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A Cymbalta Warning

griffggriff Posts: 496
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in Pain Medications
Hi all,

I thought I'd share my recent experience dealing with Cymbalta- something I'd never given a thought to.

Last week, Tuesday night is when it started, I came down with a stomach bug. It was bad; I couldn't keep water down and if I took my oral meds of course they came right back up. I'd start to feel a little better and then it would hit again. Thank God that I'm on the patch for pain because I don't know how I would have controlled my pain.

By Saturday night, although feeling a little better, I still hadn't ingested much more than water. I woke up with body wracking spasms, I mean my entire body would clench up and then relax again. I looked like Linda Blair in "The Exorsist". I had almost no control of my muscles. My husband took me to the ER- I thought I was low on potassium or just plain dehydrated.

Actually I was suffering from Seratonin Withdrawl Syndrome! Because of the stomach flu and the abrupt stopping of Cymbalta my body was completly devoid of seratonin. When you take Cymbalta your body can actually stop producing it's own seratonin. I had no idea that something like that, while it's rare, could happen.

I guess the moral of the story is "Don't be like Griff!" If you are sick for that long you should see a doctor, especially with the kinds of medications a lot of us are taking. I'm fine now but never, never again want to go through something like that. It almost makes me want to turn in my medication badge and go it solo......almost.



  • Hiya :D Gentle , Gentle hugs >:D< >:D< Hope you are feeling much better now >:D< Its an awful experience for anyone to go through #:S So are you on a medication programme? :? I have been through withdrawel 3 times now :& And i would not wish that experience on anyone @) With you to have a bug on top of the withdrawel is awful >:D< Wishing you well O:)

    Angie >:D< :H
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832

    I am so sorry to hear you had to endure this experience, A big thank you to you for sharing and warning us of what could happen and how we should look out for the warning signs and get help immediately.


    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Thanks for that information. I had taken Cymbalta a few years ago, but quit on my own because I felt more depressed on it(or any anti-depressant for that matter). PLUS, if I skipped a day, or could not get to the pharmacy before 6pm closing and had to do without the Cymbalta I would become extremely depressed.

    I hope you are feeling better.

  • I had a very similar experience with both Celexa and Zoloft and have sworn that I will NEVER again take ANY anti-depressent medication...cuz in my opinion, how they make you feel is far and away much nastier than any level of depression could possibly be! I have no idea how those meds are ever approved for human consumption, and all I ever hear are horror stories regarding their use.

    When it comes to chronic pain sufferers, once our pain is under control, any level of depression drops dramatically...not vice-versa like many psycho-tropic pushing Doc would like us to be believe.

  • Griff thanks for the info.I'm glad that your feeling better .Its scarey some the of effects that the meds. have on your body. :)
  • WOW~~It's so nice to read another opinion that masks my own in this situation!!

    I used to take anti depressants,but they never really helped.It was only when my pain was treated and under control did my depression slip away.

    That's not to say that people in CP do not get depressed of course,but I honestly believe that if it's the pain causing the depression...treat the pain.If the depression is still there well,a person has more to their life than pain.I am not only my pain,my pain is not all that I am,etc.

  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,841
    My Pain Management doctor started my on Cymbalta , 30mg once at night about 3 months ago. So far I am doing well with it. That along with the Neurontin, Zanaflex and Opana seems to be ok.
    I was using Ambien at night to get a good night sleep, but too many times I would go into these wild situations of basically sleep walking, doing weird stuff and never remembering it.
    Cymbalta has seem to take the place of Ambien in helping with a good night sleep. Perhaps 30mg once a day is not enough to cause some of the problems you described as well as others.
    Hope you are doing the best you can, I know you have been through a lot recently.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
    I just came off of it about 3 or 4 mos. ago. But I had read about all of the withdrawals and problems that some individuals go through withdrawing.
    I slowly tapered off over a period of about 9 mos.
    Good luck, Jim
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • #:S Thank you for the information. I took Cymbalta over a year ago for several months, but did not notice any difference so I stopped taking it. My pain doc recently suggested that I start again because he thinks that it may help with some of pain. I am seeing the doc again next week and will be sure to bring up this side effect with him before I start taking it-Thanks.
  • While I have been slightly depressed I mainly take Cymbalta for the effects it has on my nerve pain. I am allergic to Gabapentin and Lyrica did nothing for me. I don't have any problem with taking meds for depression- any tool that one can use to come up from it needs to be utilized. I prefer to talk out my problems, which come from the fact that I am angry that someone came along and did this to my life as much as it is my pain. I don't want this to discourage anyone from using help needed, even antidepressants. I'm still taking the Cymbalta! My pain is as managed as it can be without turning me into a zombie. I make the choice not to take more meds. I like my mind and lose too much of it in the pain management process. I'd rather suffer the physical pain than the intellictual kind, ya know?

    The trouble here is that I wasn't trying to wean off or stop- I just got sick and it snowballed from the withdrawl from the medication. Being as I hate doctors I just kept telling myself I was going to be okay- big mistake. I wanted to warn any of you that are on it that this rare side effect CAN happen and is very dangerous. If you are on a medication that inhibits your own seratonin production you can go into severe withdrawl if you stop it suddenly, even for a few days.

    Thank all of you for your kind words. I'm doing very well now aside from the usual. Things are still very hard but I'm doing my best. Hope all of you are doing better!

  • Everyone that suffers depression suffers varying degrees of it. I personally know someone that would and has been suicidal without the antdepression meds so to say that nobody should ever take it would be a very uneducated opinion.
  • http://www.spine-health.com/forum/pain-medications/rushed-er-seuzures

    If you haven't read this thread, there's some links about serotonin syndrome as well as fancypants reaction to anti-depressants and ultram. Can be some serious consequences.
  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,730
    Because of the worsening side effects. But I had to tapper over a long period of time.
    Once I was completely off of it my nerve pain got way worse. And I haven't been able to tolerate any of the other "nerve" meds. So I just have to deal with it.
    And Ive found I still need some anti depressant meds.
    Constant pain just gets to me I guess. And the p.m. Doc. can't seem to get the right combination for me.
    I see him on Friday so we'll see what he suggests this time.
    Good luck, Jim
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • I had never heard of it until it happened to me. That's why I posted my experience- perhaps it can help others recognize the symptoms. My doctor saw no reason to take me off of it; I've been on it for well over a year and have done very well. I just have to be extra careful not to miss a dose even if I'm sick. I'll read your link, thank you for posting it.

    JJ, I agree with you. The choice to take antidepressants or not is between a patient and his/her doctor. As much as I hate taking ANY medications I recognize the fact that, at this point in my life, I would have no quality of life without them.

  • Glad you are feeling better but sorry you had to experience that! With me, I was taking Effexor (another anti-depressant, anti-anxiety med) and had been weaning for 4 weeks when the same thing hit me!! The worst of it hit in the middle of the night, hubby called 911 and I went by ambulance. My blood pressure was dangerously low and I guess I had gotten massively dehydrated from all the side effects of the withdrawal, and this was after a month!! I ended up admitted for 2 days!

    It is a good reminder for everyone to be every careful and follow doctor's orders. I would never have thought that getting sick could cause that so fast, so thanks for sharing!

    Take care,

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