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Run down on Cymbalta: The Good and the Bad

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In 2008, the FDA approved Cymbalta for the treatment of fibromyalgia, and the drug was effectively classified as a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor antidepressant. This was good news for the fibromyalgia (FM) community as before this approval, there was only one other drug accessible for the treatment of FM.

While Cymbalta was great news, it was/is an antidepressant at the end of the day, and so the medical fraternity was already aware of potential withdrawal symptoms if patients abruptly stopped using it. Still, no one was ready for the severe Cymbalta withdrawal that is experienced by patients. It is so bad that the medical fraternity has coined a term for it: Cymbalta Discontinuation Syndrome.

Apart from FM, Cymbalta is also prescribed for patients suffering from depression, anxiety, pain from nerve damage, and even long-term muscle pain. For these other conditions, the FDA had already approved the drug in 2004.

Positive Feedback from Users

Many users have given positive feedback on Cymbalta, attributing it to mood stabilizing, ease of anxiety, and even positive outcome when used for fibromyalgia. Patients have found it more effective than any other drug on depression and anxiety. However, stopping the use of this drug has been attributed to some severe withdrawal symptoms.

Effects of Discontinuation of Cymbalta

The prescription information says that the medication should not be discontinued abruptly, but rather through a gradual process, preferably overseen by a medical personnel. Immediate withdrawal could lead to serious symptoms, which have been experienced by several users.

Some of the anti-depressant withdrawal symptoms that have been reported wit Cymbalta include the following.

  • Brain Zaps

Some people experience some sort of electric shock in the brain after discontinuing this medication. It is accompanied by dizziness, headaches, and nausea, and this could last as long as two weeks. The longer you are on the drug, the more severe the symptoms.

  • Suicidal Thoughts

The FDA listed those aged between 18 and 24 as potential candidates for suicidal thoughts upon the withdrawal of Cymbalta’s use. This is because the use of the drug is said to increase or cause hostility, hypomania, impulsivity, and aggressiveness in this age group. Interestingly, these suicidal thoughts were seen to reduce or disappear for those aged above 25. However, suicidal thoughts are not limited to Cymbalta users. Any antidepressant could cause this symptom.

  • Low Sex Drive

Low libido is common with antidepressants and Cymbalta is no different. Users have reported a reduced sex drive that won’t go away even with reduced doses of the antidepressant. The length of this side effect differs from one patient to the other.

  • Drowsiness and Lightheadedness

One of anti-depressant withdrawal symptoms is fatigue and drowsiness. Some patients experience it when they are still using Cymbalta, if you consult a doctor to direct you on how to discontinue the use of Cymbalta, they could recommend that you take your reduced dose at night when this side effect will not be felt.

Other side effects that are attributed to the discontinuation of Cymbalta include excessive sweating, tinnitus, involuntary crying or laughing, and insomnia.

What can you do?

The smarter way to counter these side effects is by talking to your doctor about a discontinuation plan. Some doctors switch their patients’ medication with a different anti-depressant while treating underlying conditions with other medication such as antihistamines.


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Through Plasticity we will overcome. Despite what we knew in the past, our brains are easily shaped and ever-changing. We strive to take advantage of this adaptability with supplements in order to overcome the withdrawal effects of antidepressants.

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Before proceeding, please indicate that you have read and understand the following:

The process of reducing or tapering off psychiatric medication is inherently risky and can be especially dangerous and potentially life-threatening if done faster than one’s body can handle. Cymbalta-Withdrawal’s website sets forth information which relates to this process. Cybmalta-Widthrawal shares such information on website for the sole purpose of making it available for general educational purposes to those who are interested in it. The information does not constitute Cymbalta Withdrawal’s advice, encouragement, or recommendation that any individual reduce or taper off of his or her intake of psychiatric medication.

Unless expressly stated otherwise, Cymbalta Withdrawal’s authors, bloggers, and/or editors of Cymbalta Withdrawal Project website are laypeople who have direct personal experience or who have supported someone else in the process of reducing or tapering off psychiatric medication. The information shared neither constitutes nor should be interpreted as the professional medical advice of a physician, pharmacist, or other prescriber of psychiatric medication.

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