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grapeape

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  1. Was reading your withdrawal from Cymbalta postings and wondered if you finally came off it. Your posts ended in 2007 or 2008 with a description of symptoms.

  2. I hope you had a fantastic day :)

  3. I came off of Cymbalta and experienced all of these symptoms. Thank God for my Neurologist and Natural path. I went to a compounding pharmacy and we made our own dose of the drug.

    I went from 30 mg to 20 mg....for 3 weeks, 20 mg to 15 mg for 3 weeks, 15 mg to 10 mg for 3 weeks, 10 mg to 5 mg for 4 weeks and then I went from 5 mg to 300 mg of 5 HTP taken 100 mg morning, noon and night. I th...

  4. Hi Grape. How are you?

  5. Cymbalta Withdrawal... It's Not Pretty

    Just a quick update for anyone interested... I have had a period of more brain zaps for the past week or so. This is distressing because I've been completely off the drug for a few weeks now (after the long discontinuation process detailed in this thread). Obviously, I am concerned about this and hope very much to put all the side effects behind me in time. If the side effects continue for weeks or even months after discontinuation... well, let's just say that I hope not to face a life of permanent brain zaps.
  6. Cymbalta Withdrawal... It's Not Pretty

    Checking in... I'm glad that some are finding this thread helpful. It has been useful for me to list my problems (cheap therapy, I suppose). I would be keeping notes anyway, as I find it's important to keep notes with dated entries when you're on these meds. Periodically write down the date, your dosage, and your current state in a Word document or some such; it is useful to refer to it later if necessary, and see where you were (mentally) before. I make a note of side effects and general mood, and thereby can compare previous times with my current state, and more easily figure out whether my drugs are or are not working. I have now come completely off the drug. I believe most of the side effects are largely gone, though some may be lingering. (It is difficult, sometimes, to know what causes some of the more subtle problems I have.) Brain zaps are largely gone, though I do get brief periods of them sometimes, mainly at night. As noted before, I think this is because my dosage always was at night, and my brain "remembers" that it's supposed to get its drug them. Regardless, I find that I don't notice them much anymore; I usually notice them when I am testing for them by flicking my eyes back and forth rapidly. Other issues I still have, that may or may not be related: I've had some "stuffiness" in one ear during most of the time I came off the drug, a condition that sounds unrelated but corresponds very closely to my withdrawal, so I suspect the drug. I've had some bouts of stomach upset and general gastrointestinal distress -- but it is not persistent. Like the zaps, this comes and goes. And I've had a few headaches and some serious mood changes. The last part (the mood changes), I anticipate from any drug. But even this has been much more pronounced with Cymbalta. I have times when I get this awful feeling -- the same feeling I always get when some problem is really eating at me, and I cannot stop turning it over in my head -- but there is no problem at all; I am not actually thinking any specific negative thoughts. This is when I know I'm having withdrawal issues. By and large I do believe the severity and incidence of side effects are lessening. I do feel like I'm mostly (thought not completely) done with this drug. I think anyone worried about the withdrawal can take some comfort in my case, as I do seem to be getting better. At the moment I do believe I will make a full recovery from it. The process of withdrawal is just so amazingly slow... It was a truly painstaking process of tapering down; at the end of the ramp-down I was literally taking capsules with two grains of the drug inside. And yet whenever I tried to speed things up I ended up feeling terrible. The ramp-down of somewhat over two months was completely necessary. And even then it was a difficult process. I am fortunate to have a job that gives me whole months off; I needed them. I do feel like my pdoc threw a grenade at me without even knowing it. I think many of them are equally oblivious; only the truly caring ones really research the side effects. If a major study or a class action lawsuit gets their attention, they'll stop prescribing a drug -- but short of that, they are not out there collecting data. My best advice, again, it to take your taper-down as slowly as you can. I am glad that I bought the the empty gelatin capsules and made batches of homemade pills. And I think what I was doing at the end -- counting individual granules -- was the best route, even though it takes time. t's the only way to keep your dosage consistent, and ever-shrinking. If you eyeball it you'll probably end up jumping up and down in dose, and making things harder than they need to be. Beyond that, I am taking Omega 3 capsules and SAMe pills. I cannot say whether either truly helps, though I would be taking the Omega 3 anyway because it has well-proven heart benefits. If I were to guess, I think they may provide some small mental health benefit. And finally -- some of you may not have the problems I have had when it comes time to get off the drug. I just know that for whatever reason, this drug is a lot more toxic to me than any of the other SSRIs I have taken. It certainly adds weight to the idea of living drug-free, at least as much as possible. ;)
  7. Cymbalta Withdrawal... It's Not Pretty

    Thanks Greg for keeping in the loop. I'm doing a little better this last week. I'm approaching 5 granules of medication. I'm hoping that I'll be off fully by next week, though as always, I may continue for a bit longer if things get super-ugly. Agreed about the brain zaps coming mostly at night. I suspect the fact that I tend to make my meds at night may play into this, as I'd be lowest on the med right before taking the next dose. But there could be other reasons as well. I'll continue to post. And yes, I agree that the zaps are less then before. Here's hoping that they do eventually go completely away. telephofee - thanks for the support flathorse -- I agree with Greg's assessment of brain zaps. It's really a "you'll know em when you get em" thing; if you don't know what we're taking about, consider yourself lucky, you don't currently have them. :) I find that a twinging feeling right behind my eyes, and a slight feeling as if I've gone over a crest on a roller coaster, are the best way to describe them. There's also an almost-audible pop, as you sometimes get in your ears when the pressure outside has changed. Lionheart -- taking apart the capsules works fine, it's just a painstaking process to get the dosages right. If you have the patience, it may be best to start counting individual granules right away, as this way you will be sure not to give yourself an uneven dose (10 mg one day, 12 the next, 9 the next). I find you have to set aside a little time to make a batch; I make a week at a time. As far as your mood, etc., I won't lie -- for me, at least, it's been hard. I've had some days when I cannot stop thinking about something silly that bothers me, and days when I have no specific negative thought, but I have the same mental weight that I usually get when I *do* have something really on my mind. On those days I keep thinking: what is it that I'm unhappy about, again? And I can't think of anything, but I am unhappy all the same. But there are also good days. I have some of my sex drive back, and some of my lost athletic desire and ability is returning. I also know from experience that I will lose weight soon, and my hair seems to grow in better when I am off SSRIs. There are moments when things really seem meaningful or beautiful to me, whereas on the cymbalta I do really lose that sort of emotion, along with the negative stuff; it all goes out the window, both good and bad, when I'm on the meds -- along with my desire to accomplish things. In short, tapering off Cymbalta is an uneven process. And so, to a somewhat lesser degree, is going without meds in general -- if your brain's chemistry is screwed up, as many of ours are. But for me, right now, it's worth it to be nearly off the drug. I say this knowing that in the future I may change my mind again. For what it's worth, I am also on Omega 3 pills (both for mental health and cardiac benefits) and SAMe supplements (which seem to give me a little energy). I also take a multivitamin daily. These things may not have a profound effect, but I think as a whole they help a bit.
  8. Cymbalta Withdrawal... It's Not Pretty

    Update... I had been on about 5 mg (my estimate) for at least a week or two before I tried (once again) to stop entirely. Brain zaps reappeared the very night I tried to stop. Even at that low dosage, taking a pill made a difference. I have now resorted to counting individual granules and preparing pills with them. That's right -- I count individual granules. And the amazing thing is that a 15-granule pill (not 15mg, I'm talking about 15 individual grains of the med) makes the difference between brain zaps and no brain zaps, for me. This is a bit frightening, to realize that such a minuscule dose can have such a profound effect -- and then to think that I was taking 60mg for awhile. So, what now? I continue my somewhat ludicrous process of ramping down, and am now taking pills with merely 10 grains of medication. I will be tapering down to about 5 grains by Friday. In the meantime, my sex drive and some energy has returned, but I feel anxious and bad overall. I don't blame the latter on withdrawal; I felt anxious and bad before. I do think there may be a difference of degree; hopefully in time I will improve somewhat, though again, since my emotions were problematic before I started the drug, I don't expect them to be perfect now. I am, however, still concerned about brain zaps, as I get them a little on these low doses, and expect to have still more problems when I finally get off this med completely. I hope they are not permanent.
  9. Cymbalta Withdrawal... It's Not Pretty

    Still on what seems like about 5mg. When I make a conscious effort to whip my eyes back and forth to test for brain zaps, I get a little of the unpleasant feeling, but not a ton. I'm hoping that my current ramp-down strategy will help keep the zaps at an acceptable level. In the next few days I will be going down to an even smaller amount of Cymbalta -- probably about 3mg, and that will probably be my last stop before trying to cut it out completely. I anticipate about another week, total, of taking the drug. Interestingly, when I first tried to get off it (cold turkey) the brain zaps were awful and I had a lot of anger, but I also had great energy. Going back on the drug (even at these lower levels) in order to try a more gradual taper-off has taken away that energy. It will be interesting to see whether I regain it again when I come off the drug fully for the second time, or whether it was just a side effect of the cold turkey approach. I know that right now my ability to run and participate in athletics is somewhat compromised. Side note -- sometimes I notice people suggesting that SSRIs help athletes because it makes them less nervous. I always laugh when I see that. I guess it's possible that they help for some people, but for me, SSRIs have always completely destroyed my desire to run or participate in any athletic endeavor.
  10. Cymbalta Withdrawal... It's Not Pretty

    I'm down to what looks like 5mg (I have to eyeball it, so that's approximate). Feeling relatively OK and no real brain zaps at this point, though if I move my eyes rapidly I can get a little of the effect. I plan to go at least a week on this very minimal level before trying to taper down yet further.
  11. Cymbalta Withdrawal... It's Not Pretty

    Yeah, you definitely feel less when on these drugs. That's both good and bad. I feel like when I'm off them the stakes are simply higher. I can either feel much better or much worse when I'm off the drugs than I can while on the drugs. My emotional range is simply wider. That's part of the reason I'm coming off them. I start to feel, sometimes, like I'm cheating myself of the experience of living by being on this stuff. Ideally I could focus on managing the down times better, rather than trying to obliterate them completely with medication. But both ways have their benefits and drawbacks, and it seems like I go on and off the meds based on my needs at any given time. BTW I'm somewhere under 10mg now, and will see if I can get that closer to 5 in the next couple of days.
  12. Cymbalta Withdrawal... It's Not Pretty

    I'll check in. I'm currently on about a 10mg homemade pill (as described in my previous posts) and feel pretty good. Not great, mind you, but no brain zaps, no obvious headaches (maybe minor ones), etc. I plan to stay at this level for a few more days and then continue to taper down toward zero. As for the duration of withdrawal if you go cold turkey, I cannot say anything definite. I went for about a week with the brain zaps still in full effect before deciding to jump back on and then taper down more slowly, in hopes of dealing with the side effects better. Some of the more alarmist web sites out there suggest that the brain zaps can be permanent. I don't see a lot to support a thesis one way or the other right now; obviously I prefer to think that they are temporary. :) I will continue to post as I taper down, and let people know how it's going. Anyone who stopped cold and feels the withdrawal effects are too harsh could possibly emulate my technique.
  13. Cymbalta

    Tony -- I can't say how long they'll last, but check out my thread on my withdrawal symptoms; your wife may find some of that info useful. If nothing else it's good to know one is not alone.
  14. Cymbalta Withdrawal... It's Not Pretty

    I have been taking my homemade 15mg pills for several days now. The brain zaps went away literally within 12 hours of taking the first one. I continued to feel pretty crappy overall -- possibly worse in some respects, probably because I was getting some start-up effects again -- but that's subsided. I feel like I'm probably doing the right thing. I will continue at 15mg for awhile and then ramp down to a homemade 10mg, and then 5. I'll continue to post my progress for the benefit of anyone trying to deal with the same issues.
  15. Cymbalta Withdrawal... It's Not Pretty

    Thanks all who posted... keep us informed. Leslie, do you generally talk with your husband about your issues? I always keep my wife informed, and it helps to have someone else (with a more objective viewpoint) keeping track of me. This is useful both for mental support and for getting a second opinion on whether I'm, say, being a jerk to someone, or whether I'm justified in taking issue with them. OK, so I called the pdoc and... frankly... I'm going to look for a new one. Unfortunately pdocs are not as plentiful as therapists, and it's a pain to get the paperwork done so I can look for a new one, but I will try. My current guy is OK, but not good or great. He listens to me, but he's very poor at giving me full info on potential negative effects. Example: cymbalta. :) Also, he gave me seroquel when I had a sleeping problem, and it works for that -- but then I have been reading about people who develop the shakes -- permanently, even after they stop the drug -- from seoquel. This is not a phantom effect, it seems pretty well documented. Probably very low risk, but enough to make the drug not for me; I try to avoid drugs with side effects that last forever. (Obviously there's some risk with everything, but I like to know about the worst possible side effects *before* I start a drug.) So, my pdoc recommended that I start taking 30mg of cymbalta every *other* day, thus effectively making it a 15mg dose. And maybe that works for some people, but to me that sounds like a *terrible* idea, as I can tell when I miss a day, so I'd effectively be speedballing (up one day, down the next). So here's what I'm doing, in case it's helpful to others. (And no I'm not a doctor, so consider the following just informational, not a recommendation to follow my example. I am insane and should not be listened to, under any circumstances.) I opened a 30mg capsule and found it much easier to deal with than I expected. The drug inside is not powder, but a bunch of micro-balls, like tiny ball bearings. The capsules come apart very easily, and fit back together very easily as well. It's therefore a simple task to turn 30mg pills into 15mg pills, or 10mg, or whatever. Open the pill, making sure that the white end is down (because that's the longer part of the capsule). Look inside. Note that the micro-balls fill the white part of the capsule almost up to the top. Get a small, easy-to-manage container (I use the dry cap from a disposable water bottle) and start pouring excess micro-balls out. Do this until the white half is just under half-full. (Hold it up to the light if necessary, so the light shines through and you can see how much is in there.) When it's just under half full you have about a 15mg pill. Try to be as precise as possible. If you pour out too much, take a small piece of paper and fold it into quarters so it will hold micro-balls. Then pour a few micro-balls into this paper container. Using one of the folds so you can pour precisely, refill the capsule until it reaches that just-under-half-full mark. Close the capsule by putting the blue half back on. Go down to the drugstore and buy some small, empty gelatin capsules. Use these to make more 15mg pills from the micro-balls that are left over. Since these gelatin capsules are likely *not* the same size as the original cymbalta capsules, the safest way to get a 15mg pill is to do the aforementioned procedure to make a 15mg pill from the original capsule, and then take all the remaining micro-balls from that capsule (which should be 15mg) and just pour it all into the gelatin capsule. Since the gelatin capsule holds an unknown capacity, I would not attempt to eyeball it. My plan is to go on 15mg for a week or so to stabilize myself, and then take it from there. If I can get to a point where I feel OK, I will try to make 10mg capsules, and ramp down to those.