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Can discontinuing Cymbalta completely cause any risks?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 1991
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I have I have been on cymbalta for 4 years; dosage 90 mg/day. I just went on COBRA and elected continuation coverage, but it is not yet active. Unfortunately my prescription just ran out and when I went to pick up the refilled prescription the cost for a 30 day supply was over $500 because I am uninsured while I am waiting for Aetna to turn coverage back on again. I have gone two days without any cymbalta. I am feeling a little wired, but not in any acute problems yet. What risks are there stopping the cymbalta cold turkey? Any suggestions? I fear it could be a week before my coverage is reinstated.
Mon, 23 Apr 2018 in Medicines and Side Effects
 
 
Answered by Dr. Bonnie Berger-Durnbaugh 32 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Duloxetine is the (much cheaper) generic form of Cymbalta

Detailed Answer:
Hello XXXXXXX

I would not recommend continuing any further off of the Cymbalta without having done a slow taper off. Five hundred dollars is ridiculous. I tried to find a less expensive Cymbalta, but the only way to get it down to a more reasonable price would be to get the generic form called duloxetine.

Here is a link to various drug stores that offer the generic duloxetine for more reasonable prices. It won't "link" blue to click on, so you will have to copy and paste it into your search bar.

https://www.goodrx.com/duloxetine

Some pharmacies will automatically fill your prescription with generic if you request it. Others will require your doctor to specify that generic is ok to substitute. You can call the pharmacy where you have gotten the Cymbalta filled in the past to see how your rx was written. If it is written as brand name only, ask the pharmacist how much duloxetine would be, and if reasonable, ask them to contact your doctor to have the rx ok'd to fill as generic.

If your current pharmacy price for duloxetine is also unreasonable, use one of the pharmacies listed in the link above, and ask your doctor to send in (phone or on-line) an rx for the generic. A doctor on call for your own doctor (in his/her group) can do that tonight even.

The risks of abrupt discontinuation from Cymbalta after being on a higher dose and being on the medication for long duration include feeling like there are electric shocks in the brain, headaches, irritability, hostility and sometimes rage, digestive problems, dizziness, shaking, fatigue, and funny sensations in the nerves like tingling. Cymbalta has a relatively long half-life so you may not have started to have discontinuation symptoms but it's also possible that you may not get them in a big way - everyone is different.

I hope this information helps. Please let me know if I can provide further information.

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Note to all patients: Please know that if you ask for a refund, which some patients do to "play the system", the refund comes entirely from what I am paid. The company does not lose a XXXXXXX I do my best to answer as thoroughly and conscientiously as possible to help you, and I hope you will honor my time and knowledge by not requesting a refund. Dr. Berger-Durnbaugh
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