Night of the Living Cymbalta: B’s Story

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October 8, 2012 | 63 Comments

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  1. The nightmares were the worst; the second worst, was lying in the foetal position for weeks and weeks with all normal functions gone. To lay in your bed, crying, helpless, confused, manic, anorexic, hyperventilatin;, so scared that even getting up for two seconds threw you into a mental panic, no way of going outdoors, not for a second, much too frightening.
    How were we, strong, upbeat and literate human beings reduced to this?
    And then, to make it all completely unbearable, our gps were beating us up as well?
    So, to go through all this chemical manifestation of complete ‘horror’, we are punished, too.
    If we are still here after all this, we are the bravest, most complete people on the planet and I cannot wait for the day, that given a pill; then they should accept the bitterest pill, loss of their positions for mental abuse and cruelty. Because that is what it is. Cruel, heartless, cold, matter of fact, lack of joined up thinking. The prescribers have no sense of right and wrong and haven’t even the intelligence to think about it.
    To even attempt to fight the layers of gps, psychologists, psychiatrists, drug regulators and universal health authorities begins to look impossible. But, if we were brave enough to know that it was chemical drugs messing around with our serotonin, than we are brave enough to keep afloat the premise that nightmares, foetal positions, anorexia and numerous other side effects were not of our making and just develop our minds that one bit further; that they have been violated and stretched, and just keep going with what we know is the right course.
    Why has this mental putrefraction of our minds, been allowed to continue all these years.

    • Most if not all posts that I’ve read are in regards to nightmares and withdrawal. Myself, however developed and continue to have nightmares on a daily basis, and I’m NOT weaning from this drug. My dosage is 60 mg/day. Now the odd part is, when this all began, approximately one month into starting Cynalta, my dreams began, odd but interesting, graduating to down-right terrifying! In the beginning the dreams were something to look forward to, interesting and very creative. If this is what it’s like now, I seriously think I will seek out my doctor again if/when I decide to reduce or eliminate.

      • I resisted taking this drug for ptsd. But began taking it starting in 2014, took 60mg daily, for three and a half years. Today is my sixth day with out the drug, cold turkey. I have 24 1 mg klonapin remaining before withdrawl from that will begin in about one week. can anyone guess how I feel right now. oh yeah, son failing 9th grade, wife divorcing over anger issues. that are better, so she blind too. anyway, i guess y’all been needing an old hippy to say, i feel like i’m on acid. these withdrawl symptoms; like light saber sound when i move my eyes, high pitched whistles, light feels funny, i see tracers, i feel like i’m humming, i can hear my phone ringing, even though that is no longer possible. i took the battery out to prove it was still ringing, but i am only one can hear, mad as hell, at what?, this, that. i stopped driving yesterday, road rage. i can go on and on, what a trip. the worst is the pain, i am disabled, busted, broke down, part metal, tbi x4 or more, open heart, diabetic, uh, just re-read, yeah forgot. i feel like i am in trouble, cant go to va. but i am still under control on self house arrest locked away in bathroom in back bedroom, sounds sane?

  2. The same day this story went up, the Institute for Safe Medicine Practices (ISMP) issued a bulletin on Cymbalta withdrawal. Pharmalot has a summary here:

    http://www.pharmalot.com/2012/10/just-like-that-trying-to-discontinue-cymbalta/

    In the first quarter of 2012 the FDA received 48 reports of serious withdrawal problems for Cymbalta, more than any other drug including high-octane opiate painkillers like Fentanyl! Turns out Eli Lilly knew plenty about this, as early as 2001 … but they did not warn. Looks like they studiously avoided looking at withdrawal problems after the first two weeks as well.

    The FDA link in this story is pretty amazing in its own right … most of the information is from online chatrooms! Someone at the FDA at least is brave enough to admit that laypeople groping around on the Internet and trying to help each other are amassing more, and better, information about drug side effects than the FDA’s own med-watch system.

    • During Cymbalta’s clinical trial Traci Johnson, a healthy 19 years old woman, committed suicide by hanging.
      Her body was found on February, 7 at Eli-Lilly facilities.

      Search for her name.

    • I forgot to add that FDA HELPS the marketing of these drugs.
      Don’t wait anything from them.
      The fourth phase of clinical trials= surveillance after the drug is at the market.

      What do they say about the complains of people? They are “anecdote evidence”.
      Do they do this surveillance?

      No. They only want to put… and it goes on and on….

    • We need to help each other and put a stop to this. I have turned into a monster and I relate to each story or comment listed . What is our country waiting for …… there will be numerous accidents because of this and nothing ever changes until there is serious injury

  3. Many of the psychological and physiological effects of psychotropic drug withdrawal are caused by rebound effects of various kinds. Rebound effect is the production of increased negative symptoms when the effect of a drug has passed or the patient no longer responds to it. If a drug produces a rebound effect, the condition it was used to treat may come back even stronger when the drug is discontinued. Cymbalta increases not only serotonin but noradrenaline and the latter is known to play a significant role in sleep. In what is known as REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, dreaming is believed to occur. Various studies have shown that what we will call “dream sleep” depends on the simultaneous inactivity of noradrenaline and serotonin neurons. If Cymbalta withdrawal causes a rebound effect in either, we may reasonably propose an effect on dream sleep. There is extensive neuroscientific research that shows that noradrenaline plays a crucial role in the regulation of REM sleep. The presence of excess noradrenaline in the brain does not allow the generation of normal “dream” sleep. We know that during normal REM sleep, breathing and heart rate change. Noradrenaline is associated with the “fight or flight” fear response that increases both breathing rate and heart rate, just as happens in REM sleep but if noradrenaline is constantly elevated through a rebound effect, it will probably cause these effects throughout the sleep period instead of only during REM sleep. Thus, the person is in a heightened state of fear arousal during all stages of sleep.
    Let’s assume for the moment that withdrawal from Cymbalta causes a rebound effect by increasing noradrenaline, thereby interfering with normal REM sleep. Based on what is known of dreaming, REM sleep, partial deprivation of REM sleep, physiological changes in blood pressure, heart rate and breathing during normal sleep, nightmares should not be surprising, particularly those that will induce the “fight or flight” fear response.
    If we can use a means of combating elevated noradrenaline, there may be a way to prevent these debilitating nightmares. I would be interested in Dr Healy’s views, in particular on the use of gradually reducing amounts of benzodiazepines/anxiolytics under close monitoring during the withdrawal period, keeping in mind the preference not to add yet another drug to combat the adverse effects of another.

    • I never had any combative drug while taking it, nor going off of it. Your forensic response to somehow sound like you are impressing people with your knowledge I could have found on wikipedia sounds like some sort of a defense or an excuse for this medication being on the market. The described symptoms of this article were present while I was on the medication, they did not change during the withdraw, they were the same but I experienced hallucinations, and something I call “the spiders.” It felt like spiders were crawling on me along with cold sweats. I now suffer from insomnia and I have a very hard time sleeping. I have been off the medication since August of 2013. Ever since I have been off of it I suffer and increased heart rate, disturbed sleep in which i hear loud noises that wake me up. I am highly sensitive to noises while trying to fall asleep. They are much more loud to me than they are the normal person. The list is quite larger. I am a very self observant person, none of these thoughts, emotions, feelings, or symptoms were a present problem before I was carelessly given this medication.

    • In April of 2014 I stopped taking cymbalta, at which time the nightmares began. Always a fight or flight scenario. I woke up screaming more than once. The highlight was a nightmare in which I dreamed I was a cop and was driving to tackle the bad guy. In reality I dove out of bed a face first ( all 215 lbs) into the night stand. On an instant I was woke up and knocked out! In my dream I simultaneously dreamed that someone stepped out of nowhere and hit me across the face with a 2×4.
      I woke up with blood all over me. I don’t know if I was out a minute or an hour. I had cut my right cheek all the way to the bone, pulled away the connective tissue from the bone and fractured my cheek bone.

      I was very lucky! An inch higher would impacted the orbital socket. An inch lower and my jaw would have been fractured.

      I suffered from post concussion syndrome as a result which included cluster and migraine heads every day for 7 weeks.

    • Wow, if the people who made these actually understood exactly how these drugs work maybe it wouldn’t be so risky taking them. Psychotropic drugs often have different effects on different people or even paradoxical effects. It seems to me that Cymbalta is pushed by direct marketing and by marketing to Doctors none of whom seem to have a clue of the risks or how it actually affects the brain. Three people I know had horrific experiences coming off SNRIs: one using it to try to quit smoking committed suicide (Wellbutrin), one had nausea, nightmares and a complete breakdown resulting in a fatal car crash (Cymbalta), and the lucky friend who had the help of a pharmacist to taper extremely slowly suffered a nervous breakdown but is okay now (Effexor).

    • That makes sense. (Side note: I just woke up from some real life vivid craziness and realized it was hrs of dreaming in 30 min of sleep it was horrible) I just started cymbalta 2 months ago and was good on taking it everyday I just realized tonight I missed it for a few days with so much going on in my life right now I just forgot about it till tonight witch is why I searched this.

      • Yeah me too,I didn’t take my cymbalta for three day cuz have a cold and didn’t want drug interaction but now I wish I just had the interaction,my nightmares were HORRIBLE I never in my wildest thoughts could think I would dream anything so

        bloody,and graffic,that’s why I googled it also,I thought I saw somewhere about bad dream not taking it so instantly came downstairs and took it,then googled it,now I’m scared to go back to sleep or try to come off it now what do us poor souls do? This is absolutely horrifying.And very disturbing.

  4. “…I was VERY lucky in one sense: by this time I began hitting the Internet and discovered that…”

    This is how must people find the truth. Usually psychiatrists deny side effects, withdrawal symptoms…

    It’s been like and it seems that they will not inform that there are numerous problems.
    I have I blog I started in 2008 and for three years I shared my experience and the information I got from psychiatrists – those who are trying to stop the criminal prescription of drugs that alter people’s health in numerous ways.

    Many bloggers stop because it seems that no matter what is said they will keep drugging people.

    They don’t spare children or even babies…

    What is being done by medicine and psychiatry is particular are crimes against humanity.
    Medicine is criminal.

    Blaming the Big Pharma is not enough. Those who are prescribing have already enough data in their clinical experience, even thou they don’t listen to patients, and by what is being done by psychiatrists, lawyers, patients is all over the internet.

    They keep pushing these drugs and don’t know how to help people to withdraw.
    They even keep saying these drugs are not addictive.

    • Well said. I am so angry and don’t know how to make the “Medical Industrial Complex” to stop pushing this stuff on people who think its safe, “they see it advertised on TV.” I wish there was some way to warn others about the dangers before their “hooked.” Doctors tell me you can’t trust all the whiners on the Internet, my response is that I trust them more than I can trust the drug companies!

  5. The rebound information above is mighty interesting … but seems contradictory. A rebound effect usually produces the opposite of what the medication was doing, no? If you quit a sleep aid like Ambien you will get rebound insomnia, not an upsurge of sleep. If you quit amphetamines you get rebound fatigue and depression, not an upsurge of speed-freak energy. If you quit Xanax you get extremely anxious, not extra tranquilized.

    So, if Cymbalta increases noradrenaline, the rebound should involve a sort of noradrenaline crash — not a surge in noradrenaline to put you in fight-or-flight mode all night. Also a serotonin crash, I guess. That would certainly allow you to be groggy and agitated at the same time, a real miracle of modern chemistry — Thanks, Eli Lilly!

    And if dream sleep depends on the “simultaneous inactivity of noradrenaline and serotonin neurons” then a person on Cymbalta should dream very little. A “post-Cymbalta” rebound, then, would make you overflow with dreams … but the opposite of noradrenaline-infused fight-or-flight dreams. (Maybe a marathon of those typical failure dreams: you forgot to study for the exam, you forgot to catch the plane, you’ve stumbled into the company Christmas party in your pajamas, etc.)

    I have always heard that dreams/REM sleep are essential for mental health, so perhaps any drug that suppresses dreams will mess with your mind either going on or coming off. Can anyone straighten me out here?

    • Wow, if the people who made these actually understood exactly how these drugs work maybe it wouldn’t be so risky taking them. Psychotropic drugs often have different effects ondifferentpeople or even paradoxical effects. It seems to me that Cymbalta is pushed by direct marketing and by marketing to Doctors. Three people I know had horrific experiences coming off SNRIs: one using it to try to quit smoking committed suicide (Wellbutrin), one had nausea, nightmares and a complete breakdown resulting in a fatal car crash (Cymbalta), and the lucky friend who had the help of a pharmacist to taper extremely slowly suffered a nervous breakdown but is okay now (Effexor).

    • Sounds about right. Cause I never dream and missing a few days I just dreamed about a lot of stuff going on in my week but it was turned into nightmare status. I was staying at my parents house witch I am tonight and I went into a state of mind wheee I thought I went crazy. I was crying to my mom asking if this was all real and she replied look at the clock and at one point I had a seizure fell out of bed a few times. That is all just a short part of the dream. But omg when I woke up only 30 min of sleep cause I looked at my clock about 3am thinking I’m screwed on sleep tonight.. well when I woke up it was 3:45am all I can say is should I keep taking this cause this was a bad night

  6. Thanks for sharing this. It’s amazing to see to what extremes these drugs can take us. My two cents is that I don’t believe you’re experiencing entirely a chemical withdrawal. Pharmakeia is a Greek word meaning sorcery, but the root of the words pharmacology, pharmacist, etc., is obvious and I think ought to be considered beyond just those who deliberately practice witchcraft. I believe you are experiencing spiritual threats for wanting to get off of the drug. I know the reaction that most will probably have to this message, but I wouldn’t spend the time to post this if I didn’t care. Anyway, here is a quote:

    “[For] by your bewitching arts, all the nations were led astray. And in her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth.”

    The “bewitching arts,” here, is the word pharmakeia. Some people like to translate it as using drugs for magic ritual, or “sorcery,” as above, but I think your testimony and others’ shows why God says that “all the nations were led astray.” Practically everybody these days has a prescription, and now we even have mild-mannered children murdering their parents simply because they start taking behavior- and mood-modification drugs. I think we’re playing with fire, and this is more than chemical. Is your mind really so diabolically creative? God wouldn’t have warned us if He didn’t love us. It’s a shame we ignored Him, but we can still turn away from it and go to Him for mercy and comfort. He’s a good Father.

    • Response from B: It has been several years since I quit Cymbalta, the nightmares subsided after a few weeks, and I haven’t had any unusual experiences since. She’s a lot more cautious these days when taking drugs in general – especially new ones with glossy advertisements. She adds that just as we need to educate doctors to reassure their patients that they are not psychotic, we may need to educate pastors to tell the difference between a genuine “spiritual emergency” and strange drug reactions of this sort. Thanks to all for their concern!

  7. I’d heard several complaints from people taking Cymbalta as a painkiller, so I took a look at the cymbaltawithdrawal.com board the author mentions. In addition to nightmares, withdrawal seems to make many people active while they sleep — in some cases, violently. Most of the reports were from men although not all of them. Here are a few examples:

    Wednesday night was pretty uneventful … The one weird thing is, I woke up to the phone alarm, hit snooze, had a quick dream in which I was like a 007 agent and then woke up LATE, having my phone disassembled on my nightstand…. I do remember having to dismantle it because it was a bomb but am quite sure I was asleep….but who the heck knows!!! lol!!! I was late to work nonetheless…

    … I’m actually having multiple nocturnal emissions nightly! The good ol’ teenage “wet dream”. It happens, I’ll wake up, change, and then 3 or 4 hours later, it’s the same thing. I’m in my 30s, imagine my surprise, shock and personal embarrassment… Vivid, terrifying nightmares, along with equally vivid sexual dreams.

    I have done this as well. My wife rolled over and found the bed wet. I didn’t even know I had done it. I have had the nightmares (never did before) and I’ve hit her and kicked her because of the nightmares. I could kick and punch the DR. for putting me on this stuff and today I find this web site and see how hard it is to get off of the blasted rubbish.

    i dont have any emissions but i have some fantastic xxx dreams.
    then the zombie comes into it and it becomes a nightmare.
    that is no joke.
    i dream of zombies attacking me.
    and i punch and kick and yell at them in my sleep.

    I believe this is called automatism — behavior much like sleepwalking except this encompasses sleep-fighting, etc. What if someone were to cause real damage while in a state like this? Conceivably they could wind up in jail for something they were not even conscious of doing.

  8. Oh thank you so much for this forum! It’s 5:30 a.m. and I finally gave up on the whole sleep thing about 15 minutes ago…got up and googled this….thought i had lost it!
    I’m not even trying to go off the Cymbalta…just realized running out 2 days ago, had a 30mg left for yesterday (my normal dosage is 60mg), and figured missing a day before my pharmacy could get them back in stock would not kill me (2 days ago was Easter and it’s a small private pharmacy, so they were closed and would not have them easy till today, later this a.m.).
    Oh man I was wrong.

    The Texas Chainsaw Massacre analogy was pretty accurate. My nightmares have been unbelievable and my poor boyfriend has been waking me up every few minutes as I get stuck in them and shaking like a leaf….but AWARE I am in a nightmare and frozen; unable to wake myself up and trying to shout but unable…night terrors at their finest.
    My doctor put me on Cymbalta after years on Lexapro for depression and painkillers for degenerative disc disease and a separate rheumatoid arthritis, thinking it would help treat both depression and help ease the pain. He said”they’re not sure why, but it had been proven to help treat pain”. I was hesitant to start a new drug since Lexapro had always been helpful, but I desperately have wanted to not take Soooo many opioid-based pain medications, so I agreed. And it took a few weeks, but it actually has helped immensely with pain….now bear with me…I promise this is related to the sleep issues….

    Norepinephrine is a byproduct of dopamine and I am very curious if when a person has large levels of dopamine in their blood, they then have extra levels of norepinephrine. Could it be that the norepinephrine acts just as much as dopamine to kill pain? Dopamine is its producer. With Cymbalta simply being a reuptake inhibitor for norepinephrine (as well as serotonin of course), we have both norepinephrine and serotonin running through our systems…

    Well, painkillers might not have serotonin running through our systems…but it does have dopamine, which triggers the production of norepinephrine, running massively though it. NOW MY POINT IS: These nightmares/night terrors, tears, and the whole package that oughta be stamped “Warning: Cymbalta Withdrawal contains explosive devices” “DANGER!”, ETC remind me of other jolly times: I went thru some crazy withdrawals- the exact same withdrawals as now- when years ago, I had a painful onset of degenerative disc disease in my spine and as treatments helped ease it, and I wanted to return to my dance career (now terminated), I tried to go cold turkey off Norcos after taking 6-8 daily for several months (I didn’t know any better…I was early 20s). Like I said, I went off the opioid painkillers that activate dopamine COLD TURKEY AND THE EXACT SAME WITHDRAWALS OCCURRED…..the night terrors and nightmares and inescapable crying, do depressed I wanted to commit myself, etc that were EXACTLY the same as now.

    SO REALLY, is dopamine withdrawal what causes such painful withdrawals in heroin/opiate addicts? Or is it the withdrawal of norepinephrine that is produced by dopamine (usually), but which Cymbalta keeps prevalent in our systems, that causes such awful withdrawals? Because I know I am saying it again, but I promise you the Cymbalta withdrawal is the same to me as any opioid painkiller withdrawals in my past.

    The other catch us that right now, we’ve begun weaning me slowly off Oxycodone after some successful Cortisone shots for the sacroiliitis that cost me my dance catree a couple years ago (my doctors debate if it’s party if a bigger condition or simply SI on its own), and I’ve been wondering why it hadn’t been that hard to go off as it was a couple months ago…could it be that Cymbalta assists the withdrawal of painkillers by maintaining the norepinephrine produced by dopamine in our blood? And that that is why the only true withdrawals I felt were once the Cymbalta wad removed and not the Oxy itself? I’ve been on Cymbalta 2 months now and the off Oxy-weaning began just 2 weeks ago. Everything was fine until I ran out of Cymbalta….all i can assume is it really has the elevation on norepinephrine levels just as opioids do and that dopamine isn’t what gives people the relief and pleasure on its own; its a combo of norepinephrine and dopamine. I know norepinephrine is the same as noradrenaline, which can impact our sensitivity physically..but to this extent? Maybe the processes of raising our norepinephrine levels are different between drugs, but it doesn’t matter: it’s raised, hence pain levels down, energy down, but depression lifted. And like opiate/opioid withdrawal, it is absolute hell dropping Cymbalta suddenly. But doctors don’t mention that when they assign it. In fact, mine mentioned he did not even know why pain relief resulted from it, but I think it’s pretty obvious. Norepinephrine is the pleasure center hormone, and the same thing lacking in those who have chronic pain issues. It’s the same thing pain medications like Oxycontin, Percocets, Vicodin and all other oxycodone and hydrocodone drugs activate. So I suppose we can’t be surprised such withdrawals mimic a similar pattern and symptoms of that of a heroin addict going off cold-turkey. Ouch! Wish I’d realized that or had such thoughts supported by doctors previously.

    Apologies for such wordiness, but as doctors don’t have time or find some excuse not to listen, it’s nice to feel there are those who not only can personally relate, thus empathize, but seem to grasp conceptually what others are saying….see, I thought I was crazy, because I’m finishing up my masters in neuropsychology (it’s what I turned to while grieving my lost dream dance career and dropping the bi-coastal contract with my agents I’d worked so hard for), and staying up odd hours, pulling all-nighters, etc, trying to get my homework and papers done….thought I had just officially gone off the deep end. But thanks to these postings, I can see I am not alone. Of course, I am not happy anyone else deals with this hell! I am just relieved to be understood! Bless you guys! I hope everyone receives the treatment and finds the quality of life you all deserve.

  9. During the clinical trials involving 4200 participants there were 7 suicides. Therefore the suicide rate on Cymbalta is 1 in 600… compared to the “non medicated’ population of 1 per 20,000

  10. Many of the people who committed suicide were placed on Cymbalta for depression. People who are depressed have a higher incidence of suicide whether on Cymbalta or not.

  11. People are placed on Cymbalta for depression. Depressed people have a higher incidence of suicide whether on Cymbalta or not

    • I was placed on cymbalta for pain. Going off my nightmares and anxiety are excrutiating. If this lasts for months I will be suicidal.

  12. Martin, that’s the excuse given by drug mfrs for every suicide incident. But Cymbalta has produced suicides, suicidal and violent ideation in healthy volunteers AND in people taking it for back pain, nerve pain and fibromyalgia. There are non-psych drugs as well that have produced similar effects: RoAccutane for acne; montelukast for asthma; Lariam and doxycycline for malaria prevention.

  13. I am 43 years okd and have struggled with major depression for approximately 30 years. I began taking meds 12 years ago and have been prescribed a litany of SSRIs & SSNRIs over that time. More recently I have been taking 300mg of Welbutrin, 30mg of Lexapro, and 30mg of Temazapam (for sleep). I’ve been on this combination for several months while participating in faith-based CBT. A few weeks ago I reached a point where I was more depressed than ever and sought help from my psychiatrist who decided to replace the Lexapro with Cymbalta. Over a period of two weeks he dropped the Lexapro from 30mg to 10mg while simultaneously adding 30mg of Cymbalta followed by 60mg the second week. This transition has been HORRIBLE! The levels of anxiety & hostility I experienced was unbearable for myself and my family. The anxiety I’m feeling bordered on unexplainable fear which left me hardly able to function. Everything my kids did caused agitation and I was all over them for even the slightest infraction. I reported this to my psychiatrist who wanted me to stay the course for at least another week, which I was not willing to do. After 13 days I dropped the Cymbalta and continued the Lexapro, Wellbutrin, and Temazapam. The past three days have been like nothing I’ve ever experienced. The agitation, hostility, fatigue, headaches, brain zaps, and other physical withdrawl symptoms were joined by some of the craziest nightmares I’ve had in a long time. In many ways the nightmares involve real life and what feels like a spiritual attack. I wake up several times during the night for enough time to regroup and become aware of my surroundings before falling right back into the nightmare. Anyway, this had been my experience with Cymbalta and would not ever consider putting it in my body again. I am now working with my primary care physician to safely get off all of my meds in favor of relying on my faith, weekly cognitive behavioral therapy, running, and church small group. I hope this helps someone feel like they are not alone.

  14. Cymbalta withdrawal caused my friend’s death. Six days after he quit taking it he was having terrible nightmares when he slept and hardly was able to sleep. He went on a rampage, downed a liter of rum, got it his car and rolled it. I’m not sure if it was an accident. They shouldn’t be allowed to sell stuff that is this unsafe to get off of!

  15. I had terrible nightmares when I tried getting off Cymbala. But I also had horrible nightmares as I became more and more mentally ill. I would “control” and supress my fears in the daytime but soon as I would go to sleep my dreams would literally attack me and scare me out of my wits and I didnt used to become scared about much of anything. So I went on Cymbalta. It cured the anxiety and my back pain but when i tried to go off it, nightmares and sleep disruption were terrible. This continued for 2 weeks when I went back on it then everything went back to “normal” I fear ever going off again. Its been 7 years now. But being mentally ill, after a lifetime of NOT being that was worse. I dont ever want to go back to the anxiety and the depression either

  16. I stopped taking cymbals Tuesday. Last night I had the worst nightmare of my life. My son died I
    My husband woke me up because I was sobbing. I had a monster headache this morning so I stayed home. I couldn’t my ey es open so I took a nap. The nightmare was horrible. My husband had a second family with two little girls, my heart was broken. Oh my God the tiptoe effect is nothing. I will not start taking this again. How can they put this on the market. My heart hurts this is horrible. I feel so bad for people who don’t have the same s support system

  17. Just had the most terrifying nightmare of my life and woke up in a seizure-like state, sobbing and hyperventilating. The dream involved brutal rape and murder. I am a healthy middle aged female who is tapering off of 30 mg daily (for depression and fybromyalgia type symptoms). I am not planning to take my life, but I have suicidal wishful thinking. This is a new feeling for me. I am afraid, but I will probably not tell my doctor due to the shame that I feel. This is a terrible, terrible drug. It helped me in the beginning, but it’s not worth the pain or risk of trying to get off of it. I hope there is a lawsuit against it some day. How many people have died?

  18. These nightmares are the wet dreams of serial killers. The most bizarre aspect is how every dream I have has a sinister feeling to it regardless to what is being drempt (ie. I drempt once that I was on a simple innocent roadtrip with my parents, and throughout the episode there was a sense of anxiety and fear despite nothing sinister ever occuring). I truly envy those who have a significant other to help them through the withdrawl, to help pull them back into reality after a trip through the psyche of Jeffrey Dahmer. The worst thing about withdrawing from Cymbalta is the combination of the withdrawl symptoms. When you’re awake you experience brain zaps with the only escape being sleep, yet when you’re asleep your mind is constantly being assaulted by the most abominable images known to man. There is simply no escape from this insanity.

  19. I have to adnit I don’t even remember my nightmares, but once I woke up screaming. When I was a child I never talked in my sleep or made any indication that I was having a nightmare(according to my family) , but if I miss a dose of cymbalta, I have terrible nightmares and thrash around in my sleep. As I said, once I even woke up screaming. Scared my poor dog to death. I hate cymbalta

    • Mary, how are you now? I can no longer afford Cymbalta, and am going cold turkey. The nightmares at night and the total exhaustion at day are the worse time I can ever remember. I can’t afford to go to a dr. and tell him I an no longer taking this drug. Please let me know if you ever got ok.
      Thanks,
      Alecia

  20. You guys, this is NOT JUST A SYMPTOM OF WITHDRAW!!!! Everything I have read… I MEAN FREAKING EVERYTHING are all things I dealt with being on the medication regularly. Nightmares so real and so vivid that I am still having trouble after 7 months of being off of it sleeping or separating it from reality. I was told by my wife of 10 years who became majorly frightened of me that I was waking up having conversations in different languages that were clearly another language and not just jibberish. I am not the type of person that sweats really bad, even in a a lot of heat, but on Cymbalta I woke up every night, EVERY SINGLE NIGHT and had to change my clothes because I was soaked from head to toe as if I had jumped into a swimming pool. I woke my wife up by screaming at the top of my lungs she says in my sleep. She made it the last straw and after I apparently started getting physical in my sleep. It blows my mind that I can recall this dreams in horrible, traumatizing, shocking, and haunting detail but I have absolutely no recollection of these things I would do in my sleep. I mean come on!?!?! Screaming at the top of my lungs did NOT wake ME up?!?! I feel like this drug opens up a section in our brain that completely opens your mind up to some realm we are not meant to be see or communicate with. I also felt extremely exhausted like I was going to pass out at random times of the day. I cold turkey quit the medication after my behavior became so strange that my wife and I separated 7 months after our first child, 10 years of marriage, and a friendship since we were 7 years old. All I can say to shorten the withdraw description is “Post Traumatic Stress.” I have since been on only one medication after previously being prescribed FIVE!!!! I HATE PSYCHIATRISTS!!! They diagnose you with something without even knowing you, they explain very little about what your diagnosis means, and then irresponsibly give you a mind altering drug without thought of severe consequences. Taking this medication has ruined my life. I did things on that medication I do not remember, my behavior was very strange, my thought process was very strange, and I am literally traumatized by the imagery I was seeing. I have already seen first hand horrible things in my life that are hard for me to even contemplate, I do not watch horror movies or anything of that nature and the things I saw, tasted, heard, and smelled are really hard to shake from mind. It feels worse and is affecting in a worse ways than the things I have seen and experienced in reality. This drug is a serious problem!!!!

  21. I stopped Cymbalta like a week ago and last night I had the most horrifying nightmare of my life. To the point now I am afraiid to go to sleep since I dont want to experience this again. Why doctors play with us like this? I swear I will never again accept this treatments. I dont know what to do but I refuse to live a life like this . There gas to be something better like eating certain foods. Will .eed to search and change to a more natural way of life! Stop poisoning your body!!!!

  22. I am coping by using marijuana, it has helped minimally. The brain zapps are terrible I would not wish this on my enemy. Sweating, nausea, diarrhea, and headaches plus the brains zapps are the symptoms I am having. Thankfully I have much support to help me with mood swings. Exercise and walking dogs has been a winner. Caffeine seems to make things worse, to anybody going through what I am going through, I would recommend not using caffeine. There needs to be awareness on prescription drugs like Cymbalta so we can help our loved ones avoid this evil. Pain and depression can only be fought through meditation and rationalizing our thoughts and listening to our bodies, regulating through positive psychology. No more of this pill bandaid that ruins lives. Somehow this must come out. I’m not the same woman I was. These prescriptions have tried to destroy me but I won’t let them. ****** I am writing this from bed six days into cold turkey withdrawal. My hands are shaking, Cymbalta is like heroin.

  23. I was prescribed cymbalta for pain, it did nothing to abate pain, absolutely nothing! So I quit taking it, cold turkey from 120 mg a day. Within 3 days I was having these brain zap type reactions, they were awful, I felt like I was being transported to another dimension and back in a split second. It was something I have never experienced in the past and something I pray I never experience again. It was at this point that I realized I was taking a very dangerous, mind altering drug. I called the doctor and they told me that I cannot just stop taking this drug, they prescribed a smaller dosage and I began to decrease the amount I was taking. When I finally got to the smallest dosage I had, I believe it was 20 mg a day, I was ready to stop taking it altogether. After 3 days off the 20 mg pills I began to have the brain zaps again, there wasn’t a lower dose, I thought I was going to be stuck on this pill forever. So I did something radical (for me anyway) I opened a pill and took half the medication out (about half, I didn’t weight it or anything), then I took the half filled capsule. I did this for a few days and then I cut down to a quarter of what was in the pill, I had to do this all the way down to taking a few beads and taking those until finally I didn’t have the brain zaps anymore. It was a nightmare! Speaking of nightmares, during this process I stopped sleeping at night, because the nightmares were so horrific, sleeping during the day seemed to produce less horrific nightmares, although I did feel like somebody was in the house and watching me all the time. I am so glad to be off that drug, I think it should be criminal to give that drug to anybody. I didn’t get any relief from it, for pain, I don’t even know how it got approved as a pain reliever. I hope people read and don’t just listen to the doctors/drug pushers and think it’s a harmless medication like an aspirin or something. The FDA doesn’t list any of these side effects. Oh and cymbalta gave me horrific headaches too.

  24. I am 55 years old and have been on Cymbalta for approximately 4 years with erratic periods of smooth sailing alternating with skin rashes, excessive sweating, over-stimulated conversations and sugar ob- session. I started taking it for disc and nerve pain with arthritis and neck pain. Also tale narcotics for a decade now. When it works it does well, but when it stops working or you stop taking it expect serious interruption of normal life where no-one else can understand except for these life-saving forums by those of us who know! I am on my 3d attempt to get off of this drug, and after 8 days I had a bad night of terrors and not being able to wake up and get out of the dreams. No sleep and of course I am moody after going off an anti-depressant. Weird part is you officially have to be mentally sane to deal with the withdrawal effects. I pray if you are in this place of letting go of Cymbalta than come back and search, keep calling your doctor, try a low dose of a different anti-depressant, taper down every day until it gets done, reach out for help and do not beat yourself up, buy into the sadness, nightmares, or loss of sleep. THIS TOO SHALL PASS!

  25. I decided to stop taking cymbalta and try and go to the more natural way of diet and exercise. And now the past few days off have been horrific!! The nightmares,brain zaps, brain fog,ears ringing,and dizziness are enough to drive you insane!! Not including my anxiety has heightened by the max.. What is the goverment trying to kill off the population?? No wonder so many of us are suicidal!! Never again will i try this kind of so called ”medication”.. Good luck to you all and GOD Speed.. And things will get better..

    • Kim, it has been a little over two years. Where are you at with this now? I am on my first week going cold turkey, and don’t think I will live through it. The night mares are horrible. I even hate myself, I am so mean to others. I can no longer afford Cymbalta, and so I just am going to quit. Can you give me any advice?
      Alecia Tisdale

  26. I was given Cymbalta after feeling that my prior depression medication wasn’t doing the job anymore. The worst mistake I have ever made. After only taking it for 30 days and thinking it was no rush to refill my prescription,I was out of the pills for 4 days before the screaming nightmares began. I have 2 granddaughters that sleep in the bed with me. Ages 4 years old and 1 and half years old. I work at night so I sleep during the day. I knew in my heart that these nightmares had 2 b a withdrawal symptom of the Cymbalta and decided 2 check it out. And low and behold reading these replies today let me know that I was right. I could break down and cry right now. My 4 year old watched t.v in bed with me while I slept with the baby asked me 2 days in a row why was I screaming and crying in my sleep. I’m awake now because I’m afraid 2 sleep. And yes I do have 2 go back 2 work tonight from 9 pm to 7am. What do I do 2 fix this. I don’t want to go to sleep and dream that my uncle turns into a demon screaming in my face or my friends are raw flesh again. I want 2 sue somebody for doing this 2 me. Do they even care what this has done 2 my life. I’m usually so patient with my girls I’m now finding it hard not to be easily agitated. I just pray that since I had only taken it for such a short period of time that these effects will be short lived.

  27. Oh my goodness. Thank you all for posting your stories. I had no idea the violent nightmares, brain zaps, etc, were all part and parcel of coming off of Cymbalta. I’m disturbed, but sadly feel better knowing I’m not alone in this. When I am able to sleep, I’m having very disturbing nightmares — like pulling body parts out of a body farm kind of nightmares. Not normal for me at all. Agitation, crying jags, anxiety, sleeplessness, unable to focus, and then, when I can sleep, vivid nightmares. My ears have been ringing for months now — and my anxiety level is sky high. Sadly, I’ve been taking this drug for years, and had no idea that it would be so horrible to withdraw from.

  28. I’m relieved to know I’m not alone. I haven’t had nightmares yet however, I’m more afraid when awake. I’m currently lying in bed and I feel like a child afraid of monsters, the dark, and something popping up at the end of my bed… it’s ridiculous… I’m almost 30….but it’s the way I feel nonetheless.
    My doctor had me titrate off of 60mg so that my husband and I could safely begin planning a family in January. This week has been the first time I haven’t been medicated in about 7 years (Yay Christmas!). This has been one of the hardest weeks I can recall – between the flu’ish symptoms, “brain zaps”, being so IN my body that I don’t know how to cope, and the diurnal fears, I am exhausted…all during the holidays.

  29. I felt good for the first two months then started not feeling like it was doing anything, so I tried to stop for a day or two. Immediately I have such horrible nightmares. I would wake up screaming so loud afraid neighbors would hear, also woke up kicking and fighting, when my hand hit the wall hard I woke up. I tested this as at first had no idea was the drug. Everytime I missed a couple days I would have horrible nightmares. Don’t remember them all but they always were someone trying to fill me or from people in my life from the past or who died. Always fear and harm of me or me trying to protect someone. I would wake up shaking so hard felt I was losing my mind. I then remember seeing a seeing something about Cymbalta that a warning of withdrawals a problem. Can’t remember what site though, so I googled and found this. The nightmares do make you feel like you must be a horrible person to think or dream of such horrific things in the dreams. Very vivid, always people I know or have known and me all in life and death fear.

  30. This drug should be discontinued I have been sick with these horrific dreams causing increased heart rate screwing iny short sleep now nothing anyone should ever go through. I’m filling a complaint at the very least. I’m in chronic pain and hurt myself waking up from these sick nightmares and now o have insomnia, Is there anyway to prevent this from happening to others please I don’t want anyone going tutu this if I can help it, such a price to pay on top of chronic pain

  31. Oh my God I’ve only taken these at 60mg for 10 days and due to severe headaches and neck pain Doc said to stop. Last night I had a night terror of awful proportions. Things grabbing me pushchairs moving by themselves then a nobly hand grabbed at me and I bit the finger off in my dreams. I was scared to go back to sleep. Thank you for your posts I’m comforted that I’m not the only one. Xx

  32. I have been taking Cymbalta for almost one year now. It has helped me a lot. However recently I ran out because I am living overseas and had a Rhuematoid Specialist but she suddenly didn’t want to treat me as I require a translator and she isn’t comfortable with that. So I am trying urgently to find a specialist that takes our plan. In the meantime I am experiencing horrible nightmares so bad I can’t sleep. Hoping to find a dr soon.

  33. I just want to thank everyone for making my decision never to try Cymbalta. I was prescribed this 2 months ago and I’ve been reluctant to try them. I know now I’m tossing them. I’m not a very strong person and unsure the horrible effect this could have caused me. Thank you again.

  34. I’m on cymbalta for about 5 months now, 60 mg. I’m also having these horror movie nightmares where I wake terrified. From reading these posts I’m scared it’s going to get worse. I’m not in withdrawal but on a steady dose. . The drug has helped my pain .. I remember what it was like before and I don’t think I could have gone on another day.. but these nightmares have got to go.

  35. What frustrates Me so much us that the doctors tell you if You go off if it and experience problems it’s from you having a mental health problem not the mess… If it works than keep taking it… Oh yeah and the other thing they say is that it’s not addicting… Well this is my 5th attempt to get off of this… I went off slowly this time but still had a hard time with the last 30 mgs which I had taken 1 30 mg capsule every other day for 2 months than quit altogether… It’s been a nightmare but I’m seeing a naturopathic Doctor who has given me supplements along with St Johns a Wort… It’s only been a couple of days since taking St. John’s Wort in addition to the supplements I’ve been taking & it seems to have taken the edge off somewhat… I’ll see what the next few weeks bring… I just want to be normal again… Shame on Eli Lilly…

  36. I am not happy to see all these stories as I too am going through the same thing, on here after waking from a dream that nearly killed me. The sweats, flu feeling, headaches (and I suffer from migraines), injuries from acting out dreams to get away, and I live alone. Visited son last weekend and woke the whole house with my screaming! I never woke but son said he got up all night to come in and comfort me during nightmares to settle me down. Dr. won’t see me the past two months even though have left verbal and e-mail messages about my problem coming off long time medications (my idea, not his). So awful, I have had insomnia these past months too! Physcologist says I have triggered my PTSD, GREAT!

    What now?? When will this end???

  37. I have been on Cymbalta and Ativan for the past 20 years, with three doctors at different times continually prescribing these two medications. I am now. Three days ago on the advice of my psychiatrist, I am on a detox program. Gradually going off Ativan, and cut Cymbalta cold turkey. After I left the doctors I understood the procedure and gradually going off Ativan. It is memorial day weekend, and I have been confused about the Cymbalta. I cannot get a hold of my psychiatrist, because they are in the process of moving their office to another building. In the meantime I am suffering from severe withdrawal cyst symptoms from the Cymbalta, including vivid nightmares, headaches, upset stomach, surges in my brain, swishing sounds in my head drummer like pounding sounds, crying spells, dizziness, confusion, and scary thoughts as to what is happening to me. After reading all these comments from other people, I have become very much afraid of what is really happening to me, because of the withdrawal symptoms, from the Cymbalta. I thought I was supposed to stop taking it cold turkey. My doctor explained about gradually going off Lorazepam. However, I did not quite understand about the Cymbalta, and my Time with my psychiatrist was over. As I was driving home I became more confused about how I should handle my withdrawal from Cymbalta. I tried to call the office and no one would answer because they are in the process of moving their offices. I have had three nights of vivid nightmares, and have become worried about my future mental state of mind. It is memorial day weekend, 2016. Cannot talk to my Sakarya just until Tuesday when they are back in business. I have decided to contact my pharmacist to ask him how I should handle the Cymbalta.
    Correction: “Sakarya just” = Psychatrist.
    Thank you to those who are sharing their stories, as you are helping me to understand what is happening to me. This is frightening. Any advice anyone can share with me, I will appreciate.

  38. So this is a big answer..why do you people take when really clinical depression hits you again?

    This is,many of you start take Cymbalta because you couldn’t live anymore like that..? right?

    So, you alll stop cymbalta…and then what? When depression/anxiety strikes back?

    You will run to the next AD? Or can you live without them?

    Can you? Antidepressants are for people with Clinical depression and GAD not..anything else…

    • I have been very briefly on Cymbalta as much for physical pain as depression. I have had a tough injury year with a fractured hip early and major shoulder problems torn labrum, frozen shoulder, later. And no I don’t play in the NFL. Hip healed well but I had a great deal of residual shoulder pain. Still do. PT, cortisone shots, meds were tried. Cymbalta was recommended because I’m also a depressive. I believe it did help somewhat but basically I ran out. The third night after running out which was last night I had intense nightmares. These are the type where you dream you are still in your bed and various entities were trying to pull me up out of the bed with all kinds of disconcerting noises. I kept believing I awoke but was still dreaming. Interestingly I think these types of dreams have been studied as “prescient” dreams where you are aware you are dreaming and in your bed but crazy things are happening. And I know some on the fringe will ascribe these to some kind of alien encounter. I don’t think so, pretty certain based on what I’m reading here they were Cymbalta withdrawal night frights. I plan on dosing back up because the meds helped. But I’m keeping the lights on if I go off again…

  39. I had two nights of the worst dreams of my life. They weren’t horror/slasher, but so disturbing to me. I dreamed that my late mother was alone and afraid, calling for me and I could not get to her. I saw her there, across a small body of water, totally vulnerable and suffering, and not knowing why she’d been abandoned there. It’s hard for me to think about it even now and it was a year ago. Another involved me neglecting a small cat and causing it to suffer for a long time and then a person took it from me and drowned it in my view. The last involved being in a school bus that drove into a pond and just kept sinking into total blackness. Everyone on the bus knew we were doomed and just sat in the darkness waiting for the end to come, silent.
    The day after the one about the cat, I kept seeing this suffering creature and I would cry very hard. I had real trouble controlling the crying and had to sit in the parking lot outside work and pull myself together and then tell people I was having an allergy attack.
    I was only off of cymbalta for 4 days because my Rx ran out. I ended up back on it after severe anxiety and this profound feeling of unease. I am still on 120mg of it and my new doctor is trying to help me to get off of it.
    I also had a neuro-psychological evaluation because after being on this med for 3+ years, I was experiencing difficulties with my memory. I was having trouble remembering appointments and tending to details at my work. I was actually written up for paperwork issues and nothing like this had ever happened before. After 2 years of saying that I felt my memory was slipping, I finally changed psychiatrists and then went for the neuro-psychological. I had these tests about 15 years ago and was diagnosed with mild ADHD then, but my doctor for the last 7 years treated me for bipolar II with lithium 600mg, cymbalta 120mg, and trazodone 100mg. My mood is more stable, but it is pretty much stably depressed and when I said this, she just kept going up on the cymbalta until it is where it is now at 120mg. Anyway, I went for the testing and found that my verbal and non-verbal abilities had dropped by about 25%, my ability to move from one task to another is in the 16th percentile ranking, and my actual IQ tested at somewhere between 10 and 20 whole points lower than 15 years ago. I am currently 51 years old and I am told that my age is not sufficient to explain these drops.
    While my new doctor is tending more towards the ADHD treatment and helping me get off these meds, I don’t know if I will recover what I have lost.
    I have always liked the idea that I was a smart person. Maybe God is trying to tell me that I have value regardless of my level of intelligence and teach me a little humility. Still, I hope that I can get off these meds and get some of my confidence back. Being written up at my work and forgetting stuff all the time can really undermine a person.
    Thank you to whoever reads this. It did me some good to write it. God bless you all.

  40. Please- is anyone out there that can help? There are no recent posts. My son is experiencing horrific, debilitating nightmares and other possible related problems since having to go off cymbalta 120 mg cold turkey after loosing his job and health insurance. No one will listen; no compassion.

  41. I have been trying to get off cymbalta for months. Was on up 90mg, went to 60, then 30, then started splitting the dose in half every week until I was down to about 3 mg. went off 3 days ago and woke tonight after only 1.5hrs of sleep to the weirdest Zombie dream. I’ve never been afraid of Zombies, even find them funny in awake life, but this one was dark and scary, chasing me and attacking me. good thing the dream was so vivid, as I was conscious enough to realize it was a dream at the end and just kept screaming yo myself, wake up! then I found this website. the other symptoms weren’t as bad this time trying to go off, the super discomfortable electricity zapping and being hyperconscious of your inner body. caffeine also tends to trigger this more intensely, so it must be related to the same neuroreceptors. im also hyper emotional and sensitive and am more aware of fears ive never had in real life. i was originally prescribed tgis for nerve pain and depression. in any event, I read all the reviews and as best I could find, the dreams seem to subside after 2 weeks. not sure I’ll be able to sleep much. i thought i was safe after titrating to such a small amount. I will update as this is a very trying issue for many. god bless.

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