Night of the Living Cymbalta: B’s Story

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October 8, 2012 | 101 Comments


  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?

        • So so sorry ..I would like to know how things are for you now..a year later. I pray you’ve had positive changes and are doing well. I guess I’m looking for a time frame for myself. I was born and raised in a holler by the place I couldn’t go in the dark without a light. Now..I’m at my daughters..afraid to sleep..afraid to cut the light out..

        • I just read your comment and I am having the exact same thing. I went to my psychiatrist today and she completely dissed me. I started on 30mg and increased to 60 mg in November 2019 and she wanted me to go to 90mg but I said no. I fell in December 2019 and got a slight concussion. When all my symptoms started in January 2020 I called and they reduced my medicine down to 40mg and then 20mg. I am completely off now and feel horrible. Stephen King would not even touch my nightmares for a book or a movie. She said that the Cymbalta is not my problem and wants to put me back on Zoloft. I have heart problems and am diabetic also. In reading your symptoms I know I am not wrong. I am going to my regular doctor next week for help. I want me back!

        • I cry a lot my temper is good but my brain overthinks and I cannot remember things this has only happened just recently
          The last couple of weeks it’s driving me mad !!!

        • I’ve only taken it for a few months. My dreams became intense. Awesome. Then too intense and every night I would be shaking freezing from the night sweats. I quit a few days ago. I had continuous, looped, repetitive nightmares last night. I woke up, and went back to sleep over and over confused as to why the nightmares played on repeat and got to the point I repeatedly knew exactly what horror I was going to see before I went to sleep. I feel electric shock every time I blink. I’m glad I stopped now instead of being on this shit for years.

    • My daughter has been going threw the same thing. What should we do ? Or should I say what did you do and rd you get well and was able to live a normal life? Were you able to stay off the medicine.

    • Hello
      are you still on this forum?
      I’m withdrawing from cymbalta right now and your comment is so brilliant

    • It was terribly sad to read of the horrible side effect patients had to go through while trying Cymbalta. I’m an educated retired professional, well respected within my community, but if people knew the mental horrors I was going through while taking Cymbalta, they’d think I should go straight to a psych ward. The nightmares were as bad as many of us had around age 5-8 years of age when reality and horror, due to our immaturity, were difficult to tell apart. Finally, I’m afraid a less stable adult might be caused to do the worst: suicide if Cymbalta’s side effects prolong. That’s only an opinion or possibilty in my mind. I’m a devout Christian and only my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ got me through my ordeal. Please inform drug companies and providers of these terrible experiences patients go through. I’ll never take Cymbalta again. I now take Tramadol with Tylenol and it reduces foot pain to a liveable level.

    • I have withdrawals of brain zaps. For-over a month. They drive me crazy. I also itch every night. I cannot sleep. I wonder if this is also a side effect. I also haven night mares and night sweats.

  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:

    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.

      • I’m sad to see I’m not alone. I read an article on Oppeid addiction and death the previous day. I saw in full color the death of two people in my nightmare and there funerals. I also saw abbusive doctors and children in the nightmare too. When I woke up terefied and scared, I realized it must be me not having taken my Cymbalta 30 mg that morning. I struggle with musculoskeletal pain. I take Gabapantin at night. Diff has helpe me sleep and get more active in the day time. Must wonder why my brain is so eager to visit unusual scary places?

    • 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.

      • Wonder if you still take it? My symptoms if I forget to take it for one day affects my nerves. I feel like I’m being shocked by an electric fence! But last night was my first nightmare related to forgetting to take it…. It was so bad that I screamed out loud and woke my husband but I relate it to being angry during the day, also a withdrawal symptom… but I have been on it for 14 years at 60 mg along with seriquel at night. Taking serequel has caused realistic dreams in the past but this was wayyyyy different

  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

      • This is me! I was put in SSRI antidepressant to treat IBS which somewhat helped the pain but not completely so to me why take it. The dr told me since I’m on such a low dose I can quit taking the medications when I want. Well first I was put on 37.5 mg of Effexor that started making my teeth hurt and chest hurt when I took it so he switched me to Cymbalta 30 mg for a week then increase to 60 mg to see how I would react well at first I was ok it helped the pain but still present then I started having random weird dreams not scary then noticed I was beginning to feel really anxious and overwhelmed for no reason and then started sweating really bad under my arms which I have never done before so now I decided to take myself off I’m on day 3 coming off of 60 mg of Cymbalta that I’ve taken for about a month and the dreams omg they aren’t really scary dreams but I feel emotion in the dream like I will feel anxious or scared or nervous or overwhelmed throughout the whole dream and wake up covered in sweat like I even have leg sweat never knew that was a thing and then realize I’ve only been asleep for maybe an hour just woke up from a 2 hr one I’m hoping since I haven’t been on it long it won’t last forever so imma keep trying

  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 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.

    • I was placed on cymbalta for anxiety no depression . Drs diagnosed peri menopause as a cause . I stopped taking cymbalta on Monday and the suicidal thoughts were just overwhelming…I took a bottle of Valium yesterday just couldn’t cope thankfully I regretted it straight away and phoned husband who abruptly got an ambulance to me in to time. My kids are disgusted in my actions . Wish I had been warned about stopping this drug !!!

  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.

    • Wow man. I have to say you nailed it with the part about “sinister road trips with your parents”
      That’s really how Cymbalta nightmares are like. Just awful….
      They’re like the Jacobs Ladder of night terrors.
      I was surprised to see how many people here were embarrassed and disgusted with themselves after conjuring up such terrible dreams.
      That’s exactly how I felt after my first bout of them.
      I’ve been dealing with this on and off for like 6 months now.
      I want to get off. But I know I will almost surely end up on some other SSRI
      Thanks to all commenters. I thought I was an anomaly

  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.

  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!!!!

    • I agree 100%!!!! Cymbalta nightmares are the absolute worst!!! Its like being in the pit of help. I had vivid dreams pre-Cymbalta but these nightmares while on the drug were OFF THE CHARTS TERRIFYING!!!! I still feel traumatized even tho I’m off the drug just by the memory of those gory sinister, shameful disgusting psychotic psychedelic dreams. They were relentless. In the dreams I often screamed for my mother to help me–bring my medication please!!! Its happening again. In the dreams it was discovered I was a serial killer with dismembered parts. Another dream was of me reliving a torture–physical and sexual abuse by a foreign host family– none of this happened in real life of course but happened in my dreams like it was real. In some nightmares I ran from room through room of a house endlessly, at 100 mph, room after room after room, s reaming for someone to help me. I dreamed of walking in wavy moving psychedelic landscapes with a sinister gloomy feel. Dreamed I was permanently psychotic, my life would never be healed and I would live all eternity on a state of mental illness. I could go on and on and describe so many more Cymbalta dreams. As someone said its like my brain was allowed to go to a place it should never be!!!!!!! There should be warnings about this. I cannot overstate how awful these dreams were, made me afraid to close my eyes each night.

  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…

    • I too have many questions why I’m not struggling on Cymbalta, why some comments struggle off of it, while others struggle on it. I don’t want to have depression. Nor do I want to be suicidal again. My suicidal experience happened when I had a terrible allergic reaction to contrast in scan to check my belly pain. The effects left me incontinent, unable to stand voices, couldn’t stand light, couldn’t stand up, couldn’t connect my thoughts to my body, I had a bad rash on my face, legs, and arms, I couldn’t talk right but thought I was, had a bit of breathing problems but they said it’s because I was having an anxiety attack. I’ve never felt like ever. I was 32 at the time. I’m 38 now. Went down hill physically and never got my strength back. I’d start my 3 mile run and within a few strides my feet and legs just gave out and went numb. And send pain up my back, to my nails, to my scalp. Again I wasn’t on any meds. Just vitamins and an occasional energy drink or protein drink for endurance running purposes. I’d soak in espon salt and the pain would go away. Just stayed stiff and swollen for years. Till I got on a sterioid. That helped for about a month. And it’d come back. Till I’ve been on Cymbalta. I’ve had no swelling or stiffness going on 5 months. Curious if I’m having a better experience because I wasn’t on serious meds.

  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.

    • I took cymbalta 60mg for seven years. I did a rapid withdrawal by skipping days. After 3 weeks I quit cold turkey. I was sick for a week and thought I had it beat. 6 weeks later I woke up in the middle of the night with crippling anxiety and fatal insomnia. It’s now been 6 weeks without any desire to sleep. I am very near death. I was taking cymbalta for shoulder pain and had no health issues. I have lost 30 lbs. and have no appetite or pleasure receptors. I was a perfectly health 64 year old.

  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.

  42. I was feeling a little depressed so I thought I would go see a doctor and see if I could get on something so I would feel better.. cymbolta is what she prescribed me.. wished I would have read about it before I started it . I took it for 2 months my depression was getting worse not better. I was already up to 90 mg . She was getting ready to up it to 120 mg. It wasn’t making me better it was making me worse so I thought I would try to go off it but cutting down on my dosage 90 to 60 to 30 now . The second day of being off it I started having night sweets nightmares to the point where I was waking my boyfriend and son up in the middle of the night.. I couldn’t handle the withdrawals so I got back on it.. started taking 30 mg again. I’ve been on it for a straight month and broke out into a bad rash on my face and started having some suicidle thoughts.. I knew in my heart I needed to try to get back off it.. It’s been less then a week now and it’s been a nightmare. Horrific nightmares. Suicidle thoughts .. Anger outbursts … crying all the time.. Horrible mood swings.. Night sweats .. Body aches … Fatigue. Can’t sleep.. Abdominal pain… Hoplessness … I have no support at all. My boyfriend thinks I’m crazy … I’m scared I feel all alone in this.. I have 4 kids that needs me.. I’m scared cause I’m afraid of what I might do to myself … I can’t see my future anymore and that is what scares me.. Right now I feel like I’m living hour by hour that’s how much my mood changes.. I want to get through this but I just don’t know how…

  43. I’ve been on Cymbalta for about a year. I have to say it has helped me tremendously. My emotions are normal now. I don’t cry for no reason (but I do still cry when appropriate), I don’t assume my current wonderful husband will do to me what my horrible ex-husband did to me… it’s just helped me become a more normally functioning human being. While, if I forget to take it a couple of nights, I do have crazy nightmares that have actually run once through and then started over, like I’m restarting a movie I just watched… I do not feel homicidal, suicidal, depressed, anxious or anything else. So, my question is, is this medication helpful to anyone else? While the nightmares are not great, they are not enough to freak me out and make me stop taking Cymbalta. The worst nightmare I’ve ever had happened when I was on no medication at all. Granted, I’ve never had an addictive personality or any super serious mental/emotional/psychological issues – are the people experiencing these horrors during withdrawal people who have had serious issues?

  44. My nightmares are so horrible. I scream so loud in an ugly voice (my daughter has told me) that I wake up not knowing where I am. So, what I’ve done is look at the at the time my daughter wakes me. I set my alarm to wake up at least 30 minutes before the nightmares began. I stay awake for at least an hour after then I can fall sound asleep. This has helped me tremendously but I also get very emotional too and cry at the slightest thing. I’m working on that.

  45. Ok, Im coming fromthe point where I do not take the drug, but my wife did. At first she twitched some, but we all do at times, right? Then she started talking in her sleep. At first I thought this was funny and I tried to listen in to catch her affair in her dreams. Sometimes her talking was completely legible. Then she started doing things with her hands, like she was sewing or something. This wasn’t funny anymore. I took a few videos of her doing this with my phone. Then it happenned one night. She started screaming as if somebody was attacking her. It took several shakes to get her awake and then several minutes for my heart to calm down. After finally going back to sleep a few hours later it happened again. This time her eyes were wide open and she was screaming and clawing with her hands looking right at me. I grabbed her arms and tried to wake her. It took a bit to do and my arms were bloodied from her digging her nails into me. I do not EVER want to see this again in my life. It was the scariest thing i have ever seen. She said she had tried getting off her Lorazepam, so she took some the next night and things were ok. She stopped taking cymbalta and became an angry person to live with for a month after. Our marriage suffered from her anger. Things were quiet for awhile till yesterday. She has neurapathy in her hands so the doc said cymbalta was good for pain. Yesterday she took it for the first time in a few months – her hands are moving again, and tonight she is grabbing things. It was not the Lorazepam. It is obviously Cymbalta doing this. It is clear now. Get off this drug! Nothing but bad things come from it.

  46. I am having nightmares every single day and I’m on Cymbalta I was on 60 mg and having Vivid nightmares every day I’m getting a rash from Cymbalta they don’t tell you we can do liver damage. My doctor didn’t tell me anything about being addicted to it or any of the other side effects it’s horrific. Somebody told me on Facebook there is a Facebook for Cymbalta. I’ve seen a lot of horror stories. And the doctor says oh don’t believe everything on the internet will I believe there’s a such thing as a rash cuz I saw pictures of it. How could the FDA approve this and not weed what the f*** man? I have PTSD panic attacks depression and a personality disorder I’m on Klonopin blood pressure medicine and Cymbalta. I did not have a rash before I started taking Cymbalta and it itches really bad and it’s probably never going to go away the scars. I have never seen anyone but I sure the f*** should sue them. I don’t even care if I get any money long as other people don’t have to go through this s*** it’s f****** her riffic horror riffic. Stupid phone talking thing. After I started taking Cymbalta I’ve been a recluse more than I was before I’m scared to go out of my own house it makes me paranoid it makes me feel like I’m on speed. my hair is standing on on my arms all day long. it release is way too many endorphins and dopamine I have to get off of it and it’s going to really suck to suffer I cut down to 50 the f****** don’t make 10s why would they all they care about is money. It did Kill pain I had to stop taking Vicodins after 15 years last November I noticed it kills pain what it might kill your liver and you might die too though I strongly suggest nobody ever take this drug ever don’t do it you will be sorry

  47. I am writing this to let everyone know that Cymbalta is truly poison. I had been taking it for about 4 yrs. 12 yrs ago I suffered a horrific accident. I was getting my purse out of the trunk of my car and an suv came from behind me backed up into me and pinned both of my legs and crushed both of my knees. I had unsuccessful surgeries and of course was prescribed an assortment of medications for all of my problems including major chronic pain. I was tired of taking all of those meds so i stopped taking them and started to drink to deal with the horrible daily pain. I soon realized that this was not the answer to deal with pain and being totally disabled. I decided to let the hospital convince me to go to a rehabilitation hospital and really believed that I was getting professional help. The drs soon prescibed me a cocktail of meds including Cymbalta (for pain), Ativan(diagnosed major anxiety), baclofen ( mild muscle relaxer) , Suboxone (for pain), trazadone (for sleep), neurontin ) (nerve damage), there may have been more meds at this time Ive been through so much I cant be totally sure that was it. Anyhow I continued seeing this psychiatrist for 4 yrs as I was getting significant pain relief. One day my husband made a comment about me being heavily medicated all of the time. I let this bother me and soon drastically cut down on all of the meds including quitting them all suddenly. Wow I can’t even begin to explain what living hell I have been through. My body was completely shutting down I was so ill for not weeks but months. I lost a ton of weight my legs were swollen so bad i called 911 and the ambulance rushed me to er and i was given blood work and every diagnostic test under the sun. 15 hours later they released me telling me they had no explanation as to why i was soo ill. I then experience by far the WORST hallucinations I ever had Ever! I thought that bugs were invading my body through my skin and I felt like horrible bugs were everywhere I was. It was constant 24/7. My body went through terrible muscle spasms that made me cry really bad. That felt like I was having an controllable stroke for hours, every single night. I ended up with such horrible anxiety that I convinced myself my husband was a bad person and that my father was dying. I soon packed everything I own including my suv and moved everything across the country for NO reason. I left a very long term relationship with my husband after being together for years. Im sure he hates me now and is destroyed too. He is having a hard time understanding why I did what I did. Ive tried to find a dr where I live now and have had nothing but being put on a wait list for 4-6 months. Please understand I also have not slept AT ALL for 4 + months. I went to the er at the hospital and the attending physician treated me like I am the worst person in the world and basically refused to listen or help me. I now feel sooo alone and scared. I don’t know what to do as the withdrawls from all of this have been sooo bad. I can’t take it anymore my pain is horrible and so is my anxiety and overall mental and physical health. Let me add that when on these meds I started to develop major skin problems and they destroyed my teeth completely and very quickly and I was constantly sick with a bad flu. I strongly discourage anyone to stop taking Cymbalta abruptly. At this point I honestly believe that once you are prescibed this med you are committed for life to keep taking it. That is a seriously dangerous result after you are prescribed by a dr and pay for the dr bill and the med. I have never been this miserable in my life and I have definitely had a very hard life especially since my legs were crushed. I want to thank everyone who takes the time to read these posts. After I read them myself I wanted to share my story in hopes that I can shed some light to anyone who gets prescribed any of these meds. This is my experience and due to not sleeping and being physically and mentally ill for 6 months now, I see no end and due to my exhaustion (Im sure Im leaving out a ton of details of how horrible this has been.) Good luck to everyone and hang in there because you are NOT alone. I have been thinking about contacting an atty to discuss this but I don’t even know where to begin. I defintely want to be in my right mind when I do that for sure. ~HATING PHARMA FOR LIFE~

  48. My doctor prescribed cymbalta for my tonic pain , fybromalgia, and it’s great got me but i take 1 60g per day but you are never ever go off this medication suddenly should be u der Drs direction and very slowly , people o ly have themselves to blame if they use this medication the wrong way it’s the same as any medication, must follow the directions and drs advice i have been on this for 3 years and have had no bad effects at all, it’s been a god send for me.💖

  49. Hi, I have been having nightmares ever since I started taking Cymbalta about a month ago and sweats, along with other problems.

  50. Hi, this is my second time on cymbalta. The first time I got off it, I weaned very slowly and only had brain zaps as the worst side effect. However my fibro pain has gotten out of control so my Dr put me back on it. I just woke up from a horrifying nightmare of being mauled by a hoard of lions while my 9 year old son watched… I’ve been having these nightmares for a while now, if I take my cymbalta once I’ve waken from a nightmare I’m usually ok for the night. But after reading some of these comments, these nightmares feel connected… like we are connected in some horrifying way and I KNOW that sounds crazy and I know it’s not actually possible, but, my night terrors started out as sexual, and all the sudden it was like the feel of my dream, the lighting sound everything would go sinister, I felt like there was always a “being” with me, who wished me harm. The dreams have moved on from sex being the trigger, to just plain horror from the moment I start dreaming. While I’m sleeping I feel tingling all over my body in my dream, my brain then sensing the tingling introduces pain inflictin on my body as the “source” of the tingle, I can NEVER scream, or cry, yell, talk… NEVER… I’m scared to sleep at the moment….

  51. My rheumatologist put me on Cymbalta for fibro, arthritic pain, neuropathy, and I suspect to help my moods.
    The first time I hadn’t refilled my Cymbalta for a few days , I was soo ill – fever, nausea, vomiting, dizzy, faint.
    I swore to never go one day without.
    Well, my pharmacy screwed up big time, I’ll leave out details, but I had been without Cymbalta for at least 4 days.
    Symptoms got very bizarre, and I even wondered if what was happening was actually real!!
    Within 2 hours of being asleep, I dreamt, or hallucinated (? Or both?? ) that something unseen had moved my pillow from under my head onto my night table.
    I then became alarmed, sensing someone /something.
    I saw, a shadowy figure at the end of my bed and I threw my pillow at it.
    I then got up,
    had fallen to my knees, grabbed the pillow.
    The being then was standing in my ensuite bathroom!
    I was so afraid – I was trying to voice for it to leave me alone.
    I was so petrified I couldn’t move nor get the words out above a whisper.
    I tried to scream for my dog to help me!
    But she was already a complete wreck because it was raining hard, and she has storm anxieties (this was really happening).
    I found myself back in bed. The dog as well, whining a bit because of storm ( or the being?? In my mind).
    I still was having a hard time talking, raising my voice. I thought of calling my husband – he was at work.
    I tried to fall back to sleep, but the rain, wind, and dripping noise had changed audibley in a strange indescribable frightening way.
    I covered my ears, the sound grow worse.
    I was caught between is this a dream, hallucinations, or real??
    I was exhausted, but afraid to try to sleep.
    I got up, grabbed a glass of water, and turned on all the lights!
    I did not even try to fall asleep until daylight.
    My husband bawled out the pharmacy and store manager. He recieved anything and everything that was, refillable, we are going with another pharmacy now.
    It took me until a few minutes ago to tell my husband just what I experienced – I still am beside myself.
    I do, already, have vivid dreams always had. I
    I looove horror, dark movies, stories, etc.. And never had a problem with nightmares frightening me. I find them entertaining, like a movie. I talk in my sleep as well, full out conversations and laughing, at a regular, normal tone and volume of voice.
    But this was totally different and out of my control. I will carry this, and residual, for a very long time.

  52. I’ve only taken two of these pills. The first one was yesterday about mid morning. It made me nauseous, and gave me a headache first day. When I laid down to go to sleep, I would close my eyes and just before sleep, I was having almost open hallucinations. Complete scenarios trying to play out in my head. I’d shake it off as much as possible then try and sleep again. It happened a total of 4 x the first day. Mine was given for Fibromyalgia. I don’t like this drug and from reading the comments, who can get a real good night sleep? It makes me very sleepy as well. I don’t know what’s going to happen tonight, but I guess I’ll find out. I would class mine as night terrors. Does it every get better???

  53. First, sorry for my bad English. I was Google searching for antidepressants and nightmare association because I have been having vivid horrific nightmares from antidepressants and similar medicines. I haven’t tried cymbalta, but used esciltalopram and sertaline. I got vivid nightmares from the both, but the nightmares began from the first 10 days of use and made me quit after month because the nightmares were so bad I kept the bad feeling through the day. I had dream which I think could’t forget for weeks after in which my sister was cutting my body with chainsaw. I have tried LSD microdosin, Phenibut and some natural medicines (like Lavander capsules) but they all give me bad, vivid dreams (maybe not as bad as the one on antidepressants)

  54. I am so annoyed. After reading this it’s made me realise I’m not going crazy I haven’t slept in so long because these nightmares are horrific but what I’m more annoyed with is my doctor put me on these knowing I needed a nighttime antidepressant to relax me enough to help with the nightmares I was already having but there not even at the same level. Like why would he do this. How long is it going to take after weaning off them for the nightmares to stop.

  55. Coming off 150mg after using for under a year and found very little help with my depression, now down to 25mg every 2 to 4 days depending on the withdrawals just can’t shake the last 25, the nightmares and what I call swooshing in my head while awake are insane and I’ve been on and come off a few other antidepressants nothing like this. What I find amazing about the nightmares is if I were straight I would classify them as just dreams but the drug has made me terrified of things in my dreams that wouldn’t normally worry me its just bizarre.. I feel for anyone coming off this DEMON drug good luck to anyone who is..

  56. Hi,
    I’m currently on cymbalta and I take a very low dose and have nightmares every time I sleep! I know this is about withdrawing from it but I cant find anything online about people having them while still on the drug. Was (Is) anyone else like this? I used to enjoy my dreams and now I’m like, afraid to go to sleep. I dont know what my next step is other than to talk to my doctor but I cant believe how this isnt a huge thing!

    • I am on month 5 on Cymbalta. Helps completely with pain and waking up feeling good. I don’t have nightmares. I’d say I dream but about don’t remember what of half the time. I have always been sensitive to scary movies and avoid then at all costs since I was child. Im 38. As I’m reading these experiences I was thinking I wasn’t on anything daily for pain before going on Cymbalta. I was scared of getting liver damage. I used Epson soaks and magnesium oil. On bad months I’d get a steroid pack. Helped with inflammation and pain but I gained weight. I’m only saying this because I was suicidal after feeling like I was dieing after experiencing serious side effects from scan with contrast (trying to figure out why my belly hurt). I was suicidal because I couldn’t stand the pain or loss of ability to just get up. I had to get help. Took 5 years to finally say ‘yes blood work shows inflammation, borderline lupus.’ Everything else has been ruled out. I had gotten a UTI (my own fault) 2022 But it got so bad from a new med I couldn’t rebound to function. The anxiety was horrible. Lack of sleep wasn’t helping my thoughts. Doc put me on Cymbalta. I had mild side effects. 2 weeks in it was noticeable I wasn’t hurting anymore. Just curious if anyone’s mixing other pain meds after cutting Cymbalta. It says not to with certain meds because of the counter reactions. Maybe it’s counter reacting as you guys are coming off of it. I take prenatal vitamins with Cymbalta. That’s all I need. I do get worried about the zaps. Always happens when I get a scare or start getting sad over a death. It zaps and I start getting real tired but I don’t go into the sad mode of crying and overthinking their death. My brain just won’t let me. I find that very interesting.

  57. I have a question any advice is appreciated. I took myself off of Cymbalta about 7 months ago but my depression is getting worse, am considering starting up again. I have been having really bad, terrifying nightmares which when I was on the Cymbalta I had no nightmares or even dreams. Should I go back on my Cymbalta and if so what miligram should I start back as, I was on 60 milligrams per day, tried to go back on them once took 40 milligrams but had horrible stomach pain and was vomiting. Is that a normal reaction to starting up again. Please help

  58. Two years ago I was hospitalized for low sodium. The Dr stopped all my meds cold turkey as they didn’t know what had caused my problem. 5 days in ICU later I go home feeling better than I had in years and completely medication free. That night the horror of no Cymbalta hit. I was at my mom’s and it just hit all of a sudden. I didn’t know where I was couldn’t make complete sentences and was freaking out. My mom called the ambulance to come get me, they also sent an officer as they could hear me screaming in the background. When they arrived I vaguely remember grabbing someone glasses of their face and begging the officer to shoot me in the face. They must have sedated me because my next memory was of being in hell. Everyone was around me saying she’s gone and they all walked off and left me in hell. Little did I know I was only dreaming this. The next day I was transferred to another hospital. I hardly remember the ride there or the first night there I was so sedated. When I came to I was super weak and convinced I was in hell. My mind was a blurred up me. I spent 5 more days in hospital number 2. I was sent home still half wondering if I was dead. At this time I had restarted the Cymbalta. I felt extremely suicidal and somewhat homicidal. I checked myself into a mental facility. 5 more days go by. It’s now 2 years after the initial nightmare of hell from the Cymbalta. It has shaken my life to the point I will never be the same.

  59. I’ve taken Cymbalta for 18 years. When I’ve tried to switch antidepressants 2 previous times, the brain zaps, sleeplessness, increased restless legs, and fog made it impossible to function and switch. Now I made the decision to take time off work to make the switch. On doctor’s orders, I reduced the dosage of Cymbalta from 60 mg to 30 mg while adding Prozac 40 mg for 2 weeks. Now I’m on day 5 of zero Cymbalta while still taking 40 mg Prozac. I feel awful, brain zaps, no initiation of anything, everything, from making toast to showering feels like a superhuman effort. I don’t want to be around people. I can’t fall asleep for 36 hours, then I sleep for 12 or more. And now I’ve woken up from a nightmare where I killed at least 15 people by stabbing them in the heart, including 2 children. In the nightmare, I have no emotional reaction to doing this, just calm and vivid, colors, sounds, etc. And waking up, it was terrifying. What have I been putting in my body for 18 years?

    • Cymbalta is a nightmare. Lilly threw it in the dustbin before stuck for another antidepressant they fished it out again and we now have situations like yours


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