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Sunday, May 6, 2012

My Cymbalta Withdrawal - Review of the Trilogy

I've blogged about my ongoing withdrawal from the antidepressant Cymbalta since I started tapering doses on March 20. In that time I've written three posts sharing my experience with the most recent being "My Cymbalta Withdrawal - Return of the Mind."  

This post is a review and summary of the first segment on my journey to 0 mg/day so far. But with a twist. I am inserting characters and adding plot that represents the Star Wars series.  Why not, right?

The Trilogy

1.  Withdrawal Wars. In "Withdrawal Wars" we find our hero, Duke Taperwalker, at the very beginning of the discontinuation process when he went down from 120 mg per day to 100 mg per day. We come to find out through the master obi-one-clinician that he needs to clear himself of the toxic antidepressant before he can begin to clearly access the Life Force.

Duke had high hopes since he has made it off several psych meds without invoking the wrath of the Discontinuation Syndrome. He's thinking Cymbalta withdrawal will go smooth and last less than six weeks or two months max. Our protagonist is not aware of the evil biopsychoneuropharmacology that lurks in the not-so-distant future. 

2.  The Syndrome Strikes Back. In "The Syndrome Strikes Back" post we find Duke eating a little humble pie.  The withdrawal from Cymbalta took a turn for the worse. He has been overpowered by the Dark Side and is experiencing severe symptoms from the evil warlord Darth Depression.   

It started at the beginning of the second week when they dropped Duke's dose to 80 mg per day. The psychmed rebel fighter began experiencing severe depression, which became mild by the end of the week. During the third week the depression became severe again, but this time worse than the prior week! And the fourth week was like the third. 
Even though young Taperwalker stayed at 80 mg per day, he continues to experience attacks from Darth Depression.  

So, we leave our hero devastated and trapped by the intensity of withdrawal symptoms. The Syndrome has regrouped and attacked with ferocity.  What now?  Where will this perilous journey lead him?
3. Return of the Mind. In "Return of the Mind" we find Duke pleasantly surprised and thoroughly relieved by the remission of Darth Depression. However, drug recon data and recent Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms indicate this is going to be a long and arduous process.

The episode starts at a point where the withdrawal from Cymbalta took another big turn. This time for the better! It is near the end of fifth week and he remains at 80 mg per day. Duke has actually had as much as six days in a row with only mild depression!!
It looks like the kid might be stabilized with intermittent, mild depression. He has remained in communication with his rebel leader psychiatrist, Dr. G, on a weekly basis throughout this withdrawal process. 

At the end of the fifth week the Executive Council of the Psychmed Rebel Alliance was convened to decide what to do next. Even though it was not clear what direction Duke's withdrawal symptoms were heading, the recommendation was to stay at 80 mg/day for a few more days and see what happens. It turns out that was a good move!

It is now the end of the fifth week of this episodic battle to get off Cymbalta. Duke Taperwalker has defeated the Discontinuation Syndrome once again!  His mind is clearer and his mood is significantly better. The psychmed rebels are enjoying an extended period of peace between the dark and light sides of the disordered universe. There is hope once again in the Pharma Galaxy!

What's Up Cymbalta What's Up?

I have had better moods lately because we paused the campaign to rid my body of Cymbalta. I've been at 80 mg per day for over five weeks now.

My psychiatrist wants me to stay at 80 mg for an unspecified period of time, but I'm wanting to press on, but respect for her recommendation resulted in a compromise. I agreed I would stay at 80 mg per day for four weeks and at that time evaluate my progress to determine whether to lower my Cymbalta dose or not.

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