The withdraw for cymbalta is horrible. Its worse the the withdraw I went through in rehab for alcohol and anit-anxiety meds (ativan), yet the big pharma say its "not addictive" because your mind doesn't urge you to take it. In my mind, physical withdraw = addiction and people should be told BEFORE they take the drug what will happen when they try to stop
To begin, I just want to say that I appreciate having read about everyone's experiences in these posts. I suffered a major depression a couple of years ago and was put on Prozac. The Prozac helped with the depression but increased my anxiety levels and I was having trouble sleeping and felt like I started to gain weight. (Note that nothing about my diet changed and I exercise vigorously for about an hour 4-6 times per week.) I talked with my psychiatrist about all this and he suggested I switch to Cymbalta (Duloxetine). With respect to treating the symptoms of my depression and anxiety, Cymbalta rocks/rocked! I could sense that it was working about two days after I started--it really was my miracle drug.
But then I noticed that I started craving alcohol. Prior to the Cymbalta I would drink socially and might have a martini or two on a Friday or Saturday evening; I didn't really drink on weekdays. Some time after I started the Cymbalta, I noticed that I was drinking a few times per week. Currently, I have been taking Cymbalta for about 10 months and find myself consuming multiple (2-3) drinks almost daily, sometimes more on the weekends. While my activity levels have not changed--I still exercise the same amount--my caloric intake as a result of the increased alcohol consumption certainly has and I find myself almost 30 pounds heavier (I'm at 205) than when I first started taking the Prozac about two years ago. To be honest, I've been a bit annoyed with myself, specifically with what seems and feels to me to be irrational and uncontrollable cravings for alcohol. E.g., I try to not keep any alcohol at home but at night, I find the cravings so intense that I go buy some at the store--a feeling that I never experienced prior to Cymbalta. I was relieved, then, when I googled "Cymbalta and increased alcohol use" to find this thread in which others have expressed having similar feelings.
A second and almost immediately noticeable side-effect of the Cymbalta was constipation. (Excuse the details but: for my whole life I have regularly had one to two bowel movements per day. On the Cymbalta, I'm lucky if I have one bowel movement once every second or third day.) So I find myself today feeling better (mentally/emotionally) but no longer wanting to tolerate the increased alcohol cravings, the extra weight and irregular bowel issues and I have decided, in consultation with my psychiatrist, to ween myself off of the Cymbalta.
I also want to point out that part of this decision is due to the fact that I missed taking Cymbalta for one day because I ran out of it and the pharmacy was closed (for xmas). During that second day before I was able to refill the prescription I became concerned about the difficulties that I might face coming off of it. I was VERY dizzy--felt like I was falling any time I moved my eyes or head and my joints ached. So, while I appreciate having used Cymbalta--again, it was quite effective with treating my depression and anxiety--I feel that the negative side effects now outweigh the benefits.
Would I recommend Cymbalta for the treatment of depression/anxiety? Maybe. I would explain that while I found it to be extremely helpful in treating the symptoms of my depression/anxiety, it may very well have come at a cost that I am no longer willing to pay. Both here and on other forums I've read stories about how others have slipped down a troubling path--loosing job/partner/car, etc.--with increased alcohol cravings and consumption while they were on Cymbalta, and that they didn't realize this until they quit taking the Cymbalta at which time they discovered they weren't drinking anymore. I don't discount that there could be other factors that come into play with the increased alcohol cravings when one is on this medication, but certainly there is a statistically significant number of people with this issue that a more specific warning be issued to future potential users. (Yes, I was advised to avoid alcohol, but please believe me, these cravings are strangely INTENSE.)
So, my hopes: 1) decreased alcohol cravings, 2) resulting weight loss and 3) regular bowel movements!
And I'll report back in about a month to update my progress vis-à-vis these three goals.
2 weeks at 30mg / day
2 weeks at 20mg / day
2 weeks at 20mg every other day
I'm currently on day 4 of the first two weeks and notice feeling dizzy/light headed but otherwise "normal."
Something for those considering tapering or going cold turkey: my doc mentioned that there has only been one statistically/medically significant/relevant study that has been done on the potential effects of either quitting cold turkey or tapering. Strangely enough, the study was done in Sardinia, which I imagine has a relatively non-urban population so take this with some salt, and it found that people who quit abruptly/cold turkey have a statistically higher insidence of earlier onset/return of depressive symptoms than those who tapered off of their medication (SNRI or SSRI).
Given the billions of dollars/euros etc that are made on anti-depressants, I am really shocked that to date there is only 1 study examining this issue. A quick review of this and other forums shows that many people opt to quit cold turkey.
I'll do another follow-up in 2 or 3 weeks to give an update of how I am fairing.
I'll be starting the last two weeks of my tapering regimen. So far no noticeable mood changes/difficulties. What I have noticed:
a) alcohol consumption is WAY down. From nearly daily (+1 servings on many days) consumption, to once per week.
b) feelings of vertigo / dizziness present most of the time. Usually worse the first week that I decreased the medication.
c) I no longer feel like I have cotton head. Perhaps that was due to the Cymbalta, maybe the quantity of alcohol I was drinking, perhaps both. But I really like how I feel now much more than I liked how I felt say a month or two ago.
Another note, I never noticed this before, so I'm guessing the decreasing amount of the Cymbalta in my system is a contributing factor: In addition to not craving alcohol like I had been, now if I consume even one serving of alcohol I am noticeably and significantly dizzy the following day. (It only makes me want to drink even less
I'll update again in 2-3 weeks. By then I will have discontinued with the Cymbalta.
WOW, MAJOR dizziness feelings, especially by the early afternoon of the day that I don't take Cymbalta. You know, given all this, I'm really surprised they don't or won't make a 10mg capsule to assist with the withdrawal symptoms. And my positive/thankful attitude toward Cymbalta and it's maker is waning considering the withdrawal symptoms and side effects.
Alcohol consumption and desire to consume it continue to be way down. I'm thankful for that.
Also, I mentioned above that I have been having issues with constipation. Well, now that I'm down to 20mg every 2 days: I've pooped the last five days in a row!!!!!! And I don't feel guilty/ashamed for saying this!! The last time I remember having a daily bowl movement was before I started taking ssri/snri medications (3 years ago). Finally!! It's sooo nice to have my body and its regular functions back after so long!!! Hopefully now, I can begin to lose some of the 30 pounds I gained on Cymbalta.
With respect to BMs, I continue to be regular. In fact, I think I'm back to my pre-Cymbalta routine (1-2 / day) and I hope that not being regularly constipated will help with my weight situation. I've actually gained a few more pounds and am a bit upset about it. Given the various side-effects of the medication and the withdrawal symptoms, however, I would speculate that my body is in survival mode and that it will be some time before I start shedding weight.
Other changes/differences that I've noticed that may or may not be due to getting off this terrible drug:
- clear head / I don't feel cognitively numb
- better able to focus on what I'm doing (helpful for work and reading!)
- this is a strange one: I notice when I get into or out of bed and I stretch it feels AMAZING. Maybe I've just generally been numb for the past year or so and hadn't noticed that I stretched. But for some reason I notice how it feels now.
- generally I feel more energetic and more engaged in my interpersonal relationships.
Cymbalta is a terrible drug.
I was also on this horrid drug and nearly lost everything through the drinking, I would just keep drinking till i passed out, if i ran out I would get some more, one night i was violently sick. Since stopping and changing tablets I have not needed to drink. Dodgy side effect me thinks
I have just been reading these posts today and have to say it explains a lot. I have been on Duloxetine (aka Cymbalta) for 6-7 years and have been totally happy with the result it has on my depresssion - feel totally 'levelled' out - in fact at my last doctor appointment, she asked if I had had my medication reviewed and I said no, and that I didn't want it tampered with as I felt so stable mentally.
HOWEVER - like many here - I have noticed my alcohol intkae has been getting worse over many years - and I have been on many different anti-depressants since about 23 years old - i.e. 22 years eg Prozac, Cipramil and others. I can never remember having a problem at a young age - I could take alcohol or leave it. Now I dont seem to be able to keep track of how much and when I am having it and often like others have said don't realise how much until all of a sudden the 'light' has gone dark and I wake up the next morning. I feel like I have no control. I just assumed that like others in my family, I have a 'problem' - maybe I do but not so sure now. I find it hard to remember a time without anti-depressants and what I felt like. I know I started them due to a very stressful job - but that is no longer the problem and I am wondering if I have just come to rely on them now and am scared to do without them due to the severity of the withdrawal process - which I have been through before!
Although very scared, I thnk I will look into how to taper off and stop these tablets - and any other anti-depressants - for good. Even if it does not affect how much alcohol I drink, I think that being on such drugs for such a long time cannot be good for anyone - unless they really really need them and I am not sure that I do anymore.