Does Prozac help Cymbalta withdrawal? (+3 treatment options)

In this article, we will explore whether Prozac helps with Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms or not, how Prozac helps with the condition, what are the symptoms that Prozac can treat, the side effects of Prozac and when to consult your healthcare provider. In addition to this, alternative treatment options will also be discussed. 

Does Prozac help Cymbalta withdrawal?

Yes, Prozac (fluoxetine) helps with Cymbalta (duloxetine) withdrawal. Prozac bridging also known as “cross-tapering” is a method used to manage the difficult withdrawal symptoms that can arise when discontinuing Cymbalta (duloxetine) primarily due to differences in their half-lives.

The distinction in their half-lives enables Prozac to act as a stabiliser effectively mitigating the withdrawal symptoms and making the process more manageable. It is generally easier to withdraw Prozac and it can help with brain zaps during Cymbalta tapering.

Cymbalta withdrawal can cause symptoms like headache, nausea, anxiety and depression. These can be treated by using Prozac to increase serotonin levels in the brain. 

Prozac is not a 100% cure for Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms. It is important to consult a healthcare provider before taking Prozac for Cymbalta withdrawal as it can have its own side effects. Your healthcare provider evaluates your condition and prescribes a better treatment plan.

How does Prozac help with Cymbalta withdrawal?

Cymbalta (duloxetine) is a selective serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) that affects serotonin and norepinephrine levels in the brain (1). When Cymbalta is stopped abruptly, the levels of these neurotransmitters can drop suddenly. This can lead to the appearance of symptoms associated with Cymbalta withdrawal (2). 

Prozac has a long half-life as compared to Cymbalta (3). This means Prozac remains in the body for an extended period of time which causes this drug to be eliminated slowly from the body.

When Cymbalta is stopped abruptly, an individual may experience withdrawal symptoms because of the sudden decrease in its presence (4).  Prozac, with its longer half-life, can help to continue to provide some level of serotonin reuptake inhibition. This can reduce the severity of the symptoms of Cymbalta.

Cross-tapering approach

The cross-tapering approach is sometimes used to help a patient with the symptoms of Cymbalta withdrawal. In this, Prozac is introduced gradually while simultaneously reducing the dose of Cymbalta. This approach helps to make the transition smoother from Cymbalta to Prozac (5).  

Prozac can improve which symptoms of Cymbalta withdrawal?

Prozac may be helpful for withdrawal symptoms experienced by a patient who has discontinued Cymbalta. These symptoms are caused by the decrease in serotonin levels. The symptoms may include (6):

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability

It is important to note that some patients may still experience some of the symptoms while taking Prozac. However, Prozac can help to reduce the severity and duration of these symptoms. It is not a cure-all for Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms.

The effectiveness can vary from person to person.  Some symptoms may persist and may require an additional strategy to treat them. 

Side effects of Prozac

Prozac is generally a well-tolerated drug and like other medications, it can also have a list of side effects that varies according to individual variations.  The side effects include (7):

  • Nausea
  • Upset Stomach
  • Heartburn
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Nervousness
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Weight change
  • Sweating
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Tremor
  • Skin rash or allergic reactions

The benefits of using Prozac for Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms are weighed against the potential side effects. If you experience persistent or severe side effects while using Prozac then it is crucial to consult your healthcare provider. They can adjust the treatment plan, alter the doses and tailor them according to your needs.

What are the other treatment options for Cymbalta withdrawal?

Cymbalta withdrawal can be challenging. While Prozac is one potential option for managing withdrawal symptoms, there are several other treatment options and strategies that can be considered depending on the individual’s needs.

Tapering schedule

One of the most common treatment strategies is to gradually reduce the dose of Cymbalta over a specific period. This tapering schedule can help minimize the withdrawal symptoms by allowing the body to adjust more gradually to the lower doses (8).

Other medications

Some medications may also be prescribed to help the patient with the withdrawal symptoms.

In some cases, healthcare providers may recommend switching to another long-acting antidepressant with a lower risk of withdrawal symptoms. For example, switching to an SSRI like Prozac, escitalopram, sertraline, and venlafaxine (9).

Addressing specific withdrawal symptoms with targeted medication. For example, anti-nausea drugs for gastrointestinal symptoms or non-addictive sleep aids for sleep disturbances.   

In some cases, the healthcare provider may prescribe medications like benzodiazepines or buspirone for certain withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety and depression.


Psychological support through therapy or counselling can help individuals cope with the emotional aspects of withdrawal, manage stress, and develop effective coping strategies.

Practising mindful meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises can help reduce stress and manage symptoms such as stress and anxiety.

Nutritional supplements

Some individuals find relief from certain withdrawal symptoms with supplements such as Omega-3 fatty acids (10) or magnesium (11). Do not forget to consult a healthcare provider before using these supplements to manage withdrawal symptoms. 

Can Prozac discontinuation cause withdrawal?

If you are taking Prozac, it is advised to not discontinue the medication as Prozac can cause withdrawal symptoms known as discontinuation syndrome. Following can be the observed symptoms (12):

  • Flu-like symptoms: Headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness
  • Mood changes: Anxiety, agitation, mood swings, irritability.
  • Sensory disturbances: Tingling
  • Sleep disturbances: Insomnia or intense dreams.
  • Gastrointestinal issue:  Diarrhea or stomach cramps.

Discontinuation of a drug must be done under the supervision of a healthcare provider. However, dose tapering is the best method to discontinue such medications. Gradual reduction of dose for weeks or months can be advised with regular checkups and monitoring. 

In some cases, if you experience severe withdrawal symptoms, then your doctor might prescribe medications for the symptomatic treatment of these effects along with lifestyle adjustments including stress reduction, exercise and diet management.

When to consult the healthcare provider?

Managing withdrawal symptoms of Cymbalta, Prozac or any other medication is a decision that should be made in consultation with a professional healthcare provider as other medications like Prozac can also lead to discontinuation syndrome.

Open communication with your doctor can help you decide the best possible treatment options. Knowing when to seek guidance is crucial for the safety of the patient. You need to consult your doctor in the following scenarios:

  • If the withdrawal symptoms affect your physical and emotional well-being.
  • If the symptoms are severe, persistent and are impacting your daily activities.
  • If you ever have suicidal thoughts or thoughts of self-harm then it is a medical emergency. 
  • If you have pre-existing medical conditions or are taking other medications. If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or breastfeeding.

Regardless of the need, you need to have regular checkups and monitoring if you experience withdrawal symptoms of Cymbalta for your own safety,


In my opinion, Prozac can be used for the management of the symptoms of Cymbalta withdrawal but it is not a perfect cure for this. Prozac can be helpful for a few of the symptoms but it has its side effects and a doctor’s consultation is essential before using Prozac for this purpose.  



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