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Scared to start Cymbalta
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sarahfehring posted:
Hi all-

My dr called yesterday with results of my blood test and everything came back normal. He suggested I start Cymbalta for my wide spread pain. I have 12 of the 'tender points' that Fibromyalgia patients describe. I had no idea there was even such a thing until my dr last Friday mentioned Fibromyalgia. I saw the map of the body and was in shock. Almost all the tender spots are where I am hurting all the time. Anyways I can find nothing good that came from taking the Cymbalta and was wondering if anyone had any opinions. Besides being crazy expensive, the side effects I read that people have make me question if I should begin the treatment.

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ajnsmom responded:
Hi Sara,


I would not take Cymbalta. There are older meds that have worked for me. I take Amitriptline, (sp?) flexeril (generic) and Gabapentin. These meds control my pain. In other words, you may want to try other meds first. Drowsiness is the only side effect I have from these.


I have had horrible side effects from blood pressure drugs, so I pay more attention now to the list of possible side effects of any drug I take.


Welcome to our support group! I'm sure others will chime in soon. I think your concern is valid. Praying that you find what works for you,


Linda S. (Jax, FL)
 
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ajnsmom replied to ajnsmom's response:
Sarah,


Sorry I misspelled your name.


Linda S.
 
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bette_kaffitz responded:
Sarah,

Linda is right about there being many other, older medications that may be safer. Most of them are also available as generics making them a lot cheaper. I found that there was no help whatsoever from the Cymbalta and stopped it.

That said, my husband gets some help from the meds he is taking--both Lyrica and Cymbalta for fibro, along with some opioids for major pain (they switch these back and forth).

If you have some free samples from your doctor, try them--assuming you can afford them if they do help. I cannot use the amitryptiline Linda suggests because it (and many of the antidepressants) prevent my bladder from emptying. But it is the first choice of many doctors. Flexeril is also a generic and is a gentle muscle relaxant that I can and do use. Gabapentin is used for nerve-type (tingling, burning, pins and needles, numbness). I have used it off and on depending on my current symptoms with no ill effects. It also comes as a generic.

Finding what works for you can be a slow, confusing process. Please bear with your doctor as you both try to find the proper combination for your particular needs. And be thankful that you have found a doctor who both recognizes fibromyalgia and is willing to treat it. This is not always an easy thing to do.

Towards better days,

Bette
 
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Anon_10089 replied to bette_kaffitz's response:
Hello-

Sorry for your pain but I'm glad you came here because this board is a great place for real life information and support.

Over the years, many here have said Cymbalta was helpful to them. I find that people will take more time to review a med when they have had a bad experience with it so remember that when you're doing your reading--which is a great thing, by the way!

Cymbalta is an SNRI antidepressant, so it inhibits the brain from "reuptaking" serotonin and norepinephrine, making these neurotransmitters more available. These affect mood, pain, sleep, etc. as you can imagine, there can be some nasty and scary side effects when going on and off these meds. But they can also provide a lot of relief. And being on it does not mean you are depressed--it is used for pain control.

What you can do is go on it very slowly and raise your dosage very slowly. You may even experience some icky side effects but often these will go away in a couple weeks.

I'm not trying to convince you to take it or not, but wanted to give you some insight. Also, I think I read that its patent expires this year and it will be generic soon, but I could be wrong on that.

I applaud you for already doing a lot of reading and research. Often, doctors don't seem to know what to do with us and will prescribe or advise a very narrow course of treatment. Being your own advocate is very important. You also may want to read through some older posts here and especially the ones written by Dr. Pellegrino. He is a doctor with FM who treats FM that used to post here.
 
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meg_k responded:
Sarah, I am one that has had good results from Cymbalta, and few side effects. I can't say it got rid of pain completely, but it does take the edge off -- a noticable difference.

I have Depression and Anxiety, too, so it makes sense for me to be on an SNRI anti-depressant anyway. Interestingly, I find that Cymbalta is better for pain than depression (I take another anti-depressant in addition to Cymbalta because alone it does not provide enough reliev for me).

Since I have pretty much tried everything in the book in terms of medicines, I've found that everything has side effects. For me, it's just a balancing of how you can get the best symptom relief with the fewest side effects. Like Bette alluded to above, if I'm feeling great mood-wise by can't pee, it's a problem!

The side effect I did get with Cymbalta which I haven't had with other drugs is spaciness. As in "oh, excuse me, have you been talking to me for the last 1/2 hour because I didn't even notice you were there?" Tee hee. It has worn off over time.

Whatever you decide remember, if it doesn't work, keep trying things until you something that does.

Good luck,
Meg
 
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rosielou responded:
Hi Sarah,

For some reason your post reminded me of this. Back before it was approved for fibro, Cymbalta was just another antidepressant, but then started being marketed as the one to prescribe for those who had depression with pain. Does anybody remember those TV commercials in the early-mid 2000s? "Sometimes depression hurts." It just clicked that was when we were crazy and didn't have anything really wrong with us, it was in our heads.

Well anyway, back then my doctor put me on Cymbalta at my therapist's request. My dr sent me to the therapist because I kept complaining about aches and pain. At that time I was unaware of fibromyalgia but now understand that was a big part.

Back to your question, Sarah. It worked and helped the pain. But the depression became huge so I needed to stop Cymbalta to take a different med. I remember that there was big concern with coming off the Cymbalta very slowly, so please look into that.

Sorry for the long rambling, but hope that maybe that version will be an answer for you. I didn't know about the FM and it worked really well.

Rose
 
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dollbug replied to rosielou's response:
Hello sarah and welcome. MiMi in NC. I am glad that you have found this support group. I am sure that you will learn all kinds of good things here. Sorry that you are dealing with the wrath of the dragon, aka FM. It does take time and effort to find the right combination of tools which will make a difference in the way you feel. I would like to ask you IF your doctor checked your Vitamin D level. (my first thought is probably no....since it is not included in the normal bloodwork that the doctors do) Perhaps you need to speak to him about this on your next visit and make sure that you get it checked. Low Vitamin D can cause some people to have additional pain and it can also affect other illnesses as well.


As for what you should try....you have to decide. I will tell you this much....you will never know what just might help you until you have tried it. Cymbalta works for some. It did NOT work for me. My daughter took it though and it sure helped her. (she does not have FM though) ....whatever you decide to try it normally takes at least 6-8 weeks before your body get the full potential of what it might do. (of course, if you are getting sicker than you were, then you should indeed call and let your doctor know) .


I hope you will check out the info here under *tips* and *resources* and be sure and read the *member toolbox*....you will find some good *tools* that might make a difference for you.


A heating pad might be something that you will find will help you a lot. I use mine a lot. It is my best friend. Drinking a lot of water every day. Learning how to pace, pace and pace even more is also very important for me. We are no longer the same. Our bodies have to slow down and rest-most of us do NOT even know how to do this....but I can assure you that you will indeed learn.


Getting enough sleep is also important. Some of us have major problems with sleep. Sleep is when the body repairs though so it is extremely important for us FMers. Taking a hot shower at night using lavender bath salts in a stopped up drain helps me to relax so that I can sleep better. You might find Stopain Spray is also something that I use when I can not find anything else that will ease my pain. You can find this at Walmart for under $10....it is good stuff.


I am sure that soon you will figure out what helps you cope better. Take care and good luck.




MiMi
IN GOD WE TRUST....MAY GOD BLESS AND GUIDE AMERICA....

 
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fibroinsd responded:
I just wanted to let you know that I used Cymbalta for a little over a year. I cannot tell you how helpful it was to me..It was wonderful....I felt so much better. The only problem was that after a year I started noticing I was sleeping too much...I would sleep all night..and then two to three hours in the afternoon...so I talked to my doc and got off of Cymbalta...but while I used it...it worked great.

I know others that have had problems...just start it slow and if you notice any changes you are worried about..call your doctor's office immediately..

cece
Let's put the fun back in dysfunctional !- Mary Englebright
 
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franr responded:
Hi Sara


Some people love Cymbalta and some people hate it. I do know it has many side effects and you have high blood pressure or a heart condition you should not take it. Neurotin is a good drug and it can be increased over time. I take the long acting pill grailse and it has been working well but it too is expensive.You do need to get into a good sleep patent. Sleeping helps rest the muscles.If you can tolerate a sleeping pill that is good I just started on melatonin with half of antidepressant.And it is working.Well hope this helps.......Fran
 
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debrabrooks1960 responded:
Dear Sarah,
I took Cymbalta for 2 years. I recently had to wean myself off it bbecause my insurance would not cover the medication completely. I thought I could not live without the Cymbalta. It truely did help the pain. I did not realize how sleepy it made me until I went off it. I would fall asleep driving or sitting at my desk at work. I never felt like I was awake. I feel so much better just not being tired. My pain level was high at times without it, but I am learning new things to cope. I do not take anything except Neuroton (spelling may be wrong) and I take supplements. I also have cut out sugar and white flour. My pain has went from a 10 to a 2. Somedays if I over do it I will suffer more. But like everyone saids, you will not know what this med will do for you. I wish you luck with your journey. This is a wonderful place to ask questions and to vent if you need to. There are so many wonderful people here that know exactly what you are going through. Take care and please keep in touch so we will know how you are doing.
Soft hugs,
Debbie
Your not over the hill until you are under the hill.
 
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sarahfehring responded:
Wow! You all are amazing! Thank you all for taking the time to reply. It really makes me feel I actually have someone to talk to I still have not started the Cymbalta as of today. I've had friends and friends of friends tell me their side effects and sounds scary! I do know that I won't find nothing that works unless I try it. Does anyone know if it's better taken in the AM or PM? I was going to start in the morning on the 30mg dose. I'm to be taking that for a week before the jump to 60mg. I have 5 days in a row at work and even after 1 shift I can't walk from the wide spread pain. From the arch of my feet to base of my skull. Had the day off today but spent a couple hours cleaning and a couple hours doing dinner and clean up. I way over did it. I should have been resting today in preparation for work the next week. Anyways I have to have some relief. The pain everywhere is making me crazy. I just can't stand it anymore! So- I guess, Cymbalta, we have a date. *fingers crossed*
 
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bette_kaffitz replied to sarahfehring's response:
Sarah,

Consider starting your Cymbalta at night. You have read many posts here about how sleepy it makes you. If you have a normal M-F day job, try it Friday night. Then, if you are overwhelmed with sleepiness the next day (or 2 or 3) you will not be caught offguard on your way to work.

Good luck. I hope this works for you, that you have no major side effects, and that your insurance covers every penny of the cost.

Bette
 
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kittymommy responded:
Sorry to come in so late. I have been taking Cymbalta for a couple of years, and I can't remember if it made a big difference for me or why my doc added it to my drug regimen.

I am drowsy most of the time, unless I can stay very busy. Eventually I have to rest, and then I often doze off. I am lucky because I don't "work" in the traditional sense, but it has really interfered with my motivation to exercise.

I have a class I loved at 9 am, but I had to quit because it was getting expensive after I missed 3 months entirely. I want to start up again, so I've asked my doc about weaning myself from Cymbalta, in order to see if it is actually necessary for me.

If you can, start taking it when you have a couple of days off work. You will need to figure out just how drowsy it makes you. I need to take it around 7 pm.

Other than that, I haven't noticed specific side effects, but it has been awhile since I started it & I take so many other meds as well.

Good luck!


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