Hi. Question about pain meds

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New Member

Date Joined Sep 2011
Total Posts : 2
   Posted Today 6:33 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi, I wondered if there would be some personal experiences here that might be able to help me with my decision.

I had GBS (a very severe version) for some time, and still have side affects, the most prominent being pain in my feet and calves. I was on gabapentin on a relatively high dose for two and a half years, but eventually rebelled and insisted on a new prescription, since no matter how much I starved and battled to lose weight, I inexorably gained it. My doctor has prescribed Cymbalta for me, and I have been taking it for about ten days now.

It deals with my pain fine, and although I had nasty side affects for two days, they vanished after that, apart from dry mouth, drowsiness (though not sleep) and slight jaw clenching. I have two issues with it however. I've heard a lot of stories including one from a close friend, about just how much withdrawal from this drug would hurt. I'm tough as nails in a lot of ways- I withdrew from morphine and from fentanyl in a minimal time and was fine, but these stories have me worried.

And a second smaller reason (one that will probably sound really silly to you all) is that I am still a student (only 21.) I'm by no means an alcoholic or unable to go without drink- I haven't had a drink in two months thanks to dieting, but I quietly dislike the idea that my meds mean I'm unable to have a night out with my friends, or to drink more than a small glass of wine. A corollary to this, is that my liver has been under strain for a few years with all of the different meds I've taken. Is Cymbalta worth the risk of putting more strain on it?

Would Lyrica be a better alternative? Am I being a wimp about Cymbalta? Should I man up and ignore getting fatter and fatter and just go back to gabapentin?

Thanks very much

Edit: Sorry forgot to mention. I am not depressed or depressive at all. The only meds I take are for pain relief.

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 235
   Posted Today 7:07 PM (GMT -6)   
lyrica is great if you can take it ,next everyone reacts different to meds ,yes to withdraw from some narcotics is tough ,but you already have done that on morphine ,so Idoubt you will have a problem ,next you slowly taper off.The stories you heard from friends ,make sure you check the facts before taking it to heart.next drink nonalcholic drinks ,your meds are far more important ,than having abeer ,or have one beer only !If your not depressed ,Ifeel antidepressents are not the answer ,coming off them is difficult !The choice is really up to you making an informed decission ,by checking things out is best! Ihope this helps you ,please take care Michele

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2011
Total Posts : 235
   Posted Today 7:31 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi again Rusing, looking up new meds on the net is always good also ask the dr lots of questions helps .Many antidepressents have side affects ,weight gain is one for alot of people,also starving is not the answer ,drink lots of water and eat smaller meals, really helps!I tryed Lyrica myself but it was not good for me ,but is suppose to be the best on the market for nerve pain.If the gapapentin caused many problems for you,why take it ? when you do find something that works stick with it! Its hard on the body changing meds alot!I hope this info is helpful ,take care

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 2042
   Posted Today 7:32 PM (GMT -6)   
I was on Cymbalta for diabetic nerve pain for around 4 years. I started at 30 mg and over the years as my condition worsened I ended up taking 90mg per day of it. For me it was a god send and I would still be taking it if my "insurance" (Medicaid) hadn't decided to no longer cover it.

Cymbalta is not bad to come off of, but you can't just cold turkey it. It is one of those meds that if you have to taper off of over the course of a month or so, sometimes even going to an every other day dose of the 30mg capsule for a week or two. I was able to go from 90 to zero though in 2 weeks and didn't have any real issues beyond feeling a little "strange" for about 3 days after completely stopping it.

While I was on it I never had any major side effects from it. The worst was a bit of a sleep disruption that lasted about a month or so and returned for a week or two anytime I had a dose increase.

The bottom line really is if the medication is working for you don't fix what isn't broken.

I myself am diabetic, suffer from various forms of chronic pain and take several kinds of meds, most of which do not mix well with alcohol. That has not stopped me from going out when I have a chance with some friends. Instead of drinking some kind of booze I choose to drink some kind of non-alcoholic drink. The non-alcoholic beers aren't bad, and any decent bartender can whip up a "virgin" version of many popular drinks from pina coladas to sex on the beach and most things in between. If you are worried about being razzed by your friends just tell them you are on medications that don't mix with booze and that your health is more important than a buzz. If they are really your friends they will support you.
2 confirmed herniated lumbar discs. Spinal Arthritis. Spinal Stenosis, diabetic peripheral nueropathy.

Retired Mom
Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 1753
   Posted Today 7:52 PM (GMT -6)   
Oh how I miss the taste of a very dark German beer.....but, my meds don't allow me to have a drink.....any drink, so I don't. It's really that simple for me. I miss it, but I need my meds and I knew a very young lady who decided to drink on her meds. Apparently one drink was too much and my friend's daughter (23 years old) was dead. She left two very young children and a grieving husband. Her parents were destroyed by the pain and her kids will never even remember her.

I understand you wanting to have fun with friends and have a drink or two. You've earned the right by making it to the legal age, but you have to make the decision on what is more important to you. Either way, it's the alcohol or the meds.....not both.

Please don't take this as being harsh or "preachy", but I had to give you my honest opinion. We all make decisions every day. You are the only one who can make this one. If your "friends" don't understand, then they aren't friends. Good time buddies are a dime a dozen....but I bet they would love a designated driver and you could make it a little more appealing to you by getting them to cover your tab for non-alcoholic beverages and perhaps the cover charge for getting in the club. It's not the same, but you still get to go and enjoy the evening without putting your life in danger.

All my best!
TLIF L5-S1/failed, Pituatary disorder w/HGH deficiency, Fibro, Failed Bladder Surgery & Nissen, GERD, OCPD, GAD, MDD, CFS, TMJ, Migraines, Pre-glaucomic, HBP, Idiopatic Reactive Hypoglycemia w/Diabetic reaction to HGH, Bi-lateral CTS (surgery related trigger finger), Edema, Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome, Peripheral Neuropathy, Plantar Fascitis, Tibular Tendionitis, Adult Onset Flat Feet & much more.....

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2011
Total Posts : 101
   Posted Today 11:43 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Rusing.....nice to see you here, but sorry for the pain you are dealing with.  Ok, so you said the Cymbalta deals with your pain fine....so in my opinion, I would say "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."  I don't think you should be worrying about the withdrawal effects...you will likely stay on the drug long-term if it is working for you....and I really havn't heard of withdrawal being a problem on Cymbalta.
I've never taken Cymbalta, but I do take Lyrica and I feel it is working for me...I just had a dose increase and am starting to feel better.  However, I think every med works differently on everyone, so the decision as to what meds to take should lie between you and your doctor....and I would also google those meds (reliable sites only) to get informed about the side effects etc.
As for the alcohol issue....I wholeheartedly agree with what the others were telling you.  You simply CANNOT drink alcohol when taking the meds that you take.  They just do not mix and you could very well wind up in the ER or worse...a slab at the city morgue.  I hate to be blunt, but I'm telling you, it's so true.  I've worked in the ER...seen it many many times....prescription drugs and alcohol...boom...a patient unresponsive or acting all spaced out and brought in by frightened friends or family.  I know you are young and I totally remember being that age and I did drink...but I wasn't on any meds....but what I'm saying is that I understand how you want to do that.  Go with the virgin drinks that Jim1969 was talking about.  I doubt anyone would really know that you weren't drinking alcohol, but so what if they make a deal out of it.  It's no big deal at all, and actually many people go that route, because of taking meds or some other health issue.  So you have to make a choice here:  Alcohol...and maybe have a few hours of fun....then no pain relief.  Or your meds...and get pain relief...and also have fun with your friends by drinking non-alcoholic drinks.  I think that's an easy decision.
Rusing, I hope you will take all of this advice to heart.  We all do truly care about you here....and you can always come here with your problems, questions or just to vent.  Keep us posted on how you are doing!
DDD, 3 bulging lumbar discs, bone spurs, facet joint arthrosis/sclerosis, osteoarthritis

New Member

Date Joined Sep 2011
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 9/21/2011 5:24 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks very much for all the replies. I totally understand it's better to stick to something that works, and it's a relief after gabapentin in a lot of respects. Gabapentin meant I lived life in a daze for two and a half years, had incredible insomnia and a lot of mental side effects. Not to mention the weight gain (it may sound silly but to a 21 year old girl, gaining three stone in weight when you never eat more than 1700 calories a day max is incredibly depressing.)

I really appreciate the perspective on the alcohol. It probably doesn't help that I have very very high tolerance of alcohol! I like the idea of virgin drinks, much better for my diet as well! I think the day I'll probably be most tempted to skip a dose and drink on will be my birthday (three weeks time) but I will try my best to resist the temptation, and maybe look at tapering my dose around Christmas, so I can have a glass of wine with family or something.

I really appreciate the thoughtful replies, it's been very hard to find doctors who will be honest with me, or help me. It took years until they admitted that gabapentin was causing weight gain, and the doctor who prescribed me Cymbalta gave me two months worth and totally failed to tell me about side affects, withdrawal, whether I could drink or anything. Lucky there's the internet!
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