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Posted 31 December 2017 - 06:33 PM

Hi everyone,

 

In spring of 2016 I was inspired (after reading this forum) to wean myself off of Cymbalta. I had previously thought it would be impossible because I had been on it for so long, but then I learned that I could slowly reduce my dosage, one pebble/bead at a time, and avoid the horrifying side effects that come from rapid withdrawal.

 

So, in spring of 2016 I purchased some empty gel capsules, a glass funnel, and some other pharmaceutical  tools and began the long process of weaning off.

 

Because I had been on Cymbalta for so long, I wanted to take it SUPER slowly. I mean, I had thought I was going to be on this stuff for the rest of my life, so it didn't really matter to me how long the wean lasted.

 

Phase 1: 20mg down to 15mg

I began my wean at the lowest available dose of 20mg, and I removed one "pebble" per 1-3 days until I was down to 15mg. That took about 2 months. During that time I felt some depression and anxiety, but it was manageable. I never felt any brain zaps.

 

I stayed at 15mg for another couple of months - until I felt sure I had stabilized.

 

Phase 2: 15mg down to 10mg

I repeated the process of removing one additional pebble every couple of days until I was down to 10mg. The depression was a little harsher this time than it had been while going down to 15mg. However, it wasn't so bad that I couldn't stick it out. Again, I never had any of the other scary withdrawal symptoms like brain zaps.

 

Once again I stayed at this dosage for a couple of months to make sure I was stable / not depressed enough to continue.

 

Phase 3: 10mg down to 5mg

It was a total of maybe 9 months into the entire process when I started the gradual journey down to 5mg. This took another couple of months. I gotta say, this part was a little tough - I felt some nasty depression. It subsided, though, and was never so acute that I couldn't keep going to work, living my life, etc.

 

I decided to stay at 5mg indefinitely, until I had several months of mostly uninterrupted non-depression. I stayed at 5mg for about 9 months before I once again began to taper down.

 

Phase 4: 5mg to 2.5mg

At this point I started going more slowly. I took a couple of months to transition just the 2.5 mg down to 2.5 mg. I just recently hit that milestone.

 

Now when I divide up one 20mg Cymbalta, it lasts me 8 days. That feels pretty good! I don't know how long I will stay on 2.5mg, or how slowly I'll taper to ZERO, but I'll give a report here when I'm off completely.

 

Lessons I've learned along the way:

 

1. I *can* get off Cymbalta even though I was on it for so long.

 

2. I don't have to experience horrible side effects if I go slowly enough.

 

3. I can still feel like myself when off of it (I still feel more or less like I have for the last 10 years. I did not return to the anxious & depressed state that I was in before I got on Cymbalta).

 

4. It feels really good just to make the decision to get off of it! It's empowering. It gave me hope.

 

You can get off this stuff no matter how long you've been on it. Just take it slowly! You do not have to be a prisoner to this shit anymore.

 

Thank you to everyone who ever posted their story to this forum. It was only after coming to this forum that I learned it was possible to get off Cymbalta without side effects.

 

Much love,

Tdog

 

 


#2 fishinghat

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Posted 01 January 2018 - 09:28 AM

Great story tdog!!! You are wise to go that slowly. If you continue to be patient I am sure you will be successful.

 

Please keep us posted and best wishes on your continued battle.


#3 gail

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    5 months on cymbalta, scary side effects, to get help and to return the favor if I can.

Posted 01 January 2018 - 10:05 AM

Hello Tdog, and welcome to the forum,

I admire you for the time you took to wean off cymbalta. Real interesting to read about the method you used to do so.

You are really an example to be followed. I'm still in awe!

Fishinghat's motto is Time and Patience. You must be brothers or closely related in that department (lol).

Thank you so much for your post and please come back later for the ending story. Bravo!

#4 GingerSnap

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Posted 28 January 2018 - 10:04 AM

I'm so glad to hear success stories. I've been on cymbals for about a decade, and I'd like to wean off (very slowly and with my doctors help), but I'm nervous! I hope I can have a positive experience like you.


#5 almondjoy

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 05:21 PM

tdog.....

 

Could you tell me how you knew that a bead a day reached 5% or 10% or whatever the goal was?  Did you have a scale that read .001 grams?  

 

Has anyone read anything about liquifying the cymbalta to gage the percentage of reduction?

 

Thanks for inspiration!


#6 fishinghat

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 07:25 PM

I don't know how tdog did it but most count the number of beads inside their capsules and assuming they ae all the same size (they usually are) they figure the percent from that.

 

Cymbalta is fat soluble but once dissolved in an organic like PEG 80 it becomes subject to degradation. In addition it enters the bloodstream much faster, peaks rapidly followed by a rapid drop and withdrawal symptoms. Instead of a 12 hour half life like the original formulation the half life is closer to 2 hours. This means it is necessary to take very small dose on a very frequent basis. The same thing can be accomplished by bead counting without the severe swings in blood levels.


#7 almondjoy

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 08:26 PM

Hmmm... thanks!


#8 Robbie

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Posted 12 February 2018 - 07:06 PM

​Very inspiring story, I hope that I have the courage to do this. I also have been on this horrible drug for many years, so am planning to follow tdog's example. So glad I found this forum, I could have been heading for a lot of trouble following my doctor's bad advice. Thanks again!


#9 Sadiejane

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Posted 02 May 2018 - 11:13 AM

Hello Newbie. Thanks for sharing your story. I was on lexapro for almost 15 years for anxiety and Cymbalta the past five. Never felt good on Cymbalta, chills, odd buzzing in my feet and hands all the time. Well I’m turning 61 and am retired so I’ve decided there is no better time than now to wean off. I went from 60 to 50mgfor a couple months with few problems. Now down at 40 mg for about 5 weeks and the chills, sick stomach, electrical sensations and brain fog has been bad for 5 days.

Do you think I should go back to 50 awhile and then taper as you did? My NP won’t like it, she wants me to use a compounding pharmacy, but insurance won’t cover that. Also were you ever on a higher dose of Cymbalta than 15mg?

Thanks...so happy for you! Thanks for posting good news.

Sadie1jane

#10 gail

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Posted 03 May 2018 - 07:18 AM

Hello SJane,

TDog has not been here for a while. So I will give you the advice to go up to 50mg and bead count your way down to the end.

Post whenever you feel like it, questions or just venting, we listen.



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