Citation: Tately. "Haven't Felt Right Since I Took It: An Experience with Duloxetine (exp105593)". Erowid.org. Jan 3, 2018. erowid.org/exp/105593
I am a 59 yr old with chronic back pain. I have had a lumbar laminectomy and two spinal fusions (L4-L5-S1 ALIF + PLIF and L3-L4 XLIF) over the last four years. I take opiate pain medications, typically over the last year 20 to 40 mg Oxycontin and 10 to 30 mg Percocet daily. About 10 years ago I had tried Lexapro (escitalopram) and stopped after about a month because of undesirable side effects.
I don't drink (contraindicated with opiates) and in fact have never been much of a drinker. I don't smoke marijuana, I did try it and found that a) it didn't help my pain, in fact made it worse and b) I absolutely hated the feeling of being 'stoned'.
Although I have had chronic pain due to spinal stenosis and surgeries, I had been very active, working out and swimming almost every day. Then along came Cymbalta.
Due to diagnosed neuropathic pain my physician at the pain clinic wanted me to try an antidepressant as these sometimes relieve neuropathic pain. The gold standard is the tricyclic antidepressant family. They started me on duloxetine, 20 mg daily with instructions to 'titrate' up to 60 mg daily. Duloxetine was the choice because of 'less side effects' and no need to monitor liver function. (That should have been a warning signal right there.) I never got past 20 mg.
This may sound strange, but this 'antidepressant' gave me depression! I had had my share of difficulties but was not depressed before taking this drug
I had had my share of difficulties but was not depressed before taking this drug
and in fact was active, getting ready to start a new job.
After the first day on duloxetine I was barely able to get through some house projects. By the third day, I only wanted to lie in bed and watch old Sopranos reruns. Finally I called our family doctor and he said, 'if 20 mg is doing this to you, I don't have to tell you what 60 mg is going to be like -- stay at 20 mg for a few more days and see if the side effects abate'. I finished out the week with 20 mg and got rid of the stuff.
By the fifth day, after lying in bed all day, I had a vivid vision of my own death, by suicide -- almost as if it were happening 'for real'. This really scared me but, stupid me, kept taking that pill every day. At this point side effects included dizziness, constant nausea, and of course -- depression.
We have close family friends who suffer from major depression and after the first week I realized I was experiencing the same symptoms. I, who had been active and productive, was now completely listless and uninterested in any type of activity.
I started the new job and it was really a struggle just getting to work and getting through the day -- sad, because I had really been looking forward to it.
I did not feel 'like myself' until at least 4 weeks after ceasing the drug. To this day, some 8 months later, I still don't feel right.
Duloxetine was one of the worst experiences of my life, and that was at one-third of the 'therapeutic' dose. After a couple of bad experiences, I will never try another antidepressant again. I know that some people are really helped by them, but clearly these drugs don't do me any good. At this point I am wondering if I experienced a permanent alteration of CNS chemistry...
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