Withdrawal’s not over, but neither am I

I cannot get my temperature stabilized!*

Today is the official end of my withdrawal. SUPPLIES POND MEDIA from Big Als Aquarium Services My body seems to have missed the memo. The substitute doctor (when I freaked out and called my shrink last Friday-“I can’t take this anymore!”, he was on vacation! You know, he’s the moron who told me to quit Cymbalta cold turkey. Isn’t that perfect-on vacation!) Substitute doc got my message and she called me back. I nearly dropped the phone when I realized there was a psychiatrist on the other end. A planet where doctors speak to patients who are suffering?!

Anyway, she said withdrawal lasts from one to two weeks. [PLEASE: no helpful comments about withdrawal that went on for 1-2 years, or that was permanent. I know the horror stories, and this will not help me.] So during these two weeks, I’ve had that to focus on: an end point for all of this. Not sure how I’m going to cope once I’m beyond that end point. Two weeks is way too long given the misery, but I did it. Coping for an unknown period of time is something else.

Helpful doc did push going back on the Cymbalta so I could taper off in tiny doses. Her voice was like a drug as she said “Going back on even a tiny dose will make all these symptoms stop immediately”. Oh, how I want that. But when asked directly, she confirmed that, yes, going back on even a tiny dose of Cymbalta could lead to all of these symptoms starting from scratch when I quit the drug for good. I will not relive the past two weeks.

So, I’ve made a little progress, but not too much. I catch myself bargaining like I did as a child: If the nausea will stop, I won’t complain about anything else. Oh, and I’ll be “good” too! I’m trying to avoid too much interaction with people as I only have two reactions: a weepy, emotional mess, and rage. Yes, in fact, this is different from my “normal”. 😉

Here’s my big, weepy, make-you-uncomfortable self: thank you so much to all of you for your kind thoughts and your research. Knowing so many people give a rat’s ass really does help. Um, the impact is greater in person-I’d sob and soak the shoulder of your shirt in no time.

*I wasted three years of my life studying the autonomic nervous system. No one believes me when I say that my temperature regulation problems are withdrawal symptoms. Cymbalta functions in part by stabilizing the parasympathetic nervous system. So please, science geeks, explain to me why withdrawing from this drug wouldn’t explain why my temperature has fluctuated wildly for the last two weeks, ranging from a low of 96 degrees and a high of 98.7 degrees. That’s not an infectious process. Either it’s the withdrawal doing this to me, or I have a whole new health problem. Need I say the damage a rampaging elephant can do when she gets SOMETHING ELSE? Comfort me by lying to me if necessary. Many thanks!


32 responses to “Withdrawal’s not over, but neither am I

  1. Hey Spotted Ele – been thinking of you, knowing it would be not pleasant. Temperature fluctuation … yes you know it is connected … even though the medics won’t confirm it unless 100% of patients had it 100% of the time. Go with what you know. My shoulder is damp in this virtual world, because I have been giving you a heartfelt hug.

  2. Med changes suck. I’m going through one also and sometimes I want to go to my dr and force feed her what she prescribed so she can see what it’s like. Temp fluctuations- well sure, your body chemistry is changing.

  3. SE, i’m sorry you are going through this, you will be glad, for sure, once it’s behind you. your strength is shining through your suffering…you are so strong.
    ((( hugs)))

  4. hope you feel better soon.

  5. I am also having that symptom(temperature fluctuations), and have been since starting on cymbalta 2 years ago.
    please go to the road back website, it is very helpful in helping with withdrawal. i have been withdrawing very slowly for several months now. I also go through weepy days and can’t wait to get off this terrible medicine.

  6. Hey, I love your kick ass attitude.
    Okay, remember when I was withdrawing cold turkey from Seroquel? I wrote about it in 12 segments. It was pure hell.
    I was always hot or freezing. I could have ten blankets on me and feel freezing, and then switch to high fever and extreme sweating. Nausea, vomiting, diahrea, all of it. I felt the same way you did. I knew if I added a small dose it would relieve the symtoms–but I had lived thru the hell that long, I could keep on keeping on–ya know? I feel its the bottom line of what a person can handle. I based my withdrawal symtoms in comparison to how Seroquel made me feel on a daily basis, and hell if the withdrawals were better than that. Hang in there, you can do it. I think it was about a month when the severe stuff let up—and now its residual. I am glad to see you “surface” and be able to post. How is Bumble?

  7. Man, no one should have to have the kind of two weeks you’ve just endured…

    move through it however you need to…

  8. Makes sense to me, my kidney failure causes my parathyroid hormone (PTH?) to go out of whack periodically and I get real temperature swings when it does from shaking cold to hot flashes (and it isn’t menopause.)

    I wish I had your strength to do the same with nicotine. You are an inspiration.

  9. Pingback: It happens every spring... « Midlife And Treachery

  10. Oh, yay for Substitute Doc! (Who, I should note, does not get a cookie for doing what she should; rather it’s more a ‘yay’ of the ‘it’s about time’ variety.)

    And yay for you! (This ‘yay’ is definitely of the cookie variety – the kind just out of the oven – mmmm)

    Thank you for letting us all know that you’re still fighting. I have no doubt that you will make it through this and come out interacting like you’ve never interacted before!

    Big hugs

  11. Go Spotted E! Check this out, I am in no way as smart about science as a science geek, but I did find this:

    Serotonergic projections to the thalamus and cortex result in effects on sleep-wake cycles, mood, thermoregulation, appetite, pain perception, and sexual function. Excess 5-HT in these pathways causes the mental status changes, confusion, agitation, ataxia, and fever associated with SSRI toxicity and SS. Toxicity of descending pathways to the brainstem and medulla results in hyperreflexia, myoclonus, and tremor.

    (Notice the part about Thermoregulation!)

    I hope that helps you feel less alone in your assertion that your withdrawals are causing those fluctuations.

    Found it here:

    It’s an article about Effexor/Cymbalta and Serotonin Syndrome, a rather unpleasant syndrome that I became well acquainted with last fall.

    Are you taking any herbs to support your detox?

  12. hang in there…we’re all rooting for you.


  13. I feel sorry you feel bad. Kick withdrawal’s a**, spotted elephant!

  14. Best Wishes. And yes, while I’m no science geek either, I’d say your fluctuations are definitely the result of withdrawal. I’m still shocked your doc told you to quit cold turkey. When I went off Cymbalta (stuff made me sleep literally 16 hours a day so I wasn’t even on it that long), I asked if I could quit cold turkey and the NO from my doc was so emphatic it almost knocked me out my chair.

    Anyway, hang in there. You’ll get through this.


  15. Sally-Thank you!

    Rootie-Ah, I’m so sorry you’re going through one too. I have that exact fantasy-force the doc to go through a withdrawal! You can bet they’d be more careful about passing out the pills, and about warning people what might happen when they stop taking them.

    secondwaver-That’s very kind-because I feel very very weak right now. Like-if someone showed up at my door and showed me some Cymbalta, I’d be all over it. I will be so happy when this is over.

    antiprincess-Thank you! I’m trying to focus on the “soon” part.

    Joy-Thanks for sharing that you have the temperature problem too. I’m glad that website has helped you-I hope you do whatever you can to get through this. But I just have a big problem with something political that site has done.

    Stephany-You’re right-I keep separating meds as if they had very different effects, but the withdrawal from some of them seems universally awful, and it has the same symptoms. I also appreciate hearing the severe stuff stopping after a month (ok, right now that seems like far too long). I can handle residual symptoms! My body loves chronic disease! It’s this bring-you-to-your-knees stuff that’s got me feeling so hopeless and helpless. Bumble is feeling extremely neglected-putting his head out as I run past him for the bathroom, and he gets ignored, again. Sigh.

    imfunny2-Thanks for your kind words. I would say one group deserves to experience this: executives at the drug companies who suppress unfavorable information about their money-makers. But no, I couldn’t wish this on anyone, not really.

    hymes-Thanks for sharing that-those temperature swings are so intense, aren’t they? And please don’t be too rough on yourself-way back when I studied pharmacology, I remember learning that nicotine was the single hardest drug to stop taking. For all the misery I’m experiencing now, I don’t have any cravings for Cymbalta.

    manxome-At this point, I think docs who do what they should deserve the Nobel Prize. That’s very sad, but they’re so rare. And if I could trade that cookie for some Saltines right now, I’d be just as happy. 😉

    beansa-Thank you! What a great ref. I’m sorry you have personal experience with serotonin syndrome (shudder). It does help, because, with the one doc insisting that I must have gotten sick with something to cause the temp changes, I just couldn’t figure out how to address another problem, you know? I’m not taking herbs, but hope to correct that this week. I’m going to schedule with a naturopath (?) in hopes of at least easing some of this.

    Sly and Shannon-Thanks for your kind words-they help a lot. You each deserve your own line here, but I’m so tired! Please forgive me!

    Kevin-I’m really glad that *some* doctors are getting it right. It sounds like your withdrawal was uneventful? I really hope so. Thanks for the support-as long as there’s an end to it at some point, I think I will get through it.

  16. Well, I’d rather not go into the details of my experience with cymbalta, but I will say that my doc at least tried to make my transition from it as painless as possible (of course by putting me on more drugs, so maybe not really so) and I still eventually found myself having one of the worst panic attacks I’ve ever had, which was caused from the physical side effects of taking Cymbalta (along with my new drugs). I only bring this up because I’m pissed off as all hell that “No one believes [you] when [you] say that [your] temperature regulation problems are withdrawal symptoms.

    Seriously, WTF?

    Oh, this is probably the wrong spot for me to be getting pissed off about this. My apologies. I’ll shut up now.

    You will always have my love and support though.


  17. Kevin-I was hoping you’d been one of the few people to come through the withdrawal without any problems.

    At any rate, this space is always open for getting pissed off about horrible and/or stupid things, so no apologies need.

  18. Oh SE *********HUGE HUGS**************

    I’m sorry you have to go through such crappy symptoms. I know you’re strong enough to get through this and I am so sorry that you have to go through this.

    Good on the doc for actually calling you back. It’s amazing when they actually do their jobs, innit?

    If it helps any I now know to run away screaming if a doc ever says “Cymbalta.”

  19. Oh and I forgot to say, the doc that told you to go cold turkey and then left town, I can kneecap him for you. 😉

  20. SE: Heard about your travail on another blog.

    First, there here and now: you know you can do this, hard as it it. You know you must do this, hard as it is. I had a similar experience with Efexxor–lived out in the woods, alone, with several guns and no telephone at the time–and believe that experience alone proves Neitzche beyond all doubt.

    Second, some (unsolicited) advice for the future: no responsible doctor would advocate quitting ANY psychotrophic med “cold-turkey.” I hope that you think seriously about changing your health care provider (does SubDoc have a practice?)

    Much support.

  21. Hey there, I’ve been thinking about you. Be what you need to be, express it how you need to express it and keep an eye firmly on the horizon. There will be better times ahead.

  22. ((spotted ele)) wishing you lots of hugs and sending lots of love. Hope it doesn’t last too long and make sure you get lots of relaxation/rest – the perfect excuse to spend loads of time with your lovely bumble! Sorry it’s taken me so long to comment xxx

  23. One of the problems about these psychotropic drugs it seems is that doctors do say you can quit cold turkey and that there won’t be withdrawal symptoms and so on and so forth. If they knew so little about drugs for physical health, wouldn’t they be sued? Anyway good luck with this: the drug residue, or whatever it is, is going to have to get out of your system *some* time soon now!

  24. Meant to say: I love the elephant photo on this post!

  25. I came off cymbalta cold turkey. It was actually and accident I came off of it. I left it out of my weekly pill box. I started with dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. I actually thought I had cancer or something. I just felt like I was going to die. I really thought I had something bad wrong. I have the jerks in my arms and my legs feel like rubber. I have had temperature issues. I pray every night that when I wake up It will be all over. I am in my 4th day and things don’t seem to be looking up yet. I wouldn’t advise anyone to take this medication. If I would have been told about this I never would have taken it. But it did seem to help my back. I would much rather suffer with back problems.

  26. I also am coming off Cymbalta cold turkey. It’s not something I would do again. As you have been, I have been experiencing a number of extremely bothering and painful symptoms including:

    hot flashes/temperature changes
    increased sweating
    hostile/angry feelings
    severe restlessness
    trouble sleeping
    panic attacks
    worsening anxiety
    worsening depression
    suicidal ideations
    diarrhea/gastrointestinal disturbance

    That’s the ones I can think of off the top of my head :/

    I stopped from 90mg cold turkey. It has been seven days. I would kill for some valium or xanax, anything that would help the transition! Going to the doc tomorrow finally, but I am betting he will do nothing but try to put me back onto cymbalta to ease withdrawal. I DON’T think so!

    If you’re experiencing similar events as me and wish to talk, mail me at tyrus568 AT gmail.com.
    I’m so tired of this, and wish the rest of you out there the best…

  27. when you say it’s ove. Stacy Fabian.

  28. Hello All,

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  29. please tell me why, i’m feeling . Karolyn Leanne.

  30. Help are you better?
    i am at the end of day 7 for Cymbalta withdrawls… are you ok?
    I need to know if you got through it. Was there anything you did to help out?
    thank you.

  31. suannah,
    I am better. It seems every person is different in terms of how long the withdrawal lasts. It took me 2 months.

    Dramamine was a lifesaver for me-it either stopped or reduced the nausea and vomiting. But you have to be careful not to take it too often, or else you can get rebound nausea.

    Many people swear by Benadryl. If nothing else, it made me sleepy so I could nap instead of feeling miserable.

    Since my nausea was so bad, I had trouble eating. Popsicles were helpful, and homemade vegetable broth really helped.

    Can you get to a doctor? Please don’t take over the counter meds unless you follow the instructions on the box, and if you need them for more than a few days, a doctor can advise you on how to take them safely.

    Depending on how bad your nausea/vomiting/diarrhea are, you might want to go to a gastroenterologist. S/he could help you get through the worst of the symptoms.

    It was a long two months, but I got through it and now I’m fine. Some people get through it much faster, and some take even longer.

  32. Hello, Very nice site. Universe help us, dont worry man.

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