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Weaning Off With Prozac And In Hell - How Do I Proceed?


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#1 Sfannin

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Posted 01 January 2018 - 06:11 PM

Hi, this is first post, I hope I'm in the right spot. I really need some help and some support. 

 

I have been on Cymbalta for about 7 years, I started when I was in high school for mood swings and I'm now 25. I've been on 60mg for about the entire time. After doing some initial research, I realized this was not an easy drug to withdraw from, and I brought it up with my doctor that I'd like to try getting off and that I was worried about the withdrawal. I'd tried to do a fast taper a couple years back, and that ended within 72 hours, it hit me so bad. She had me do 20 mg Prozac and 20 mg Cymbalta in the morning, and 20 mg Cymbalta in the evening for the first month. Then down to 20 mg Prozac only in the morning, 20 mg Cymbalta in the evening for a month. Then down to 20 mg Prozac in the morning only for a month, and then the final month, off. Its been about 3 weeks since I took my last Cymbalta pill and have been taking Prozac in the morning only, and I'm in absolute hell. From what I've read around here my symptoms seem fairly average, which is a somewhat comforting thought at least. I'm having GI trouble, nausea/lack of appetite, sensitivity to caffeine, dry mouth, sinus issues, but by far the worst is the debilitating depression. Thoughts of wanting to die, feeling absolutely stuck, no pleasure whatsoever, feeling like no one loves me. Its terrifying. I'm afraid to be alone with these thoughts, I've never attempted self-harm but the thoughts are so insistent I can't trust myself. I have found a little relief in smoking herb, but mostly for the physical symptoms and not the mental agony.

 

I suppose I have two needs in writing here; first, should I persevere these symptoms with patience, or should I give in and go back to 20mg of Cymbalta and try again slower once I've stabilized? Second, I've tried increasing the Prozac to 20mg twice daily, but its day 3 and I still feel terrible. Do I just need to give it more time? I was told the jump from Cymbalta to Prozac wouldn't make a difference since they're both SSRI's, but I'm still in withdrawal hell.

 

Thank you so much to everyone, I'm so glad this forum exists!


#2 fishinghat

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Posted 01 January 2018 - 06:41 PM

Hi sfannin

 

Hang in there and we will see if we can help. First of all it takes Prozac 4 to 6 weeks to fully kick in so you have been on the 20 mg long enough if it was going to do the job. Prozac is a good choice as it is easier to wean off of when the time comes. Iy does however have erratic results. I went to Prozac for 3 months and it had no effect also but others have received total relief by just 5 mg in about 2 weeks. We are just the lucky ones right?  lol

 

You went up to 20 mg 3 days ago so you have a while to go before it kicks in fully. There are a couple good choices that are not addictive like benzos. They are clonidine and hydroxyzine. Both helped me a lot. Neither have a withdrawal and both kick in in about 1 hour. They can both lower blood pressure so start up easy until your body adjusts and the same when coming off. It is not a withdrawal just a spike in blood pressure when you come off. I would start by taking to your dr about taking one of these.

 

By the way Prozac is an ssri and controls serotonin only but Cymbalta is a snri and controls both serotonin and noradrenaline (another neurotransmitter that effects mood). So the change over is not always straight forward and easy.

 

By the way another option is to open a capsule and count the number of beads inside. You can then take a few beads (say 1%) each day to take the edge off the withdrawal. After a couple of days you may have to take a few more or less depending on how well you do with the 1% dose.

 

Anyway just a couple of ideas for you.

 

I know it is tough but hang in there and we will always be here for you and try to help as much as we can.

 

Keep us posted and feel free to ask any questions.


#3 blanam

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Posted 01 January 2018 - 10:26 PM

Hello sfannin:

 

I know exactly what you're going through and it's awful.  It took me 2 years to wean off Cymbalta 60mg.  It wasn't until I got down to 5mg that the discontinuation symptoms kicked in and it's been hell ever since.  That was 7 months ago.  The symptoms are slowly waning, but I still suffer from terrible depression, uncontrollable crying, and anxiety.  I finally couldn't take it anymore and found a new psychiatrist who prescribed a low dose of Prozac (5mg).  It is helping, even after two weeks, but the depression is still there, just not as prominent.  I still cry at everything and feel anxious and fearful most of the time.  I ended my taper in late October, so it's been just over 2 months.

 

Everyone is different, but I honestly think the longer you're on the meds, the longer the withdrawal.  I was on cymbalta for 15 years.  I often wonder if I've done permanent damage to my brain.

 

It sounds like you weaned off pretty quickly.  The physical symptoms lasted several months for me.  Now I still have some dizziness and tinnitus.  It's the depression and anxiety that's lingering.  This is all a real study in patience.

 

I suggest you read Kelly Brogan's book, A Mind Of Your Own.  She's a psychiatrist who is antipharma and has written a book on how to heal yourself without meds.  She also talks extensively about weaning off and what supplements might help.  Personally, I did supplements, exercise, meditation, and acupuncture.  None of it really helped me.  The only relief I've had is from Prozac, but it's not enough.  I still don't feel good or happy or grounded or even-tempered.

 

I feel for you and I hope that with time you'll feel better.


#4 gail

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

Posted 02 January 2018 - 09:51 AM

Good morning Sfannin,

A warm welcome to the forum.

This morning I can barely put two plus two together. So I will be back when my mind awakens.
PS it's not related to cymbalta.

#5 GingerFlower

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Posted 06 August 2018 - 04:30 PM

I need help & I'm not quite sure where to go...

I am on Cymbalta 60mg & I have been on it for about a year now? Time is messed up it's crazy to think that it's even been that long... my brain feels like someone opened it up & turned on the electric mixer.

I started on 30mgs & quickly went up to 60mgs (too quickly in my opinion).

I pretty much instantly saw changes in myself. Irritability (pretty much all the time..) Bad mood, insomnia, appitite loss, headaches, contipation & diarrhea (teetering between them both) back pain, memory issues, feelings of forgetting something ALL THE TIME, Forgetting what you were going to say MID-SENTENCE, cold chills instantly followed by hot flashes. I even experience being cold and hot at the same time. My whole body aches and pains, I feel as though I have the flu. I have no sense of depth perception... I keep hitting myself on things around me... I bruise really easily. irrational thinking and decision making, acting manic.

& don't even get me started on the withdrawal effects that I feel if I don't take the Cymbalta AT THE EXACT SAME TIME, EVERY NIGHT...

Brain zaps, the feeling of little ants crawling on my feet is a 24/7 experience... But when my body is coming down off of the Cymbalta, the little ants feeling turns to bigger feeling bugs & the sensation goes from -- not just my feet, but it goes all the way up to my legs. Right below my knee. I also proceed to get what feels like electrical zaps up & down my legs. I start to literally zonk out. I get so unbearably tired I can't control it. This has never been an issue for me in my entire life.

I feel like I'm bipolar & have split personality disorder. Like the real me is inside -- trying so hard to come out. But the Cymbalta driven me is always in control...

I saw online an article about how when you want to wean yourself off of Cymbalta taking Prozac can help ease your withdrawal symptoms. I was wondering the validity of this? And if it worked for anyone else?

I've taken just Prozac (by itself) in the past and I did not experience ANY withdrawal symptoms when stopping it "cold turkey". I didn't feel -- when I was taking the Prozac, that it helped me with my CPTSD, anxiety or depression.

But I can't do this Cymbalta anymore. It's completely changed me. Idk who I am anymore. I get about anywhere from 1-4 hours of sleep a night and I feel like I'm going crazy. I don't have much of an appitite... I've been doing meal replacement shakes (making them with as much fat and calories as I can...) (Ice cream, half and half, chocolate syrup, chocolate chips, nesquik chocolate powder...)

I accidentally stopped taking my Cymbalta (because I was super sleep deprived) -- I had been instructed to take my Cymbalta at nighttime (because before starting Cymbalta I already had sleep issues and experienced insomnia...) So my doctor thought taking the Cymbalta at nighttime may assist with my sleep issues. I went from an already unhealthy body weight of (106lbs) to (90lbs) I almost has to be hospitalized... I had zero appitite, everything hurt (it hurt to move a muscle) I had no energy, I couldn't sleep. I was a mess. Once we pinpointed that the issues was me missing my Cymbalta we called my doctor right away. He instructed me to take my 60mgs of Cymbalta ASAP and that I should "level out" in a couple days. I haven't leveled out and it's been a couple weeks now. I had an appointment today and adviced my doctor of the "simple method" (they call it, online) of using Prozac to help ease the pain from the withdrawal. When I brought this up to him he sort of laughed it off. Told me he doesn't believe it will help but that he would write me a script for Prozac if that was what I wanted. He told me that if I was his daughter that he wouldn't give me a "choice in the matter" that he would have me put in an inpatient treatment facility so I could be under their care as I went through my Cymbalta withdrawal. He said he sees that as my only way going forward with this. My belief is that I don't want to be on any SSRI's or anything for depression and anxiety. I have learned my lesson being prescribed Cymbalta. I've never really believed in the Big Pharma Industry but now I really don't. Especially when it comes to mental health and how they treat it. I'm sorry I'm rambling. I haven't slept. I'm sure I left things out. Feel free to ask any questions.

#6 GingerFlower

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Posted 06 August 2018 - 04:32 PM

Also have dry mouth and sinus issues. Forgot about that.

#7 fishinghat

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Posted 06 August 2018 - 05:09 PM

First thing...Fire your dr. He is an idiot. He obviously is not familiar with the drug manufacturers warnings and the FDA suggestions on weaning.
 
Did you just stop this cold turkey?
 
We normally do one of two things. Cross taper to Prozac, Lexapro or Zoloft which helps the withdrawal symptoms when they start to kick in (4 to 6 weeks for full effect) or many do bead counting. For most their capsules of Cymbalta contain around 300 little beads inside. Each day open a capsule and take out 3 beads. So 3 beads the first day, 6 the second, 9 the third, etc.  This provides a slow more even withdrawal although still tough for many. There is an FDA warning about quitting Cymbalta cold turkey. It can cause suicidal thoughts, seizures and much more. If you quit cold turkey I would at least suggest going back up to 30 mg and try to stabilize and then bead count BUT considering you had so many side effects when on Cymbalta the best option would be to cross taper to one of the three antidepressants I mentioned before.
 
I know things are tough but just hang in there and we will help as much as we can. Don't be afraid to ask questions or even just vent. We know what it is like.

#8 GingerFlower

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Posted 06 August 2018 - 06:11 PM

First thing thank you so much. I'm currently back to taking the 60mgs of Cymbalta. My doctor prescribed me Prozac 20mgs today. How should I proceed with the Cymbalta to Prozac cross weaning? I just have such terrible side effects. This is so bad. I can't thank you enough for your assistance. My mom is giving me limited amount of time to "fix myself" or I'll be kicked out. Idk I guess this is my last chance at proving I can get better... I feel so hopeless. I have been unemployed for over a year now. And I'm ruining my support systems lives. Which I guess is why my mom is now being super hard and threatening to kick me out if I don't get better. I'm probably explaining this terribly. I'm just super depressed. I want to just disappear. I wish I had the means to pack up my life into my car and just run away. Or go to a different state and "start over".. I'm sick of feeling like a burden to my family and support system and boyfriend. And everyone... I'm sorry I'm so down. 😭

#9 fishinghat

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Posted 07 August 2018 - 07:56 AM

Don't apologize GF. This is ridiculous that your loved ones put so much pressure on you as this just adds to your stress.
 
There is no set cross over therapy but I will pass these documents on to you for your review.

Let us know if you have any questions.

Cross Tapering
https://www.ncbi.nlm...les/PMC4919171/
Describes how to switch antidepressants.

https://www.ncbi.nlm...cles/PMC181142/
Has section on switching antiDs.

https://www.ncbi.nlm...pubmed/18494539
http://www.gpnoteboo...m?ID=1637482568
Guidelines from various sources.

Haddad, Peter M.; Anderson, Ian M. (October 2007). "Recognising and managing antidepressant discontinuation symptoms". Advances in Psychiatric Treatment. 13 (6): 447–57. doi:10.1192/apt.bp.105.001966  .
Discontinuation syndrome is often prevented by taking medication as directed, and when discontinuing, doing so gradually. When discontinuing an antidepressant with a short half-life, switching to a drug with a longer half-life (e.g. fluoxetine or citalopram) and then discontinuing from that drug can decrease the likelihood and severity of symptoms.[2]

https://www2.gov.bc....epress_appd.pdf
Gov guidelines

https://bpac.org.nz/...pages_34-35.pdf
New Zealand Guidelines

https://www.nps.org....antidepressants
Australian Guidelines

#10 Bailey1020

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Posted 10 August 2018 - 08:20 PM

OMG, I'm so glad I found this forum & this post! So sorry you are going through this, but I can totally relate!! Everything you stated while being on Cymbalta is exactly how I felt. I also now believe my doctor has no knowledge of what she was doing. I had been on 60mg, then decreased to 30mg for 1 week, then had me stop! I'm in withdrawal h*ll & did I just read that withdrawals really don't kick in for another few weeks?? How do I exist like this? And believe me, I too often think I just want to run away, escape life. You are so not alone & I am so sorry you do not have the support of your mother. I am sure I am much older than you, although I feel as if I am not acting my age - not sure what that's all about. But it would be that much more difficult if my mom wasn't always there for me. And yet I seem to get mad at her & take my anger out on her. Of course this then leads me to feeling just awful about how I treat her. Anyway, probably rambling cause I have no idea what I'm saying, but you are not alone, I feel the same...



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