To my kind responders on this thread, IUN, FH and KathyinFL:
Thanks so much for your insight. You all speak from experience, so it means a lot to me. Although it's easy enough to reduce the Duloxetine dosages more quickly.... it seems as though the withdrawal itself cannot be accelerated (thx IUN, for explaining that the brain's receptors need time to catch up, and therefore, going off faster doesn't really buy anything). And, even though each of your independent comments are of value to me .... they mean even more together since there seems to be an overall consensus, at least on this thread .......
The Latest with me (and my new concerns):
The 2nd draw from my Hematologist confirms that the ALT & AST liver enzymes are above normal (thanks FH, for commenting that this could be Duloxetine related). HIV, HPV, Hep B & Hep C tests were newly run on the 2nd draw. All tests came back negative .... except the Hep B e-Antigen test - which came back positive. Somewhat contradictory, two other Hep B tests (surface antigen and core antigen) came back negative. It's not only alarming, but was also very confusing to me ..... because I connect Hepatitis B with risky sexual behavior, IDU needle sharing and blood transfusions..... and I know with 100% certainty it cannot be due to any of these. HOWEVER..... I followed up on FH's comment and checked the web to see what I could find on Duloxetine and Liver function. Lo and behold ........ there are indeed some cases of Hepatitis B in patients newly on Duloxetine, and no history of risky sexual behavior, IDU needle sharing, blood transfusions and no self-reported alcohol consumption. So, that means (as rare as it may be) ..... there's at least some evidence that Duloxetine could cause Hep B.
So now ..... my hematologist is rerunning the Hep B Antigen test, and is expecting it to be negative. I have an appointment with him on Wed 1/23, to discuss what could very well be another positive test result. I'm hoping that, if indeed infected, it is acute and treatable. Hopefully only the e-antigen for Hep B being positive is good news, and it could be treated before the virus intensifies. Also, will probably elect to have a Liver UltraSound - we talked about the possibility of this last time. I think I would need to seek out a GI doc or Hepatologist, if there is liver damage. Hoping that anything liver damage I have is reversible.....
So now, this puts the withdrawal in a different light. If the Hepatitis B is confirmed, wouldn't coming off of Duloxetine sooner allow my liver to detox sooner, and possibly even allow me to avoid the more significant effects of Hepatitis B? I was all set to go at it slower ... but now this makes me feel like I need to come off more quickly, even if I have to endure more severe withdrawal symptoms.
With all this going on - the withdrawal is actually coming along OK. After three weeks on 5 beads, with the last week being decent, I decided to move to four beads. Yesterday, I transitioned over from 5 beads once a day to 2 beads twice a day. I bought the gelatin caps from a local compounding pharmacy .... no problem there. We will see how I progress .....
Any further comments appreciated ...... thanks for listening!!!!!!!