Mental health providers often prescribe antidepressants for long-term treatment of several mental illnesses. But there might also come a time in your mental health journey when you no longer need to take medication. While this decision shows progress in your mental health, or that you need to explore other treatment options, there can be side effects from easing off a prescription.
We’re here to teach you about the common antidepressant called Cymbalta, as well as how to handle Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms once it’s no longer the best treatment option for you.
What is Cymbalta?
Cymbalta is the brand name for a common antidepressant, generically known as duloxetine. Other brand names include Drizalma Sprinkle and Irenka. It’s a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, or an SNRI, which boosts serotonin as well as norepinephrine in your brain. Serotonin and norepinephrine help maintain emotions.
Cymbalta can be used to treat a few different mental and physical conditions, including:
- Major depressive disorder
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Chronic musculoskeletal pain
- Diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain
Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms
There may come a time in your treatment journey when you or your mental health provider decide that Cymbalta is no longer effective, or that the side effects are too much for your body. If you stop taking Cymbalta, or you start to wean off it, it’s important to know how your body may react to the withdrawal. Once your body gets accustomed to a medication, it doesn’t always react kindly when it’s no longer receiving it. Withdrawal can manifest itself as both behavioral and physical symptoms.
Here are 10 possible side effects of Cymbalta withdrawal:
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Muscle cramps
- Heart palpitations
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
Tapering off Cymbalta
It’s recommended that you talk to your mental health provider before stopping or weaning off Cymbalta to reduce the risk and severity of having dangerous side effects.
Withdrawing any drug from your body depends on its half-life. A drug’s half-life refers to how long it takes for half of the drug to work its way through your system. Cymbalta has a half-life of about 12 hours; in other words, it takes about half a day for half of a dose to leave your body. A quick half-life like this means that your body will start to go through withdrawal very quickly after the drug makes its way through your system.
Most medical professionals will prescribe a tapering plan that allows you to slowly lower your dosage over time to slowly ease your body’s dependence on the drug.
It’s recommended that you taper off antidepressant medication over the course of four or more weeks. The tapering plan will depend on factors such as:
- Your current dose
- How long you’ve been taking it
- Your medical history
How to manage Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms
Even if you’re following a tapering plan, you may still experience Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms. They can even last up to six weeks. But there are some ways you can alleviate these uncomfortable and/or painful withdrawal side effects.
If you’re struggling with Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms, you can try:
- Over-the-counter drugs — Treating your headaches, body aches and nausea with over-the-counter pain relievers can help alleviate some of the symptoms.
- Leaning on your friends and family — Having a support system to open up to about your feelings can make a huge difference when you’re withdrawing from an antidepressant, especially if you’re having depressed or anxious thoughts
- Self-care — Practicing self-care will help both your body and mind recover during Cymbalta withdrawal. This can mean anything from giving yourself plenty of rest to distracting yourself with your favorite movie.
Lightfully Behavioral Health can help you when you withdraw from Cymbalta
It’s not always easy to withdraw from an antidepressant that you’re used to, like Cymbalta. But it’s not the only treatment available for your mental illness. If you determine that Cymbalta isn’t the right treatment for your depression or anxiety, it’s time to find other treatment options.
We offer four programs at our mental health treatment centers to assist you with your mental health journey: residential treatment, Virtual Intensive Outpatient Program (vIOP), Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), and Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), also called our Day Treatment Program.
Change is possible. When you’re ready to take the first step after withdrawing from Cymbalta, reach out to our Admissions Concierge Team. We’ll take the next steps together, toward the fullest, brightest version of you.