Monday, September 22, 2008

Cymbalta and a night in the ER




My neuro and I discussed a new preventive Migraine medication for me last week. We decided on Cymbalta. I thought great!, Cymbalta is weight neutral, if not that, it may help me lose a few lb's....low libido side effects, and can help me to not have Migraines! Where to I sign up??!!




So Dr.G gave me a nice supply of samples, a months worth to be exact. I thought this was great. I went to dinner at my in-laws that night....had a great night, came home and took my first dose of Cymbalta. I went to sleep with no problems at my normal early bird bed time of 10 p.m.



Then everything changed. I woke up from a dead sleep at midnight and could feel the color drain out of my body. I had the worse nausea I've ever had in my entire life!!!! I got up, ran to the bathroom to get sick and didn't leave the bathroom for four hours straight!!!
I woke up Shawn at 4:45 in the morning to have him take me to the ER. By this time, I'm in some sorry shape. I was in the "bargaining phase". I would have given up my right arm at this point just to stop vomiting.


Got to the ER (one that my doctors work for) and there was no one in registration. Being that I know my way around, I walked into the ER and just asked for help. I was stark white. Now for some of you who know me, you think "what else is new, you're pale!" But no, this was different. I had NO color. It was almost as if my freckles were gone too!!!



I get to my hospital bed and Nurse Julie comes in to take my vitals and info that I didn't get to give at registration. In goes an IV - blood work, then saline. Everything came back normal. I get 2 doses of Zofran and I'm out the door.

I get home, get a little rest.....call my boss, the insurance company and my doctor that scripted the Cymbalta. The nurse says Dr. G will call me back.

Ten minutes later, the nurse calls me back and says Dr. G says cut the pill in half and try that. Um, hello....I was just up all night violently ill from this drug and you want me to keep taking it!!!???!!! Then I say I can't cut it in half, it's a capsule with little beads or powder in it. The nurse goes to double check - yep, cut it in half.

I was shocked! The packaging says "Do NOT crush, split, open or bite. Swallow Whole". So now I don't know what to do. I have not taken the Cymbalta since, and have called the pharmacist who also says not to split it.
Since this happened, I also got curious to see if anyone else had this type of reaction. OH YES! I found a forum of sorts that all the drug reps can go and chat......the Eli Lilly reps, the company who makes Cymbalta - well the reps nicknamed the drug CymBARFa because of it's nasty little side effect.

No wonder I would lose weight on this drug - I can't keep anything down!!!!!

So Cymbarfa, oops! Cymbalta - is not the drug for me. I am scared to try it again because I don't want to end up back in the ER.

I am back with no preventive for the time being and also some wacky ear infection (well, the dr. said it's only fluid but gave me an antibiotic anyway). Since this happened I've been having odd Migraines. They are not ping ponging (switching sides each Migraine), they are all on the right and the pain goes down to my shoulder. I really hope the ear issue is the reason behind this and that it stops quickly.
Also, I should mention - there are a lot of people out there who get great relief from Cymbalta, both as a Migraine preventive and as an antidepressant. I'm just not one of those people.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Cymbalta doesn't help my migraines or fibromyalgia, but it sure does help my dysautonomia. I was having adrenaline surges that made me feel horrible. Now I feel like myself again. I often have bad reactions to new meds, so my doctor had me open the 30 mg. Cymbalta capsules and use half per day the first week. I felt extremely nauseous and a little strange the first 2 days, then it improved. The second week my doctor had me take 30 mg. per day. I only felt a little strange--no nausea. The third week I was to take 60 mg. per day. There was hardly any side effect and I'd already begun to feel like myself again the second week. If the doctor had started me on 30 or 60 mg., I'm sure I would have wound up in the ER just like you did. It might be worth trying half a capsule to start with, if you think Cymbalta might help your migraines. A nice fringe benefit for me was that I stopped having to pee so often. Good luck!

Eileen said...

My doctor said the same about opening up the capsules, but here's the thing: The directions CLEARLY state not do do that. It's a time release capsule, so doing this, you may never get the same dose each time.

I just get nervous when I'm told to do things that is not recommended.

I'm glad the Cymbalta ended up working for you! Good luck with it!

Migraine Chick said...

Poor baby...I really felt for you while reading your post. I hate nasty side effects. This happens to me all the time when I try something new!

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Peggy said...

When my neuro put me on cymbalta/60mg. about 8 mo. ago, the first 4 days were hell. I too, woke up in the middle of the night that first day with a panic attack, along with vomiting. Ended up in ER, and continued vomiting for the next 3 days.My neuro said to try to stick it out for another 2 days, and I should be fine. He was right. I have noticed an amazing decrease in my migraines. From 4-5 severe headaches a month, down to maybe 1 manageable headache. The only side effect I have is loss of weight (total of 35 lbs.)which I could afford to lose, and insomnia. I had some family loss in the last 3 years, so cymbalta has helped in the depression also. I have had migraines for 40 years, and have tried EVERYTHING! Cymbalta has really come thru for me. Good luck and good health to you Eileen.

Eileen said...

Peggy -
So happy to hear you had luck with Cymbalta. I can only imagine how hard it was for you to stick it out those first few days.

I am glad that it is working so well for you. Continued success my friend!

Janice said...

I have been taking Cymbalta (30 mg) for just over a month for chronic migraines. It is working very well for me. My migraines started 19 years ago after my son was born and have made life miserable for me and my family. So far, Cymbalta has given me almost complete relief and I can even have an occasional glass of wine without a headache. Cymbalta made me sick the fist four to five days but, I stuck with it and feel fine now. It has helped me with overall body aches and has somehow elevated my pain threshold. I have more energy and a positive outlook on the future. How nice to not need the triptan drugs. I always felt like I had been run over by a truck after taking them.

Good luck to all and may we be free of migraines once and for all!
Janice

Sara said...

I was prescribed cymbalta for anxiety, I was never even aware that some doctors prescribed it for migraine prevention. I've always had migrains, but usually only one bad one a month. Cymbalta has helped with the anxiety(yes did make me nauseas at first, just have to stick it out), but ever since my migrains have gotten much worse. I usually gat two to three severe ones a week! I haven't decided what to do yet.

thestoryofleah said...

I just tried Cymbalta for the first time on Friday and have been sick ever since. I didn't take it again but, after reading some of these comments, I'm wondering if there will be a payoff that's worth the initial suffering if I do...

Anonymous said...

I have been on Cymbalta for 6 years and it has never helped me with my hormonal migraines!

cjf said...

I have been taking 60 Mg/day of Cymbalta for migraine equivalent and anxiety for 3 yrs, and for me it has been a miracle drug. It works wonderfully without any adverse affects. Then my insurance changed. My co-pay went from $25/mo to $180/mo at the same time my income went down. I am so bummed.

Anonymous said...

Yep- the first week was rough -but my back pain was so bad I stuck it out (of douse, I wasn't vomiting, just avoiding food). Then things got better and we upped the dose to 60mg. But now my menstrual migraines are the worst in 20the years. Go figure... I
swear pain tolerance should be an olympic sport. No one understands unless they live it themselves.

The Weasel said...

I took Cymbalta 30mg for one month as prescribed by my Rheum. I refuse to refill or take it again. It caused my acid reflux to get out of control and cause me to throw up more than I can count starting from day one. Then during weeks 2 to 4 I started getting pressure/squeezing/pulsating migraines on the right side of my head just above and behind my ear. I never had migraines in that area before (I take Topamax for migraines) and it made me bedridden begging for my life when they would strike. Since I've been off the Cymbalta both my stomach and head have returned to normal.

Anonymous said...

I just had my first night on Cymbalta, only the 30mg, and still spent half of it extremely nauseous and some of it vomiting. I thought something may have been wrong - my doc didn't think I should be having side effects for another day or 2, & said they shouldn't be quite that bad. Thank goodness for your blog, it's giving me hope knowing there is a light on the other side of this week!

BindleSnitch.com said...

i tried it for two days and the painful side effects were too much to want to stick it out for three or 4 weeks. i dont know how some of you people do it. put up with torture to your body and mind like that. maybe id consider it if i could be monitored at a beach resort in figi and didnt have to worry about working . because i sure couldnt do anything in that horrible state of pain, naseua, overwhelming headache, and stiffness.

Anonymous said...

When they said cut it in half. I think they meant the dosage. This is a time released capsule, so you cant open it. My Doctor started me on a lower dose 30mg. Im doing ok with it, but Im still having symptoms of depression. So he increased my dosage to 60mg. Also keep in mind it takes 3-4 weeks to start feeling the effect of the medication

Eileen said...

My doctor at the time most certainly ment cut the capsule in half. I was on a low dose - 30mgs, at the time. If he ment to go on a lower dosage, he would have said he was calling in a lower dosage of the medication, which he did not. I specifically stated to him on the phone "it's a capsule, I can't cut it" and he didn't know what to tell me. I told him there was no way in hell I was going to continue on this medication after what I had just gone through. And yes, I am very aware of how long it takes for medications to work - I'm not sure how much of the blog you checked out but I am a patient advocate and I work in the medical field. But thanks so much for your views, this was done 4 years ago.

Sher said...

I've been thinking about going off my Cymbalta. I only take 30 mg and take them when I wake up. I was prescribed them for Anxiety/Depression and learned to call them my "I don't give a s&*t" pills. The side effects have been great though. For the first time in 60 years, I don't get migraines! I can 'move' and my Fibromyalgia is pretty much gone except for when I overdose on sugar. Drink lots of water!!!!

Susan (Gainesville FL) said...

Thank you - all of you - for sharing your experiences. It's impossible to get adequate migraine assessment and care without resources such as these. I'm grateful.