Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Withdrawing from Cymbalta

I went on Cymbalta a little over a year ago, when I was experiencing crazy mood swings. Chelle dragged me in to see the doctor because I was driving her apeshit. I gave a list of symptoms: mood swings, anxiety, irregular periods, sweats, occasional chills. I'm 47. We decided more than likely I was just suffering from perimenopause. So I had two choices: have bloodwork done and then have an estrogen regime worked out for me, or try Cymbalta. Apparently it has proven to help with menopausal symptoms.

Well, there's been a lot of press about estrogen treatments being linked to breast cancer, so I went with the Cymbalta. It did seem to help my mood swings--I chilled out considerably. But the sweats and stuff didn't get better, of course.

Eight months ago, I got sober and THAT got rid of the sweats, shakiness, irritability, etc, all related to alcohol withdrawal. I may be perimenopausal, but I don't think I need Cymbalta anymore for anxiety and mood swings because those things have essentially vanished from my life.

I am presently tapering off Cymbalta. It's no picnic.

SSRI's are notoriously uncomfortable to come off. Cold turkey is consequently a terrible idea. My doctor is having me go from 30 mgs daily to 15mgs daily (I have to open the capsule and pour the contents in a little bowl, then take half of it since there are no 15mg capsules). I've been doing this for a little over a week. Withdrawal symptoms have included extreme tiredness and achiness, dizziness, a spacey feeling, and vague "zaps" in my head. Don't know how else to describe them. They're like small electrical jolts, if I turn my head quickly or stand up suddenly).

Today I'm going to 15mg every other day. So I will experience another round of withdrawal symptoms. I didn't take any Cymbalta this morning, so I anticipate an intensification of symptoms in a few more hours, maybe tonight.

Once those lessen, in about another week or so, I should be able to come off entirely. (If that proves too uncomfortable, I suppose I could always divide one capsule into quarter doses--that's kind of what I had to do when I came off Paxil eight or nine years ago--but I hope not. It took me three months to wean off Paxil, and I took it for less than a year.)

Anyway, just letting y'all know. So if I disappear for a few days, it's probably because I'm not feeling too great and also because I have a ton of final essays and exams to grade.

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