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Those who have taken Cymbalta . . . need opinions.

Started 1381174008.61 in Health & Fitness | Last reply 1384355113.033 by Ford1224

It has been prescribed for chronic low back pain, not necessarily depression, although I am depressed as well. FDA approved it for chronic low back pain fairly recently.

If you took it (or are taking it), I would appreciate knowing if it has helped and what the most significant side effects are, both positive and negative. Thanks.

Whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

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jazzybelle1381174645.6432012 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004NC

Hi Ford! I have been taking Cymbalta for clinical depression for years. I am currently taking 60 mg daily; however, at one time, I was taking 120 mg a day. I have experienced no side effects. I really don't like taking medications, and I particularly don't like taking one consistently for a long period of time. Unfortunately, I had to weigh my quality of life, and without medication, old problems resurface. I am hoping to lower this dosage at some point.

What dosage has your doc prescribed? Perhaps a low to moderate dosage will provide some relief for your back pain and help your depression, too. I wish you all the best. I read your other thread, too, and I hope you are able to achieve peace with the other challenge you are facing. Take care.

Sassenach11381174748.394541 PostsRegistered 12/3/2005

Hi Ford,

While I prefer to be Rx-free, I take one med and it is Cymbalta. I have been on it for about four years after enduring a really bad job situation for a long time. I am in a wonderful job now with a very, very good company so that has cleared. Due to far fewer episodes of back and hip pain as well as being sole caregiver for my mother with Alzheimer's, my GP is reluctant to take it away at this point. We did reduce it down to 30 mg early this year.

I can say that Cymbalta has been overall a positive experience for me. I don't have the frequent pain in the back and lower hip area. In fact, my hips have not hurt in a long time! I did not dream, or perhaps I was not aware of my dreams for many years. I do dream with Cymbalta and it is not a bad thing. The main side effect is constipation so I do take fiber capsules. The main negative has been the strong reluctance of my insurance to cover it. They forced me to try Effexor earlier this year and I decided I would rather have nothing than deal with what Effexor did to me. It was not pleasant. Insurance approved Cymbalta after the Effexor trial but I must buy 90 days at a time at a cost of nearly $250! I anticipate another "review" in early 2014.

I would not have taken it this long if I did not feel it was helpful. In my situation, Cymbalta has been a very good thing.

Ford12241381174917.1511328 PostsRegistered 3/25/2012
On 10/7/2013 jazzybelle said:

Hi Ford! I have been taking Cymbalta for clinical depression for years. I am currently taking 60 mg daily; however, at one time, I was taking 120 mg a day. I have experienced no side effects. I really don't like taking medications, and I particularly don't like taking one consistently for a long period of time. Unfortunately, I had to weigh my quality of life, and without medication, old problems resurface. I am hoping to lower this dosage at some point.

What dosage has your doc prescribed? Perhaps a low to moderate dosage will provide some relief for your back pain and help your depression, too. I wish you all the best. I read your other thread, too, and I hope you are able to achieve peace with the other challenge you are facing. Take care.

Thank you jazzybelle, that is good to know because I have decided to give this one a try, depending on what users here and online are saying. I asked for the lowest dosage to start (20 mgs). Like a lot of meds, I read this one has to be titrated slowly if one wants to get off it.

Whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

nytengale11381175060.891223 PostsRegistered 8/22/2009PA

Hi Ford,

Just as every other med, side effects vary from person to person so my experience is not necessarily someone else's.

I was put on Cymbalta to help with neuropathic pain/depression. I was on Celexa (as an antidepressant) and it seemed to stop working so my primary thought the Cymbalta might work well for me. I am 40 and have a history of breast cancer, neuropathy, and cardiomyopathy. Anyway...

-I gained 22 pounds within 3 weeks of my first dose. I am 5'8" and weigh around 140. I called the primary when I noticed the weight gain and she said it needed time to kick in. I gave it a little bit but my weight just kept creeping up. It turned out that the weight was fluid and I needed to take water pills for a week to get the fluid off. I was also very short of breath.

-I was severely depressed. Almost to the point of suicidal. I thought it was because of not feeling well from the weight gain, but worsening depression is a side effect.

-My neuropathy did not improve- however, I only took it for 3 weeks, so I don't know how well it works long term for neuropathic pain.

Again, this is only my experience with Cymbalta, so take it for what it's worth.

I wish you good luck.

.

nytengale1

Ford12241381175163.10711328 PostsRegistered 3/25/2012
On 10/7/2013 Sassenach1 said:

Hi Ford,

While I prefer to be Rx-free, I take one med and it is Cymbalta. I have been on it for about four years after enduring a really bad job situation for a long time. I am in a wonderful job now with a very, very good company so that has cleared. Due to far fewer episodes of back and hip pain as well as being sole caregiver for my mother with Alzheimer's, my GP is reluctant to take it away at this point. We did reduce it down to 30 mg early this year.

I can say that Cymbalta has been overall a positive experience for me. I don't have the frequent pain in the back and lower hip area. In fact, my hips have not hurt in a long time! I did not dream, or perhaps I was not aware of my dreams for many years. I do dream with Cymbalta and it is not a bad thing. The main side effect is constipation so I do take fiber capsules. The main negative has been the strong reluctance of my insurance to cover it. They forced me to try Effexor earlier this year and I decided I would rather have nothing than deal with what Effexor did to me. It was not pleasant. Insurance approved Cymbalta after the Effexor trial but I must buy 90 days at a time at a cost of nearly $250! I anticipate another "review" in early 2014.

I would not have taken it this long if I did not feel it was helpful. In my situation, Cymbalta has been a very good thing.

Thank you Sassenach. So far so good. I also hate meds, I take very little for the issues I have. So if I'm going to add one, I don't want to add more problems. I have to titrate off the prednisone (another long titration, only by 1 mg a month) because it's killing me. Three doctors in a row have now told me that.


Whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Ford12241381175433.15711328 PostsRegistered 3/25/2012
On 10/7/2013 nytengale1 said:

Hi Ford,

Just as every other med, side effects vary from person to person so my experience is not necessarily someone else's.

I was put on Cymbalta to help with neuropathic pain/depression. I was on Celexa (as an antidepressant) and it seemed to stop working so my primary thought the Cymbalta might work well for me. I am 40 and have a history of breast cancer, neuropathy, and cardiomyopathy. Anyway...

-I gained 22 pounds within 3 weeks of my first dose. I am 5'8" and weigh around 140. I called the primary when I noticed the weight gain and she said it needed time to kick in. I gave it a little bit but my weight just kept creeping up. It turned out that the weight was fluid and I needed to take water pills for a week to get the fluid off. I was also very short of breath.

-I was severely depressed. Almost to the point of suicidal. I thought it was because of not feeling well from the weight gain, but worsening depression is a side effect.

-My neuropathy did not improve- however, I only took it for 3 weeks, so I don't know how well it works long term for neuropathic pain.

Again, this is only my experience with Cymbalta, so take it for what it's worth.

I wish you good luck.

.

Thank you . . . I need to hear all sides. One shouldn't get depressed from taking an antidepressant!! I've never taken one before, that's why I want to start low dosage. As I said I am not taking it for depression necessarily.

I think the reason I stayed on prednisone for so long is that I never had any side effects that could be "seen," not even the full face. The side effects were happening though and that is what has put me in this very bad osteoporosis situation.

Last edited on 10/7/2013

Whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

pepes mom1381175762.075311 PostsRegistered 7/21/2005SW PA

My PCP started me on Cymbalta last October. I have a history of chronic low back pain due to injuries, bulging discs, as well as left arm parasthesias post neck surgery.

I was started on 30mg per day. The first 3 days I had nausea for about 3 hours after I took the capsule. After 2 weeks, I was bumped up to 60mg per day. The first 2 nights I had extreme nausea, so much so that I took oral zofran for it. After that, no more nausea.

I haven't noted any side effects. There have been 3 occasions over the past 11 months where I didn't remember to take my meds. I did have a slight headache those days.

How is it working for me? I still get the parasthesia in my arm, but not to the degree I did before. My back will always be the biggest source of pain for me, but I can say that I haven't needed an epidural since last December. That is big for me. The pain isn't gone, not by a long shot, but I am more comfortable.

Hope that helps.

~ Pepe's Mom ~

I'm cool toned. Yellow foundations make me look jaundiced. That is NOT the look I am going for.

KatherineW1381177424.2128130 PostsRegistered 3/16/2009Alabamian by Birth; Southern By The Grace of God

Cymbalta has been great at curbing my aches and pains!




Ford12241381177833.8711328 PostsRegistered 3/25/2012
On 10/7/2013 pepes mom said:

My PCP started me on Cymbalta last October. I have a history of chronic low back pain due to injuries, bulging discs, as well as left arm parasthesias post neck surgery.

I was started on 30mg per day. The first 3 days I had nausea for about 3 hours after I took the capsule. After 2 weeks, I was bumped up to 60mg per day. The first 2 nights I had extreme nausea, so much so that I took oral zofran for it. After that, no more nausea.

I haven't noted any side effects. There have been 3 occasions over the past 11 months where I didn't remember to take my meds. I did have a slight headache those days.

How is it working for me? I still get the parasthesia in my arm, but not to the degree I did before. My back will always be the biggest source of pain for me, but I can say that I haven't needed an epidural since last December. That is big for me. The pain isn't gone, not by a long shot, but I am more comfortable.

Hope that helps.

Thank you pepes mom. My main issue is back pain which is due to compressed vertebrae fractures, the last three I've had since May. I had kyphoplasty for two of those fractures but it has not taken the chronic pain away. I don't know why they don't consider epidurals for me, my guess is it doesn't help fractures. Even 50% more comfortable would be acceptableto me.

I asked that the doc also prescribe a nausea med for me because I am very susceptible to nausea and feel sure I will have that side effect.

Thanks for your input.

Whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Ford12241381177871.80311328 PostsRegistered 3/25/2012
On 10/7/2013 KatherineW said:

Cymbalta has been great at curbing my aches and pains!

{#emotions_dlg.thumbup}

Whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

straykatz1381179241.5639003 PostsRegistered 6/13/2007

I took cymbalta for neuropathy but brain fog was a constant issue so I had to go off it in order to function at my job.

@-->-->---

Eat less, move more, buy less, make more, stress less, laugh more, feel blessed, love more....find a quiet spot every day and breathe.

Brinklii1381182087.55310278 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004Northern WI

Hi Ford, I've been taking Cymbalta (60 mg) for several years for fibromyalgia. I didn't have any side effects from it at all, and it does a wonderful job of helping keep my pain under control.

A tongue has no bones, yet it is strong enough to break a heart. Be careful with your words.

bikerbabe1381182258.228763 PostsRegistered 4/10/2007

The one recommendation I have is to monitor your depression level. In some cases the cymbalta can make the depression worse, not better. This is not the norm, but it does happen.

I take pleasure in my 'transformations'. I look quiet and consistent, but few know how many women there are in me.
- Anais Nin

puglet11381182589.2131587 PostsRegistered 3/31/2011

Ford, my DH just started taking Cymbalta. He's 2 weeks into it. It was prescribed to him primarily for (as yet undiagnosed) severe leg pain and secondarily for his mood. In two days, there was a dramatic change in his mood for the better. That alone has been a blessing. The leg pain is still there, however, his doc said it takes several weeks to reach a therapeutic level for pain relief. BTW, he has significant arthritis in his back and resulting spinal stenosis. He's still being evaluated to see if that might be the cause of his leg pain.

As far as side effects, I have noticed that he is very sleepy and will conk out even mid-morning. In researching side effects, I see that Cymbalta can cause insomnia in some and drowsiness/sleepiness in others. I've also noticed a decrease in his normally big appetite. I was told that you have to give the body some time to adjust to the medication and that these minor side effects should normalize.

I hope you feel better.

violann1381185434.6912934 PostsRegistered 12/12/2004
I took it for depression and fibro pain. I respond very rapidly to this type of medication, and it served me well as an antidepressant, somewhat less effectively as a pain reliever. I had absolutely zero problem weaning off. Puglet's comment was very interesting to me since it is widely held belief that most people take an extended period of time to respond to Cymbalta. In her husband's and my case, not true.




I didn't come here to argue.- Peg Bracken

viwanton1381192889.63814 PostsRegistered 11/26/2011

A friend of mine developed hand tremors, not very handy for her as we are both surgical nurses. We need steady hands. She did not find it helped her chronic pain very well.

di-mc1381193624.87543 PostsRegistered 12/4/2006the real world

Thank you for this topic!

My ortho wants me to try Cymbalta for sciatica. I'm not depressed.

I've had horrible reactions to antidepressants in the past when I took them for depression. They actually made me more depressed! My psychiatrist had me on one after the other and in various combinations. I went from being mildly sad, to being unable to leave my bedroom. Also, there's the weight gain problem; I do not want to add 1 more pound.

Exercising is a problem due to the sciatica, but I've been doing as much as possible. Walking is out of the question; that used to be my favorite exercise. So, my fear reliving past experiences has kept me from taking the Cymbalta.

I appreciate all the opinions, but I'm still extremely leery of taking this drug.

The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.
Alexis de Tocqueville

FATCATinCT1381260736.282641 PostsRegistered 11/18/2006

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Last edited on 11/12/2013

SUZYQUE1381262572.3131522 PostsRegistered 12/29/2011
On 10/7/2013 nytengale1 said:

Hi Ford,

Just as every other med, side effects vary from person to person so my experience is not necessarily someone else's.

I was put on Cymbalta to help with neuropathic pain/depression. I was on Celexa (as an antidepressant) and it seemed to stop working so my primary thought the Cymbalta might work well for me. I am 40 and have a history of breast cancer, neuropathy, and cardiomyopathy. Anyway...

-I gained 22 pounds within 3 weeks of my first dose. I am 5'8" and weigh around 140. I called the primary when I noticed the weight gain and she said it needed time to kick in. I gave it a little bit but my weight just kept creeping up. It turned out that the weight was fluid and I needed to take water pills for a week to get the fluid off. I was also very short of breath.

-I was severely depressed. Almost to the point of suicidal. I thought it was because of not feeling well from the weight gain, but worsening depression is a side effect.

-My neuropathy did not improve- however, I only took it for 3 weeks, so I don't know how well it works long term for neuropathic pain.

Again, this is only my experience with Cymbalta, so take it for what it's worth.

I wish you good luck.

.

Unfortunatly, (sp) my experience was very similar. I was switched to this med in the Spring this year and between coming off my old med and then trying the Cymbalta, I thought I was going to die. I never had such terrible side effects. I don't want to scare you but my depression sunk to all time lows and the anxiety I had was unbearable. After a month I went back to my old medicine (Pristiq) but it took a good 4-5 month for me to get the Cymbalta out of my system and get re-regulated with the Pristiq. I am just now feeling more "normal". This has been a long road since March and I never want to feel that way again. I t never did much for the Fibro and disc pain that I had.

This is just my experience and others have had good results. I wish you the best.

MrsSweetie­Bear1381367732.396511 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004Somewhere UNDER the rainbow

Gawd! Reading the varying reactions here, I truly feel we humans are all nothing but a bunch of pathetic guinea pigs. {#emotions_dlg.thumbdown} No disrespect to poor guinea pigs. {#emotions_dlg.sad}

And don't mean to disparage anyone who needs to take whatever meds or whatever conditions. It's just the process and the fact that it's just so hit and miss that sends me on a rant. There's no exact science. Everything is experimental. I don't like it and will resist any and all of it as long as I can.

My best wishes to all of you.

Last edited on 10/9/2013

My favorite people are dogs, and
Dogs are my favorite people.

Fiver1381371020.58328 PostsRegistered 1/15/2013

Hi there! I'm so glad you are asking about taking Cymbalta before you take it. I wish I had the same foresight. I was on 60 mg for a year for depression during a divorce. I happen to have degenerative disc disease = pain in lumbar spine for 6+ years. The Cymbalta did get me through the divorce and my back pain was definitely minimized while I was taking it. HOWEVER, after the worst part of the divorce was over I wanted to get off of this medicine. I talked to my doctor about it and he gave me samples of the 30mg capsules to taper down for a couple of weeks. BAD IDEA. I quickly plunged into emotional disaster. I went back to my doctor to get help. Even though it is widely documented (internet and medical reports) that coming off of Cymbalta is VERY VERY HARD to do, I really had to convince my doctor that I needed help to taper slowly off this medicine. He gave me two prescriptions, one for 20 mg and one for 30 mg, so I could go down to 50mg then 40mg then 30mg and to 20 mg - each reduction over a period of 30 days. You can totally feel the difference with each reduction. Some side effects are just annoying, like the feeling that your brain can't keep up with moving your eyes, or the "brain zaps" that occur if you are late with your reduced dose. It wasn't until the move from 30 mg to 20 mg that my depression spun out of control. It was worse than it ever was before I started taking anything. I honestly wanted to die. My friends and parents had an intervention with me. I really think they saved me. I walked into my doctor's office the next day and they quickly got me back for an appointment. I switched from Cymbalta to a combination of Celexa and Wellbutrin, which is a similar combination to Cymbalta, but the two drugs stay in your system for longer so you don't "crash" if you are late taking your medicine. It took me about 3 weeks to come back from that really bad place. Now it's 6 months later and I'm still on the Celexa/Wellbutrin combination and I'm doing well. My back pain is worse than it was on Cymbalta, but I'm willing to deal with it. This is probably all in my head (haha), but I feel in more control without the Cymbalta. My case may be extreme, but I would beg you to Google 'Cymbalta withdrawal' before you make a decision. Oh, I believe that the patent on Cymbalta runs out in December, so a generic version should be available to help with the cost because it is expensive. Best wishes to you.

Last edited on 10/9/2013

Ford12241381416356.6411328 PostsRegistered 3/25/2012
On 10/9/2013 Fiver said:

Hi there! I'm so glad you are asking about taking Cymbalta before you take it. I wish I had the same foresight. I was on 60 mg for a year for depression during a divorce. I happen to have degenerative disc disease = pain in lumbar spine for 6+ years. The Cymbalta did get me through the divorce and my back pain was definitely minimized while I was taking it. HOWEVER, after the worst part of the divorce was over I wanted to get off of this medicine. I talked to my doctor about it and he gave me samples of the 30mg capsules to taper down for a couple of weeks. BAD IDEA. I quickly plunged into emotional disaster. I went back to my doctor to get help. Even though it is widely documented (internet and medical reports) that coming off of Cymbalta is VERY VERY HARD to do, I really had to convince my doctor that I needed help to taper slowly off this medicine. He gave me two prescriptions, one for 20 mg and one for 30 mg, so I could go down to 50mg then 40mg then 30mg and to 20 mg - each reduction over a period of 30 days. You can totally feel the difference with each reduction. Some side effects are just annoying, like the feeling that your brain can't keep up with moving your eyes, or the "brain zaps" that occur if you are late with your reduced dose. It wasn't until the move from 30 mg to 20 mg that my depression spun out of control. It was worse than it ever was before I started taking anything. I honestly wanted to die. My friends and parents had an intervention with me. I really think they saved me. I walked into my doctor's office the next day and they quickly got me back for an appointment. I switched from Cymbalta to a combination of Celexa and Wellbutrin, which is a similar combination to Cymbalta, but the two drugs stay in your system for longer so you don't "crash" if you are late taking your medicine. It took me about 3 weeks to come back from that really bad place. Now it's 6 months later and I'm still on the Celexa/Wellbutrin combination and I'm doing well. My back pain is worse than it was on Cymbalta, but I'm willing to deal with it. This is probably all in my head (haha), but I feel in more control without the Cymbalta. My case may be extreme, but I would beg you to Google 'Cymbalta withdrawal' before you make a decision. Oh, I believe that the patent on Cymbalta runs out in December, so a generic version should be available to help with the cost because it is expensive. Best wishes to you.

This doesn't sound very good. I am already tapering prednisone at 1 mg a month, and if this med doesn't work for me, I don't want to have to be tapering another one. I am not particularly depressed, I was prescribed the med for my continuing back pain since surgery for three fractured vertebrae. I have severe osteoporosis and was told by three docs in a row (a rheumatologist, an endocrinologist, and my GP) that if I don't take meds to strengthen my bones I will die soon from the side effects of more spinal fractures or a hip fracture.

My GP also advised me "not to look up the side effects of Cymbalta, because it is a safe med and will help me." She told me none of these side effects, especially worsening depression or the problems with titration. Of course I looked it up anyway, and posted this to get your opinions as well.

As for costs, my daughter is picking up my prescriptions today, and the total cost of four of them is only $20+. I have good Medicare Part D coverage, so I'm not concerned about the cost. I will read the drug information that comes with the meds (two new ones) and see what I think.

Thanks for your opinions everyone, it seems there's a little more negative than positive here. Perhaps I'll try the Cymbalta, perhaps I won't. I don't like meds, take very few . . . just wish I had never taken prednisone, but that was the only med that worked to alleviate my RA pain without obvious side effects (not so obvious was what it was doing to my bones).

I'm between a rock and a hard place, no good choices.

Whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

MrsSweetie­Bear1381436393.2976511 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004Somewhere UNDER the rainbow

Yeah, that's what I meant by my rambling rant, Ford. You personally, and so many patients in poor health from varying diseases, disorders and conditions are just that - "between a rock and a hard place." I wish medicine was more of an exact science!

My dh takes so many different meds and I don't trust any of them on their own...let alone in the combination he takes. Worse, I trust his doctors (at the VA) even less. Even before he was shuffled off to VA doctors, his personal physician was an incompetent pill pusher. His orthopedic surgeon screwed up a shoulder surgery royally and his heart doctor misdiagnosed GERD causing us undo stress, an unnecessary procedure and incurred debt in medi-vac travel expense. I never liked doctors even before all that.

I hope you are able to make the best decision for yourself.

My favorite people are dogs, and
Dogs are my favorite people.

mstt101381436983.4578 PostsRegistered 1/4/2009

I tried Cymbalta for fibromyalgia pain, and just pain in general. I didn't like myself at all, while I was taking it. I was edgy, irritable, and thought I might lose it. It also gave me horrible sweats. Needless to say, I didn't stay on it for long. I do have a sensitivity to these type of drugs, though. I know it works for a lot of people.

ThinkOutsi­deTheBox1381441341.281653 PostsRegistered 1/23/2011
I took Cymbalta for my neuropathy from a herniated disk. I started out at 30 mg once per day. I was sleepy all the time, not just at night if I took it at night. So, I stopped taking it. Cold turkey, no problems. Then, about six months later, I decided to try it again since it had definitely helped my pain. So, I took my 30 mg pill, opened it up, and started dumping out the pellets inside and taking varying amounts to see if I could get the pain relief without the side effects. Sure enough, 10-13 pellets taken out of a 30 mg capsule, taken once per day, worked very well. AND THE DREAMS!!! My God, dreams on this medicine are fun! It is like being in a video game. Even my nightmares were cool, because I somehow knew I was in a dream and was not scared. Anyway, I have started and stopped Cymbalta several times without any problem. I he had to stop it to take other meds recommended by my doc for my back issues. I refuse to take more than one med at a time. The only med that worked better than the Cymbalta was Lyrica. However, I gained about 10 pounds on Lyrica because it seemed to enhance my cravings. On Cymbalta, my cravings were actually under control. And yes, the first two weeks that I resume Cymbalta, I am mildly nauseous. I would imagine that anyone taking a larger dose then my 10-13 pellets would have more nausea.

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