Cymbalta is a brand name prescription medication containing duloxetine hydrochloride. Although it is classified as an anti-depressant, Cymbalta is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat diabetic nerve pain, fibromyalgia and generalized anxiety disorder, as well as major depressive disorder. Abruptly stopping Cymbalta or similar antidepressants after extended use can lead to withdrawal symptoms. Instead, Cymbalta should be discontinued by slowly tapering off the drug over at least a two-week period, explains lead author David Perahia, M.D. in a 2005 article titled "Symptoms Following Abrupt Discontinuation of Duloxetine Treatment of Patients with Major Depressive Disorder" in the "Journal of Affective Disorders."
The study discussed in the 2005 "Journal of Affective Disorders" article found dizziness to be the most common effect of the abrupt cessation of duloxetine in patients with major depressive disorder. Similarly, some patients complain of a sensation that the room is spinning.
Stopping Cymbalta abruptly may result in nightmares. It is also possible to have problems falling asleep, explains MedlinePlus, a website maintained by the National Institutes of Health.
Fatigue, or excessive tiredness, is a common complaint among individuals who suddenly stop taking Cymbalta, describes the drug's manufacturer. Difficulty with sleeping can compound the effects of fatigue.
Nausea and vomiting may occur when stopping duloxetine. Diarrhea is another possible gastrointestinal complaint, explains MedlinePlus.
It is possible to feel tingling or burning in the hands, arms, feet or legs as a result of Cymbalta withdrawal syndrome. One or more extremities may feel numb, which can cause the individual to fall or drop an object he is attempting to grasp. A sudden uncomfortable feeling similar to a mild electric shock may be felt in an arm or leg.
The drug's manufacturer reports that headache is a common effect of abrupt discontinuation of Cymbalta. Like the other effects, this often resolves within a week.
Some people become irritable or anxious during duloxetine withdrawal. It is possible to feel moody or have a mood that is unusual for one's circumstances, such as feeling restless and discontented despite having a satisfying day. Anxiety may be accompanied by excessive sweating.
Some individuals with major depressive disorder have a resumption of depressive symptoms when Cymbalta is discontinued, whether it is stopped abruptly or tapered. Like the other effects, the prescribing physician should be made aware of feelings of depression.
- “2010 Lippincott’s Nursing Drug Guide”; Amy M. Karch, R.N., M.S.; 2010
- Eli Lilly and Company: Cymbalta Full Prescribing Information
- "Journal of Affective Disorders"; Symptoms Following Abrupt Discontinuation of Duloxetine Treatment of Patients with Major Depressive Disorder; David G. Perahia, M.D., et al.; 2005
- MedlinePlus: Duloxetine