DISCLAIMER: THIS IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE! We do not employ doctors or licensed medical professionals, so we do not provide medical advice. Nothing presented here is a substitute for the advice of a DOCTOR or other licensed health care provider. Never stop, start or add medications or supplements to your health or mental health care regime without first checking for interactions or other problems, and thoroughly researching the substance. Before you employ any information here, consult your health care professional. No information here is the result of valid clinical trials.

The Scale Method

Weighing Cymbalta beads for tapering

What is the Scale Method?

  • For the Scale Method you use a very sensitive scale (usually for jewellery) and weigh out your taper doses.
  • No need to count beads!  Instead, you weigh out your new taper doses.
  • The beads inside a capsule of Cymbalta are tiny and very light.  Many people find it easier to weigh them.

What scale do I need?

  • Your new scale must weigh to 0.001g (i.e. true weight in milligrams).
  • 1.000g is 1 gram, so 0.001g is 1 milligram.
  • The scale must sense the tiniest weight.  0.001g usually registers around 3-5 beads.
  • A scale with a Calibration Weight is even better. This is used to “reprogram” the scale for the first use and after regular use. It makes sure the scale stays accurate.
  • Buy a scale with a tiny dish if you can.  Then you can tip the beads from this dish through a funnel into your new capsules.

Other accessories

Members are quite creative with the other things they use but here are some recommendations:

  • Replacement capsules (vegetarian are available). You may break your Cymbalta capsule when getting the beads out.
  • Dishes to hold your beads and empty capsules. You will have to open several Cymbalta capsules, so tip all the beads into one dish.

Pick one that you can tip sideways yet can carefully slide beads out of onto your Scale Dish (e.g. dishes for dipping, ramekins).

  • A tool to gently slide beads from your bead dish to the Scale Dish – spatulas or tweezers can be good for this.
  • A tiny funnel to tip your beads from the Scale Dish into your empty taper capsule
  • A capsule holder –from the internet or a DIY store – something to hold the longer end of an empty capsule vertically while you use a funnel to tip the beads from your Scale Dish into it quickly and without losing any beads.

Some people make their own capsule holders, others are able to hold the empty capsule and funnel in one hand and tip the beads in with the other.


How do I start? To begin your taper, you must first find your Starting Bead Weight.

You start by finding the average of 3 full cymbalta capsules.  Weighing the beads from all 3 capsules on the scale then divide by 3 to get the average.

This average weight of 3 Cymbalta capsules is your Starting Bead Weight.

For example:

  • If you take 30mg a day, you open 3 x 30mg bead capsules, empty the beads into the weighing pan and weigh them.
  • If you take 60mg a day you weigh out 3 x 60mg capsules.
  • If you take 30mg twice a day, just weigh out 3 x 30mg and use this as your Starting Bead Weight for both morning and evening Taper Capsules.

Once you have the total weight of 3 capsules, divide by 3 to give you the average.  This is your Starting Bead Weight.

Your first drop in dose – your first taper weight – is calculated from this starting bead.

It should be a 1 – 5% drop.  (If you have an urgent reason to taper quickly, please post in CHW.)

Every time you taper, you taper from the previous weight.

(Don’t worry about this yet, please see LONG TERM TAPER EXAMPLE below for some calculation examples.)

Example to find your Starting Bead Weight

  1. Open and empty 3 capsules. Weigh all the beads on your scale.
    You can do this individually, or just put all the beads in the dish
  1. Divide this TOTAL weight by 3
  2. Example: the beads from 3 x 30 mg capsules weigh 0.534 (0.181, 0.178 and 0.175 g)
  3. 0.534 divided by 3 = 0.178

So 0.178 g is your Starting Bead Weight.

You can now weigh out your Taper Capsules and begin your taper (See TAPER CALCULATION). 


How do I weigh? Can you take me through it step by step?

  1. Get all your equipment together (scale, empty capsules, Cymbalta capsules, funnel, tweezers or spatula, dishes, capsule holder).
  2. Sit in a place where you will be comfortable, out of a draught, away from children and pets. You need a level surface and plenty of space for all your equipment. Sitting at a table is best. Working on your lap will affect the scale.
  3. Turn on your scale. Calibrate it according to your scale instructions.
    Do this the very first time you use the scale, then every 4-5 uses afterwards to keep it as precise as possible.
  1. Place the Scale Dish on the scale, press TARE. Make sure your display shows 0.000g
  2. Open your Cymbalta capsules, pour all the beads into a dish (the Bead Dish).
  3. Place the longer half of the empty capsule / vegetarian capsule into your capsule holder.
  4. Carefully move the beads from your Bead Dish onto the Scale Dish, until you reach the weight for your new taper capsule.
  5. Once you reach that weight, use the funnel to tip the beads from your Scale Dish into the empty taper capsule.
  6. Pick up the taper capsule with the beads in it very carefully, place the other end on top and push till it clicks shut.

You have made your first taper capsule!  Now repeat for as many capsules as you need.

If you go over the weight you need for your taper capsule by accident (It’s easy to do!) then just tip all the beads back from the Scale Dish into your Bead dish.

Place the Scale Dish back on the scale and press TARE again. This ensures you start again from 0.000g.  Now try again.

This is better than guessing how to hit the right weight. That will likely affect the scale weight. Just start again to get the exact weight you need.


How do I work out the weight for my first Taper Capsules?

This will depend on your chosen percentage taper rate. 5% is a common place to start, but so are 3% and 2.5%.

Let's use the Starting Bead Weight of 0.178g.

Use a calculator to work out the weight you will need. We need to find a weight to just 3 decimal places only. Your calculator will give you more decimal places than you need. You only need to look at the THREE digits immediately after the decimal point.

Put these figures and symbols into your calculator:

  • 178 – 2.5% = 0.173
  • 178 – 5% = 0.169

Depending on your chosen percentage taper rate, you need to weigh out your beads as follows:

  • 2.5% = 0.173g
  • 5% = 0.169g

Create however many new capsules you will need for your your taper period. If you plan to hold for 14 days you make 14 new capsules of this weight.

The normal hold is probably from 14 to 21 days. Do not try anything faster! Some people hold for longer.


I have done my first taper and it went well!

How do I work out what weight of beads to put in my next Taper Capsules?

Every time you taper, you must take the weight of your LAST taper capsule and deduct your taper percentage from this.

It is extremely important that you keep a record of your Starting Bead Weight and then every taper percentage and Taper Capsule Weight.  It is the previous taper weight you use to calculate your next drop. Have a look at the record below.

Confused? Let's see an example:

Your Starting Bead Weight was 0.178g. We used this to calculate your first set of Taper Capsules, depending on the chosen taper percentage rate.

  • Your first Taper Capsules weighed either 0.173 (2.5%) or 0.169 (5%).
  • We need to deduct your taper percentage rate from these for your next taper.
  • If you chose 2.5% then 0.173 – 2.5% = 0.168g.
  • The 5% rate: 0.169 – 5% = 0.160

Depending on your rate of taper, your next Taper Capsules need to weigh:

Long-term example

Starting Bead Weight was 0.178g

I have decided to taper at 5% every 14 days

… and so on …

Important!

  • Be ready to adjust your percentage taper rate as the weeks and months pass. You are most likely to need to drop it.
  • Be ready to make the holding time longer if necessary.
  • Do not try to rush things!
  • You need to keep a detailed journal.  Please look at Posting and Journaling Your Taper.
  • You need to be aware of what is happening in your body and brain.  Read and become familiar with the other files on Healing America Now. The actual taper is only one part; you need to work on nutrition, supplements, lifestyle changes.

One Frequently Asked Question (which many of us never even want to think about!)

My medication is meant to be 30mg. Why do the beads in the Cymbalta capsules weigh 0.178g as an average? Shouldn’t they be 0.030g?

No. The mg of the medication dose is very different from the actual weight of the medication. The mg of the medication is a scientific dosage, not the actual weight of the beads enclosed in the capsules.
Imagine a vitamin tablet – 100s of mg of vitamins – but it doesn’t weigh a kilogram!


Glossary

0.001g = 1 milligram of actual physical weight. THIS DOES NOT REPRESENT MEDICATION DOSAGE.

Beads – the tiny beads enclosed in a Cymbalta capsule. We reduce these gradually during a taper to become Cymbalta free.

Bead Dish – the dish you empty your beads into, before you put them onto your scale

Calibration Weight – a weight included with your scale to calibrate (reprogram) it and ensure it keeps weighing precisely

Counting Method – the method of counting beads to taper by bead number, rather than weight

Cymbalta Capsule – original Cymbalta medication as picked up from your pharmacy

Rounding up – a math routine completely ignored in this file to make it easier for everyone

Scale – a sensitive scale to weigh Cymbalta beads, usually a jewellery scale

Scale Dish – the dish you use on your scale; it may be supplied with the scale or you can use anything suitable

Scale Method – weighing your Cymbalta beads to taper, rather than counting beads

Starting Bead Weight – the average of 3 full dose Cymbalta capsules – you find this first; then you work out what your usual full dose of Cymbalta weighs in beads. Then you start your % taper reduction from this.

Taper Capsule – the capsules you make with reduced bead weights for your tapering

Taper Capsule Weight – the weight of the beads you placed into capsules for your previous taper

Taper Percentage / Taper Rate  – the % rate you choose to reduce your Cymbalta beads by (until you are Cymbalta free YAY!)

TARE – the button on your scale that resets the weight to 0.000g. You can now place a dish on it and press TARE to weigh just the beads (ignoring the dish weight).


Problems with your scale? Try this:

  • Take the battery out.  Or does it need a new battery?
  • Put the battery back in. Calibrate.
  • Put the Scale Dish on, press TARE and start again.
  • Prepare all the capsules you need for your taper – 14, 16, 21 or whatever – in one go. It will get easier the more you do.
  •  As the scale is so sensitive, do not touch it while weighing.

Finally, here are the operating instructions for just one of several scales on the market, edited for use with beads.

POINTS TO NOTICE

  • Please read all operating instructions carefully before use.
  • Only operate the scale on a stable, vibration free surface.
  • Never load the scale with more than the maximum capacity.
  • Avoid any exposure to extreme heat or cold.
  • Allow the scale to adjust to normal room temperature for at least one hour before use.
  • This will let the internal components stabilize.
  • Keep your scale in a clean environment free from dust, dirt, moisture, vibration, air currents and other electronic equipment.
  • Handle with care: avoid shaking, dropping or otherwise shocking the scale.

OPERATION

  • Using TARE, you can subtract the weight of a container.
  • Turn the scale on.
  • Place the "tare item" (your empty bead dish) on the platform.
  • Press [TARE] and wait until "0.000g" is displayed.
  • Now add your beads to the container.

CALIBRATION

  • Calibration is not required before first use but it is probably safest to do it anyway.
  • Turn the scale on.
  • Once the scale is at zero, press and hold the [ON] key for about 3 seconds.
  • The display will go blank briefly, then flash “0”. Now release the [ON] key.
  • The display will show “10.000” and the “g” indicator will be flashing.
  • Place the 10g Calibration Weight on the center of the platform and wait until the “g” indicator stops flashing. Calibration is complete.

TROUBLESHOOTING

  • The main reasons for inaccuracy or malfunction are low batteries, incorrect calibration, overload or operating on an unstable surface.

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FOR INTERNATIONAL SUICIDE HOTLINES:

Please take the time to report your adverse symptoms from Cymbalta and Cymbalta withdrawal to the FDA. Call 1-800-332-1088 FDA

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