Cymbalta is the brand name of the prescription medication Duloxetine. It belongs to the class of medication known as Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs). It is used in the treatment of neuropathic pain, generalized anxiety disorders, major depressive disorder, and chronic pain.
Most antidepressants can cause withdrawal symptoms– physical and mental symptoms that result when you stop taking a drug. Managing withdrawal symptoms can be very uncomfortable, tasking, and in some cases, severe, if not properly managed.
Cymbalta Withdrawal Symptoms
You are more likely to have withdrawal symptoms if you stop using the drug abruptly. The timeline of these symptoms varies from person to person, depending on the length of drug use and the dose being used. These symptoms could be both physical and psychological. Here are some:
- Severe headache
- Nausea – the sensation of wanting to vomit
- Anxiety and irritability
- Fatigue – feelings of tiredness or lack of energy
- Nightmares and inability to sleep
- Excessive sweating
- Paresthesia – numbness or prickling sensation in the arms, legs, hands, and feet
- Suicidal thoughts
How To Ease Cymbalta Withdrawal Symptoms
1. Return To The Medication and Taper Off
If you have tried to quit ‘cold turkey’, that is, by stopping the medication abruptly and you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms, you may need to go back to the drug. Quitting abruptly usually results in very intense and sometimes unbearable withdrawal symptoms because your body was too used to the drug and was not ready to quit.
It is best you return to your initial dose of the medication and then taper off gradually under a doctor’s supervision.
Your doctor will design a gradual dose reduction schedule for you so that your body gets used to less and less amount of Cymbalta before you eventually stop the drug altogether.
With a reduced dose, you may experience some mild withdrawal symptoms which would decrease over time. Then your doctor can prescribe a further reduced dose. The dose-reduction method of drug withdrawal is called ‘tapering off’.
In some cases, it may be necessary to reduce the dose in very minute bits. This is called micro-tapering. It is a long term process that can span over several months and it is best done under the supervision of a doctor. With micro tapering, you could almost bypass withdrawal symptoms.
Choosing to use this method requires extreme patience, consistency and professional supervision. It is helpful when you focus your mind on the benefits of withdrawal rather than the length of time it takes to get off the drug.
2. Talk To Your Doctor
Always get professional guidance. Make sure your doctor is aware of the withdrawal symptoms you are having.
If your doctor creates a tapering off schedule for you, make sure you stick with the schedule. Be committed to the new dose regimen and keep your doctor informed about any symptoms you may be experiencing.
If you had been taking Cymbalta for the management of depression, chances are the symptoms of depression may return as you gradually reduce your dose. Be quick to report such symptoms to your doctor.
In order to ease the returning symptoms especially in the case of management of depression, your doctor may replace Cymbalta with another antidepressant that has milder withdrawal effects.
3. Maintain Very Helpful Social Connections
Apart from the extreme discomfort, withdrawing from Cymbalta might also lead to withdrawing from family and friends that care. A good support system is important.
Resist the temptation to withdraw from people, rather, stay around people that care and are supportive. Be quick to share whatever emotions you may be feeling no matter how overwhelming it may seem to you.
You may also consider checking in to a facility with recovery programs that support antidepressant withdrawals. Some facilities admit their clients, while others just require regular visits.
Being in groups and following up on the recovery process of others can be a good way to help ease yours. You may consider an online support group as well, they are also quite beneficial.
4. Exercise Regularly
Exercise is recommended in the management of depression and it has other mental health benefits. Exercise can improve your mood and motivation. Aim at an exercise schedule of at least 30 minutes a day for three days a week.
Group exercises are also recommended. Again, please discuss your exercise plans with your doctor, so you can get professional counsel. Some exercise routines may not be good for you.
5. A Healthy Diet
Healthy food options such as nuts, vegetables, whole-grain, lean protein foods will help you. Withdrawing from Cymbalta may result in reduced appetite, hence you must be deliberate about not skipping meals and eating healthy.