Cymbalta Withdrawal – Cymbalta (duloxetine) is an SNRI antidepressant used to treat a variety of conditions, including major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, neuropathy, and fibromyalgia.
Although Cymbalta is not classified as an addictive substance, patients who use Cymbalta are likely to encounter withdrawal symptoms, also referred to as “discontinuation syndrome” when they stop using it. These symptoms vary in type and intensity, with some people experiencing them for a few weeks and some for up to several months. For this reason, it is vital not to stop taking Cymbalta abruptly or without medical direction.
Symptoms of Cymbalta Withdrawal
Withdrawal symptoms associated with Cymbalta are common and can be severe, so much so that Cymbalta Discontinuation Syndrome is a well-documented problem with a significant history of controversy. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in 2017, there were 888 reports of negative effects from Cymbalta discontinuation, the highest number for any antidepressant that activates serotonin receptors. A 2005 study on generic duloxetine also revealed that 44% of users encountered withdrawal symptoms.
Following a 2009 investigation, the FDA found that the withdrawal symptoms of duloxetine were much worse than the manufacturer (Eli Lilly) had suggested on their product label and through marketing. Also, a class-action lawsuit was filed in 2012 against Eli Lilly that was driven by the claims of several people who claimed that the intensity of the withdrawal effects they could experience from discontinued use of the drug had been misrepresented.
The Cymbalta label states that the following symptoms may be encountered when discontinuing the use of Cymbalta:
Cymbalta users have also reported additional withdrawal symptoms, including vertigo and nightmares. Several people have reported suffering from “brain zaps”—painful headaches that feel like electric shocks transmitted along the spine to the base of the skull, often occurring with dizziness and nausea.
Finally, Cymbalta is also labeled with a black box warning regarding the potential for suicidal thoughts, as this notification is required for all SSRI and SNRI antidepressants. Some patients using duloxetine have reported increased suicidal ideations during withdrawal, and these medications are more likely to cause such thought in children, teens, and young adults.
Cymbalta Withdrawal Duration of Symptoms
It is not possible to establish an exact timeline for withdrawal symptoms, as they tend to vary depending on the patient’s unique circumstances. Some people will encounter moderate symptoms for several weeks, while others will continue to experience the more intense symptoms for months following cessation.
A popular method to avoid withdrawal symptoms is through the use of a tapering schedule during which the patient gradually reduces their dose under the direction of a doctor. Most of the time, weaning from Cymbalta will continue for a month or longer to keep the decreases progressive for a prolonged period. Many patients report feeling better within a month of stopping entirely, and even those for whom it takes longer will eventually begin to experience a dramatic improvement.
Managing Cymbalta Withdrawal Symptoms
As noted, the best way to manage Cymbalta withdrawal syndrome is by gradually reducing the dose under the direction of a doctor. Withdrawal symptoms may still occur, but they will likely be less severe than what would normally transpire if the medication was stopped abruptly.
Some doctors have reported improved outcomes by prescribing (Prozac) fluoxetine to patients for a few weeks. By doing this, the tapering time can be reduced, and the overall process may be smoother and more comfortable for the patient.
NOTE: Please do not, under any circumstances, attempt to switch or transition medications without the help of a doctor or addiction specialist.
Getting Treatment for Drug Dependence
Duloxetine is not commonly known to be a chemically addictive substance, despite its high potential for withdrawal symptoms. So, you should make sure any recovery program from which you seek help can assist in the withdrawal from antidepressants. Also, the program should be able to address any mental health needs that benefit from the use of such medication, including anxiety or depression.
Although Cymbalta is not known to cause physiological dependence, any psychoactive substance can result in psychological dependence. People who are seeking to discontinue the use of Cymbalta for whatever reason may be able to benefit from behavioral therapy, counseling, and other services that help people identify the reasons behind their substance dependency and compulsive need to use.
Recovery By The Sea offers an integrated approach to substance abuse treatment that includes evidence-based therapies, health and wellness programs, medication-assisted therapy, aftercare planning, and more.
If you or someone you love is attempting to discontinue the use of any substance, please contact us today. We are dedicated to helping people break free from the cycle of addiction for life!
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