cymbalta withdrawal symptoms

Eli Lilly's Popular Drug Cymbalta Causing Severe Withdrawal Symptoms

cymbalta withdrawal symptoms
cymbalta withdrawal
Cymbalta which was originally prescribed to patients suffering from depression and has recently been approved for patients suffering diabetic neuropathy has SEVERE withdrawal side effects which aren’t being disclosed by Eli Lilly.

These Cymbalta withdrawal side effects are not being disclosed to patients prior to them starting Cymbalta due to what seems to be lack of information. How do I know? Because I personally experienced Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms. Because of this I had posted an article on my site called Cymbalta Withdrawal Symptoms Suck. I wrote the article just as a way to vent my frustration.

I have received quite a response to my article from others going through the same Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms. In most cases it appears that the physicians prescribing this drug were completely unaware of the potential for these withdrawal symptoms. As a result, patients are suffering through this withdrawal with little or no guidance from their physicians.

I understand that ultimately the responsibility of what we are putting in our body’s fall on the patient but patients are not able to make an informed decision whether or not to take Cymbalta because not all of the facts are available.

I won’t list every single Cymbalta withdrawal symptom but will give you some of the most common people are talking about:

brain zaps – best described as a feeling of an electrical zaps in your brain occurring as frequent as once a minute canker sores
horrible & vivid dreams diarrhea thoughts of suicide
chills severe body aches mood swings
headaches insomnia total malaise
dizziness ringing in ears explosive anger
horrible & vivid dreams nausea  

I personally had many of these Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms. This withdrawal lasted 19 days for me. 19 days! I looked online and found some message boards where people were describing going through a similar situation and so I realized that it was the Cymbalta causing this.

But what about those who aren’t computer savvy? Where do those patients go to find out what is going on…especially when their doctor doesn’t realize that Cymbalta has the potential for these withdrawal symptoms? I’ve been talking to people who thought they were dying, that’s no exaggeration, these people thought they were dying until they came across others online who described experiencing the same symptoms when stopping Cymbalta.

What I’m interested in doing is getting the word out there. I have started an online petition regarding Cymbalta which is addressed to Eli Lilly, the manufacturers of Cymbalta, asking that they disclose any information they have regarding the potential withdrawal effects and also that they make more of an effort to educate physicians regarding Cymbalta withdrawal when their drug reps are handing out Cymbalta samples to a physician’s office.

As of this moment there are 81 signatures on this petition and the number is growing everyday. A lot of the signatures also include comments from the signer which give some detail about the horrible Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms that they are going through. It is pretty scary but there is more than one comment on the petition stating the patient wants to commit suicide to due to the Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms.

I personally have filed a complaint with the FDA and I am strongly urging others that have dealt with the withdrawal to do the same.

This will sound kind of like I am a conspiracy theorist but hear me out. People are being prescribed Cymbalta for depression or pain, realizing within a short amount of time that this drug is not working for them or giving them unbearable side effects but they are not able to stop taking Cymbalta.

There are people that have tried to stop but due to the nasty withdrawal effects have given up and continue to take it. There are also people, including myself, that decide not to take it any longer and then have to go through a tapering off period that lasts for months.

Basically we are purchasing this product just to avoid the horrible withdrawal effects – not because we are finding it beneficial. I find it kind of hard to believe that Eli Lilly is unaware of these withdrawal symptoms. Eli Lilly is reaping the financial benefits of patients HAVING to continue Cymbalta due to it’s withdrawal symptoms.

What would I like to see happen? I would like to see this issue get some publicity via news stations and have some pressure put on Eli Lilly to make the potential Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms public knowledge.

What Can You Do?

If you have personally experienced the Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms I urge you to file a formal complaint with the FDA. This can be done online using the FDA Online Reporting Form 3500.

I would also ask anyone and everyone out there to take 2 minutes and sign the Online Cymbalta Petition. This petition is open for signatures until February of 2008. At that time, it will be delivered to Eli Lilly. It’s my belief that you don’t have to have experienced the Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms first hand to sign this petition. Anyone who wants to see a drug company held accountable for the effects of a drug they are manufacturing is welcome and encouraged to sign.

33 thoughts on “Eli Lilly's Popular Drug Cymbalta Causing Severe Withdrawal Symptoms

  1. Hi, I was on Cymbalta for about a bit over a month or so… Discovered I am quite allergic to it. At first thought it was the Prilosec, then the Zantac, then realized it was an interaction to Cymbalta!! Symptoms: Petichiae rash, swelling in legs, face, tongue, blotchy red feet and hands, and the itching…… I take antihistamines regularly so it took some time to figure it all out-when I forgot my antihistamines for 2 days….

    So I had to abruptly stop Cymbalta and feel like I am headed to a severe relapse. Nice to not itch, rash is almost gone, and my tongue does not hurt..etc…. I cannot handle high stress situations right now and started taking my xanax again. I have tremors, severe muscle pain-worse than my fibromyalgia, just started vivid dreams, have headaches. The suicidal thoughts scared the heck out of me, and I have no energy to do things. I got so angry yesterday in a high stress situation.

    I know it will go away, but this is not fun. Just want to go to bed and sleep till it is over. Thanks for this site and info. I am not working tomorrow, need a day off. See doc Thursday-take care all.

  2. I can fully understand what you are going through. I visited my psychiatrist a week ago and he has decided to take me off of Cymbalta and Lamictal and put me on Wellbutrin SR and Depakote. Well, Fri I started getting dizzy but just atributed it to the Depakote fully saturating my body. Then, yesterday (Sat) I felt like I had drank a whole bottle of Tequila the night before. Headache, brain zaps (BAD), dizzy, TIRED, suicidal thoughts, anger, irritation at the slightest thing..lots more but these are the most prevelant. Having gone through an Effexor withdrawal I can safely say this is much worse so I am hoping it goes away soon. I am a Clinical Assistant for an Orthodontics office and do not think I can deal with 19 days of this.

  3. Cymbalta withdrawl symptoms. I have been on Cymbalta for generalized anxiety disorder for a year now and have tried several times to come off the drug. I was never able to come off the drug for more than a week because the withdrawl symptoms were so bad. Now I may be pregnant and HAVE to stop taking this medication and the symptoms I am experiencing are TERRIBLE! I have constant nausea and dizziness and have never been so fatigued. My worst symptom is brain zapping- a feeling of sticking your hand in an electrical outlet every time you turn your head from side to side. It is extremly painful and uncomfortable and lasts all day long. There is ringing in my ears and sound is magnified to a great extent. I am irritated and anxious and can not sleep during the night. This is the worst possible thing for someone to feel, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. It’s been 12 days and there are no signs of symptoms ceasing…they get worse every day.

  4. I, too, have been on Cymbalta and am trying to get off of it due to the cost and the side effects. I have had to continue taking it as the brain zaps made me crazy. I got so angry one day I threw my cell phone against the wall. The withdrawal is worse than the depression I started taking it for! I am mow taking every 4th day, and hope to quit entirely over Thanksgiving break as I work at a preschool. UGH!

  5. Boy, I’m going to sound like a broken record. I echo the comments of others here… I am on Cymbalta for pain (I’m allergic to NSAIDS, so my options for arthritis and back/hip problems are limited), and while I have enjoyed the decreased appetite and weight loss, I am driven crazy by the ringing in my ears. I tried to go off of the medicine only to experience similar side effects described by others: intense ringing/whoosing, ears popping, brain zaps (described perfectly by Stacy – every time I went to back out of the driveway and turned my head I got shocked), and just general craziness, like I was just out of it. Cranky, irritable, and exhausted/fatigued. I had to go back on, too. My doctors cannot help me because they don’t see the ringing in their side effect list. One doctor wants to send me to an ENT. Go figure.

  6. Also, anyone who has ANY sort of adverse reaction to Cymbalta should call the Lilly medical information line at 1-800-545-5979 and report it. Pharmaceutical companies are legally required to collect post marketing adverse event data on their products and report them to the FDA. Large numbers of reports can lead to package insert changes or additional safety guidelines. Pass it on!

  7. Tomorrow begins my first day of Cymbalta tapering. I can’t take the side effects of the drug, namely profuse sweating, chills, anxiety and constantly being wet from hyperhidrosis. There has to be a better way, because Cymbalta has consumed my soul and quality living. I consulted two doctors. One suggested going from 90mg a day to 60 mg for 4 doses. On the fifth day, further decreasing to 30mg and adding a Prozac once weekly. The other doctor suggested dropping tomorrow from 90mg to 30 mg but with the addition of Wellbutrin SR 150mg (to help control fluctuations of both serotonin and norepinephrine). He assures me that patients have had no adverse effects such as brain zaps and electrical shock feelings, or overanxiety because of the Wellbutrin keeping those norepinephrine levels up. I wonder what I will be typing here a week from now. I’m going with option #2.

  8. Ugghhh… I was on Cymbalta for over a year, 120 mg at the peak. I did okay getting down to 60mg, but last week on the 30mg (+150 Wellbutrin XL) I had bad nausea and diarrhea. Now this is my second day without Cymbalta (+300 Wellbutrin XL) and I feel horrible. Still the stomach problems, but now also brain zaps and epic moodswings. The brain zaps are multiple times per minute, and I truly feel like I am losing my sanity. What an unhappy thanksgiving 🙁

  9. i’ve been taking cymbalta for over a year now, and i thought i was ready to stop. i’ve been trying to ween myself off but i can no longer take the “brain zaps”, mood swings and dizziness, so i am going to continue taking it for now. i decided to read up on some of these withdrawl symptoms and i have to say it scares me to death. if i would have know this a year ago, i would have never started taking it. does this mean i have to take this forever?? 🙁

  10. Thought I had some strange new disease. The brain zaps, along with severe headache and nausea is exactly what I have now had for nearly 2 months. I had been tapering Cymbalta, unaware of the severe withdrawal, stopped entirely at 30mg. I have since resumed at lower dose, 15mg by dividing up my capsules. Found a blog that recommends counting individual dots within the capsule to taper further! – I also started on this med for chronic pain without knowing the risks of withdrawal. The irony is that I’m a physician and didn’t want to be impaired by narcotics. I have also filed a report with the FDA.

  11. My symptoms are very similar to those described – nausea, dizziness, headaches, brain zaps. My doctor took me off Cymbalta fairly quickly. I have been on anti-depressants for years and have never been told to go off this quickly (1/2 pill for a week and then stop). Has anybody experienced a delay in the withdrawal symptoms starting? I seemed to do fine for a couple of weeks and then one day I woke up with these symptoms. As of today, they have lasted four weeks. Also, how long do they last?

  12. Jennifer here again. I ended up going back on the Cymbalta to avoid the withdrawal symptoms, just at 30 mg. Oddly enough, I developed neuropathy and my doctor had me go back up to 60 mg and the neuropathy disappeared within a day. My appetite is gone again, too. 60 mg seems to be my sweet spot. I do, however, still have the ringing in my ears. I’ve had ringing for several months now, and I guess I am used to it now. I’d love to get rid of it, though.

  13. Hi, well I am on my first day of coming off of Cymbalta and to be honest, the stuff I have been reading is scaring me sh*tless!!
    I have been on 60mg for about 2 years and just feel that I dont want to be reliant on these any more so after consultation with my doctor, he has prescribed going to 30mg per day for 28 days, then 30mg every 2nd day for another 28 days – then that’s it!

    Has anyone ever heard of no side effects? All I am hearing is bad news – can anyone reassure me?

    What do I need to look out for?

    Thanks guys – most appreciated

  14. Pat- The withdrawal seems to start several days after either a dose reduction or discontinuation. I went to 1/3 capsule, 5 mg dose, for about a week then stopped entirely. Brain zaps, headaches, dizziness are getting less severe, but still there after 2 weeks. Antihistamines and Ibuprofen help with these symptoms.

    Chris – I suspect that MOST will have some withdrawal. 30mg every other day may not work as well as dividing capsules since they have such a short half-life. Don’t expect your physician to fully understand how severe and prolonged the symptoms can be – I found nothing in the medical literature in a Medline search and drug reps sure don’t discuss it. Good luck! It will get better!

  15. I tapered off cymbalta for 2 weeks, and have not had any for 14 days. I feel f**king crazy. I have mood swings, am easily irritable; was packing for a trip, got mad and kicked my suitcase, I have little patience, I can’t concentrate or multi task, I feel like I am obsessing over small things, and I feel down. Also fatigued. This has left me feeling like I need to be on this medication. Does anyone know how long the side effects last? After 14 days, I thought I might be feeling better. I was on prozac for 9 years, now cymbalta for 1 year. Any info you have would be helpful.
    Thanks, NS, Portland Oregon

  16. I started on cymbalta in dec. of 2007. I had my daughter in may of 07 and developed server panic disorder. When taking it at first I was so sick, but it got better and I thought of it as a miracle drug. I was so grateful to have finally found something that worked for me. Well I got pregnant about 11 wks ago and decided to get off due to major risks to the baby. So i went from 2 wks on 60 mg, 2 wks on 30 mg and then stopped as directed by my doctor. I had never felt so horrible in my life. I was throwing up constantly(this was along with morning sickness) I has server brain zaps that happened everytime i moved. I asked myself “how am I suppost to do this?” I would cry all the time and even wanted to abort my baby because of it!! I couldnt take it anymore so I got back on it and fel great the very next day…this is no longer a miracle drug for me… I feel imprisoned by this and I cry every day for fear of my unborn baby and his/her health. I have 10 more wks before my gyno is making me stop it and im terrified. All I can do know is pray that I will make it through this.

  17. In a nutshell (no pun intended) I have been thru hell….not specifically due to Cymbalta but to other “like” meds. I now feel as tho I have been some kind of lab rat. Doctors are well-meaning but clueless. They are not trained to recognize side effects OR withdrawal effects related to meds.. and you can bet your sweet life that pharmaceutical companies certainly will not inform them.
    By THE GRACE OF GOD I found the following link which is helping me to get back my soul, mind, body and my former wonderful life:

    The Road Back Program can give you HOPE and save your LIFE! You can download the entire book AT NO CHARGE. See CHAPTER 17, which you can download, then take to your doctor to assist you in withdrawing safely from these monstrous meds! If the dr won’t listen, FIND ONE WHO WILL!

  18. Good Morning all, I was prescribed Cymbalta medication for chronic pain management in Sept 2007. Seemed to work well for a year, pain in my face went into remission. The one thing I would like to address about taking 60mg of Cymbalta daily , I always felt too mellow, not really in control. Two weeks ago, I decided to go off Cymbalta completely!! Yes, I did it cold turkey. It was three days into my withdrawal that the dizziness and brain zaps started. I decided to fight back!! I drank plenty of water, took ibprovin and got plenty of sleep. Yes, It was a nightmare, but by golly, 9 days later I am finally feeling normal again. To think that a medication can cause such horrendous withdrawal symptoms is a very scarey thing!!!! As like many of you, my doctor didn’t discuss the hazards of withdrawal symptoms. God bless you who are still going through this , there will be a silver lining at the end of the road, with Cymbalta out of our lives!!!!!!!

  19. @Chris N – I stopped taking cymbalta about a month ago. I slowly tapered down to a 60 mg pill every other day and then nothing after a couple weeks. I had very little withdrawal. I had been on it to control my panic attacks. Unfortunately, after a month of no Cymbalta, the attacks came back. My doctor has now prescribed wellbutrin, and the side-effects are killing me. I can’t sleep, and when I can I get these awful, vivid dreams. I have no appetite, most food disgusts me and I have trouble eating. My tongue hurts, adding to the trouble with eating. I cry every day. Nothing makes me happy. I have not had a full-blown panic attack since starting this new drug, but have also not felt good at all compared to how I felt before.

  20. I was on zoloft for about 4 years until i decided to go down from 50mg to 25mg after 6 mths
    i started to get this weird pressure in my brain wich i believe every one calls it brain zaps
    and it is funny it only happens when i get up and walk or turn my face to the sides, or if i am standing up here my doc decided to stop my zoloft and he we go with the cymbalta 30mg
    first week was hell with no sleeping sweats and more more of the fatigue. now i been on it for about 4 mths and really scared to stop it any suggestions. please help and what should i do to deal with the withdraen symptoms

  21. HI!! I have taken Cymbalta for about 2 years now. I have tried to come off several times but the brain zaps and other stuff scared me to bad . I talked to my Dr. about this and he looked @ me like I was crazy when I told him what I was going threw. I however never went up to 60 mg I only take 30 mg. my Dr told me to take 1 a week off to taper down. Well guess what it did not work and I still take it. Because I am scared I have heart palpitations also with the zaps and feel what I think am trying to have a heart attack . So yes to anyone out there that has not taken it yet DO NOT start..

  22. I took Cymbalta 60mg for nearly 5 years after having a nerve tumor and the otherwise uncontrollable, severe neuropathic pain the removal of that major nerve caused. Ultimately, after everything around me had completely fallen apart, exclusively because of the side effects that taking Cymbalta caused (turned me into an apathetic, emotionally immature moron), I tried to stop taking it, and now, 10 months later, I am still am trying to stop taking it. Even with a psychiatrist doctor’s help, one who is a specialist in substance abuse withdrawal, who has me taking Prozac to ease the symptoms (like methadone would be used for heroin withdrawal) I am still quite unwell! In his words, nothing compares to the severity of the “cold turkey” withdrawal from cymbalta, not heroin, not crack, not meth, nor alcohol! Apparently, the withdrawal from any of them is also nowhere near as lengthy and debilitating in the long term. I am still not a fraction of the person I once was before starting to take this drug,, and truthfully, I am beginning to wonder, seriously, if I ever again will be…

  23. I feel like I overdosed I feel sick like I ate a whole bunch of pills and I want to throw up nauseas I feel psychotic , irritable , confused , a lot of nervousness that goes to my head , depressed negative , distorted I can’t even drive and I’ve only been on it two months and withdrawing myself is making me this sick

  24. I have had GAD for my whole life (I’m 48). I started getting help 12 year ago when I started getting panic attacks. I’ve been on Effexor and then Cymbalta all those years and I feel “normal” when I’m on it. Because time has passed I’ve decided to go down and see how I do. I went for 90 to 60 and felt great 2 months ago I went from 60 to 30. For 2 months I’ve been at 30 and I ache all over. I started thinking I had fibromyalia. I lay in bed and just ache. I asked my dr about the withdrawl and she tells me that I’m not going through withdrawal. This is the way I would feel without cymbalta and I should increase back to 60. Has anyone else ached this bad after 2 months down on cymbalta?

  25. Wow! I had first read some of these things when I missed 2 doses of my Cymbalta that I had been prescribed due to severe pain from a bulging disc. My dr added another med because I wasn’t able to sleep and this addition brought to my attention the depression I had been in over the past 2+ months after my dosage of Cymbalta was upped. Went back to the dr and he took me off Cymbalta and added Wellbutrin. He said I shouldn’t have any withdraw symptoms since meds work similarly. Well, not so much. Definitely have the headaches, nausea, weird, vivid dreams, insomnia, lack of appetite, and brain zaps. Ibuprofen helps the headaches but I have to take it. I will file a complaint with the FDA. I feel fortunate that emotionally, I feel really good. I had been so unmotivated and lethargic on Cymbalta that it is nice to want to do things again. I’m praying the withdrawal symptoms don’t last too long! No matter what, dr.’s need to know the extent of what really happens when you get off! Thanks Ken, for posting your article and blog!

    • I could not go to work Mon/Tue/Wed last week the symptoms were so bad, and did NOT feel like going Thurs/Fri but forced myself. On Wed, I went to the Dr. with all of the flu-like symptoms(flu test was neg), she told me she felt it must have been withdrawl from Cymbalta. (I had even weaned myself off more slowly than she had recommended.) As I lay in bed this morning, deciding what I must accomplish today and what I can put off (still not feeling well), I stumbled over this site. Ken (and everyone else), thank you so much. I was crest-fallen when I first started reading the testimonials and saw the year 2008, but see there are recent posts also. While myself and everyone I know are still amazed that this med (which is supposed to help people) can cause so much distress, the fact that I am not alone is somewhat comforting. Ken, is there still a petition I can sign, what else can I do to help? GOD BLESS YOU!

  26. What can I say, my daughter had the worse reaction to Cymbalta just 4 weeks of taking it. You name it she had , suicidal thoughts, mania, I can’t begin to go down the list it’s too long. One week before Christmas of course all the drs have gone away for their break. Finally we got to see another psychiatrist in between Christmas break, took her off Cymbalta straight away and is on seroquel throughout the day to keep her from having suicidal thoughts , crying and like she describe as “I’m sick of suffering I can’t do this anymore” as you can imagine that breaks every parents heart, and we are with her 24 hours. The withdrawal symptoms are even worse then the reaction she to Cymbalta , when will this end! I’m so pissed off that aTop psychiatrist would change my daughters medication without anyone being there to monitor her and no where for us to go, she also wanted to increase it from 60 to 90 in a matter of 2 weeks of starting them, luckily my daughter said no even though she hadn’t had the reaction then. I read in a previous comment that Gatarade sport drink helps , went and out and brought her some yesterday. Just want this nightmare to be over with and have my daughter back.
    I agree professionals and the company (Eli Lilly’s ) should know the affects this drug has, and the bad bad withdrawal symptoms. If we were not with our daughter I would hate to think what would of happen, this drug can make people commit suicide !

    • Update, my daughter was admitted to emergency last night, regarding suicide thoughts, the stupid psychiatrist that was on duty told me it only takes 12 hours for the drug to leave the system, l told him go read the blog on Cymbalta withdrawal!

  27. Wow! I just found this website and scared now more than ever! I have been taking Cymbalta for 4 years now, before it was Effexor. I thought it was bad nothing compared to what I am going through now. I don’t know what to do. My insurance company sent me to the generics, I noticed I was having these explosive episodes on my family it has been horrible and then I fall apart crying regretful for what I have said. I missed my dose last night, truly by accident. Today has been a nightmare. I had to watch my four little grandkids I have screamed and shouted like a maniac and then of course burst into tears. How do I fix all of this? I am falling apart, ready to commit myself into a hospital oh wait I can’t I have a son who is completely dependent on me. What do I do?

  28. I’ve been on cymbalta for almost 2 yrs my father passed away I traveled 900miles and ran out of cymbalta 2 days after his funeral. Dr won’t call any in and my withdrawal symptoms are worse Than anything I’ve ever experienced the mood swings insomnia paranoid obsessive behavior and yes I’m struggling w the loss of my father which compounds the issues but really this drug is just awful I’m worse off in my head now than when I was put on it 2 yrs ago….HELP

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