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Cymbalta Withdrawal Symptoms, (Duloxetine) Side-Effects, Treatment Help

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Alternative to Meds Editorial Team
Written by Diane Ridaeus
Medically Reviewed by Dr John Motl MD

Have you found that even though your prescriber was quick to get you on the drug, that they seem to have no idea about what you are going through trying to endure Cymbalta withdrawal?

Antidepressants like Cymbalta, despite overwhelming evidence and patient testimonials, still get overlooked as being a source of many of the patient’s problems. Cymbalta can have serious side effects and debilitating withdrawal characteristics for certain persons. Unfortunately, these are the exact patients that tend to get abandoned in their very real suffering.

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Cymbalta Warning: Cymbalta withdrawal and poorly planned withdrawal from similar drugs can be risky if done too fast, or without adequate guidance and support. Consumers, physicians, and caregivers are advised to choose taper methods informed by the many serious potential consequences when attempting to stop taking Cymbalta or any SNRI drug too abruptly.

Concerns About Cymbalta Withdrawal

The concerns about Cymbalta withdrawal, Cymbalta addiction, and the drug, in general, cover a wide range of topics, which we will aim to address in the FAQ’s below. We will discuss how to get off Cymbalta, plus the drug’s mechanism of action upon the brain and body, and interactions with other substances that one should be aware of. Also, the information below covers Cymbalta side effects, pregnancy-specific data, and more.

cymbalta withdrawalAn SNRI type of antidepressant can often produce unexpected adverse effects, despite any failure on the part of the drug manufacturer to fully and clearly disclose these to the consumer. Anyone considering taking such a drug is well advised to research the matter thoroughly so that the most optimally informed decisions can be made. Perhaps Cymbalta alternative treatment should also be discussed, as well as drug-free remedies for mental unease.

If you are currently taking Cymbalta or a similar SNRI medication, are suffering from Cymbalta addiction or dependence, or Cymbalta side effects, and are considering getting off Cymbalta or any similar antidepressant drug, please remember the strong FDA warning against abruptly stopping Cymbalta.2,5 Stopping Cymbalta all at once is definitely a health risk and should not be done, except of course in the case of Serotonin Syndrome, a specialized case, which is outlined further below.

Planning Your Cymbalta Withdrawal

Please use the data here freely in coordination with your primary caregivers, to assist you in the information-gathering phase, which is essential to successfully plan your Cymbalta withdrawal treatment. It is possible to stop taking Cymbalta with a minimum of discomfort. It can be easier to do once a person learns important details about how to get off Cymbalta, some of which information is below.

Cymbalta Withdrawal

At ATMC I was always supported. The staff was great at providing opportunities for me to work towards stability. What helped me here was always keeping a positive outlook and the constant encouragement and reminders to keep faith in myself.



What is Cymbalta (duloxetine) used for?

depression anxiety disordersThe SNRI antidepressant Cymbalta (duloxetine) is most widely used to treat depression, anxiety disorders, and certain types of pain. Following is a timeline showing when the FDA approval for these uses came into effect:  Some of the uses of Cymbalta are “off-label” which are not all listed here. SNRIs in general have developed a very long list of these.

  • In August of 2004, Cymbalta was approved for treating depression, and a month later the FDA added approval for treating diabetes-related peripheral neuropathy.
  • In 2006, the drug gained approval to be prescribed for the treatment of GAD, or general anxiety disorder.
  • In 2008, the FDA granted approval for prescribing Cymbalta in managing symptoms relating to Fibromyalgia, a medical condition that causes widespread pain throughout the entire body, rather than pain localized to a specific area or body part.
  • In 2010, the FDA expanded its approval for Cymbalta to be prescribed in the treatment of CMP, or chronic musculoskeletal pain, for example, chronic back pain.
  • An SNRI is sometimes prescribed for conditions that lay outside the above list, which practice is generally called “off-label” prescribing. Often, where a certain condition has not yet been successfully treated or managed with a particular medication, trials are done to explore medications that may be of some help.
  • When enough positive results have been documented, such off-label use can eventually become FDA approved.

Some off-label uses for Cymbalta (duloxetine) in the USA include:

  • Urinary incontinence in females, i.e., after pelvic surgery.3
  • Chemotherapy-induced neuropathy, i.e., after breast cancer treatment.

Can Holistic Treatment Help after Cymbalta Withdrawal?

Speak to your caregiver, or ask us at Alternative to Meds Center for alternative treatments that do not involve SNRI drugs. It is possible to attain natural mental health.

Cymbalta Alternative Names and Slang

Duloxetine is the generic name for the brand or trade name Cymbalta. Other trade names include Yentreve, and the drug is sold in the EU as Xeristar and Ariclaim.

Care should be taken not to confuse Cymbalta or its generic name, duloxetine with “SALA” drugs, meaning drug names that sound alike or look alike. To avoid mistaking one drug for another, drug manufacturers often use specific colors, add markings, or use other distinctive features to help minimize this risk.

For example, the Institute for Safe Medication Practices4 lists Symbyax as a drug that is often confused with Cymbalta (duloxetine). Symbyax is an SSRI drug that compounds two drugs:

  • An SSRI called fluoxetine, and
  • An antipsychotic drug called olanzapine

These similarities make Symbyax a drug which might be confused with Cymbalta, but are, in fact, much different from each other in how and when they would be prescribed, despite their similar-sounding names.

Cymbalta Side Effects

cymbalta side effectsCymbalta (duloxetine) primarily targets the serotonin and norepinephrine neurotransmitters, and to a lesser extent, dopamine. Cymbalta has a blocking effect so that these naturally occurring neurotransmitters are restrained from following their normal pathway. Instead of being reabsorbed, they become suspended. The resulting build-up can result in a wide variety of effects such as mood-brightening or feelings of euphoria that speak to its popularity in the treatment of depression and pain relief.

These effects are temporary because after the neurotransmitters have been suspended or pooled, they eventually degrade and become inactive. This can result in a deficit over time, as the drug does not create new stores of these naturally produced chemicals, but only purges and uses up existing resources in the body.

The result of this deficit might explain some of the more long-term negative Cymbalta side effects where an initially perceived benefit can often be overshadowed by other troubling side effects that begin to appear after weeks or months. There are hundreds of reported Cymbalta side effects but we will focus on the most common ones here (1%-10% or higher) and a number of less common reactions that would signal a high health risk and potentially require swift medical intervention, should they occur.

    • Suicidal behavior, suicidal ideation, especially in those under the age of 25
    • Respiratory tract infection, throat/mouth inflammation or pain
    • Seizures
    • Gastrointestinal hemorrhage, or other areas of internal bleeding
    • Pain in the upper right abdomen area
    • Swelling of the abdomen region
    • Blurred vision, dilated pupils
    • Back or neck pain, muscle spasms
    • Influenza
    • Anorgasmia, premature ejaculation, decreased libido, erectile dysfunction
    • Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (extremely serious reaction of the eyes, skin, and mucous membranes caused by certain medications, signaled by fever and flu-like symptoms, followed by discoloration and rash/eruptions/skin ulcers which can become septic, the skin then blisters and falls off, requires medical intervention done best in a burn unit or ICU, and is fatal in approximately 5 to 10% of cases.)
    • Pruritis (severe and unrelenting itchiness)
    • Hyperhidrosis (extreme, excessive sweating)
    • Spiking blood pressure
    • Heart palpitations
    • Fatigue
    • Vertigo
    • Decreased appetite
    • Weight loss/gain
    • Worsened depression
    • Anxiety
    • Mood swings
    • Dehydration
    • Hyponatremia (abnormally low sodium level, can result in seizure, coma, spasms, mental confusion, muscle weakness, inability to speak clearly, vomiting, swelling of the body, etc.)
    • Insomnia, abnormal dreams, sleep disorders
    • Emotional blunting (reduction or total absence of normal emotional responses)
    • Mental confusion, inability to focus or think clearly
    • Panic attacks
    • Irritability, hostility, aggressive, impulsive behaviors
    • Akathisia (a relentless internal sensation of discomfort involving a compulsion to rock, pace, march, shift the feet, or otherwise stay in constant motion)
    • Mania or the lesser hypomania (an abnormally intense episode of racing thoughts, hyperactivity, euphoria, decreased need for sleep, disorganized behavior, elevated self-esteem, grandiosity, etc.)
    • Dizziness
    • Tremors
    • Vomiting
    • Darkened urine (may be a sign of liver or other organ dysfunction and should be medically assessed without delay.)
    • Abdominal pain
    • Unusual bruising or tenderness in the upper abdominal area may be a sign of internal bleeding and requires medical attention.
    • Serotonin Syndrome (a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when too much serotonin is in the body which can result in seizure, coma, heart palpitations, and other symptoms and requires immediate medical intervention.)

Not only is it possible for the client to feel better very early in the process, but the person can relax and complete the withdrawal process without unnecessarily harsh adverse effects, worry or strain. Choosing such a Cymbalta withdrawal program can help focus on the benefits of regaining mental health naturally.

Treatment for Cymbalta Abuse and Addiction

Because of the potentially overwhelming difficulties of coming off a drug like Cymbalta (duloxetine), it can be wise to choose treatment of a mild nature, to ensure a safe and comfortable withdrawal experience. Cymbalta addiction or dependency can be overcome. Residential treatment is often the best choice to significantly reduce any discomforts that otherwise may make withdrawal near to impossible to accomplish without step-by-step help.

Initial lab tests can be utilized in order to get a snapshot of existing neurochemical anomalies and deficits, as well as possible nutritional deficiencies and extant toxic body burden. Then, each of these areas can be addressed using a combination of protocols that work to safely and gently restore nutritive values, remove toxins, and stabilize a person’s neurochemistry.

The advantages of these steps are clear, especially when they are done prior to beginning the taper process:

  • Improved appetite
  • Deeper sleep
  • Increased energy and well-being

This is the preferred point at which to begin the gradual Cymbalta withdrawal steps.

Not only is it possible for the client to feel better very early in the process, but the person can relax and complete the withdrawal process without unnecessarily harsh adverse effects, worry, or strain.

At Alternative to Meds Center, we are specialists in providing safer, gentler ways to overcome dependency and achieve safe Cymbalta withdrawal, as well as safe and comfortable withdrawal from other prescription drugs.

1. Hoog SL, Cheng Y, Elpers J, Dowsett SA “Duloxetine and Pregnancy Outcomes: Safety Surveillance Findings” NCBI [INTERNET] 2013 Feb 28 [cited 2020 Jul 25]

2. FDA label Cymbalta (duloxetine delayed-release capsules) [cited 2020 Oct 6]

3. Schlenker B, Gratzke C, Reich O, Schorsch I, Seitz M, Stief CG “Preliminary Results on the Off-Label Use of Duloxetine for the Treatment of Stress Incontinence After Radical Prostatectomy or Cystectomy” PubMed [INTERNET] 2006 Jun [cited 2020 Jul 25]

4. “List of Confused Drug Names” Institute for Safe Medication Practices, 2019 Feb 28 [cited 2020 Jul 25]

5. FDA Label Cymbalta [cited 2020 Sep 22]

This content has been reviewed and approved by a licensed physician.

Dr. John Motl, M.D.

Dr. Motl is currently certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology in Psychiatry, and Board eligible in Neurology and licensed in the state of Arizona.  He holds a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in biology and minors in chemistry and philosophy. He graduated from Creighton University School of Medicine with a Doctor of Medicine.  Dr. Motl has studied Medical Acupuncture at the Colorado School of Traditional Chinese Medicine and at U.C.L.A.

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Nothing on this Website is intended to be taken as medical advice. The information provided on the website is intended to encourage, not replace, direct patient-health professional relationships. Always consult with your doctor before altering your medications. Adding nutritional supplements may alter the effect of medication. Any medication changes should be done only after proper evaluation and under medical supervision.

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