What Are the Side Effects of Getting Off Cymbalta?

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A man is feeling highly anxious. (Image: Gabriela Medina/Blend Images/Getty Images)

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."

Dizziness

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.

Nightmares

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

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.

Vomiting

Nausea and vomiting may occur when stopping duloxetine. Diarrhea is another possible gastrointestinal complaint, explains MedlinePlus.

Tingling

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.

Headache

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.

Anxiety

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.

Depression

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.

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