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Cymbalta Lawsuits: Users Suing Eli Lilly Over Undisclosed Withdrawal Symptoms

It appears as though the pharmaceutical juggernaut Eli Lilly is facing major legal backlash for failure to disclose discontinuation effects associated with their medication Cymbalta (Duloxetine).  Cymbalta is an SNRI antidepressant that was approved in August 2004 for the treatment of major depression.  A woman named Claudia Herrera has been making news headlines because she is one of an estimated 250 (former) Cymbalta users that have decided to file lawsuits against Eli Lilly.

Claudia Herrera began taking Cymbalta in 2006 specifically for anxiety symptoms; this is an FDA approved use of Cymbalta.  Approximately 6 years after taking the drug in 2012, she decided to discontinue with the help of a medical professional.  They conducted a gradual taper, slowly reducing the dosage over an extended period of time.

By conducting a gradual taper, the thought was that she wouldn’t suffer from any significant withdrawal symptoms.  Unfortunately, despite her tapering efforts, she still experienced an array of severe discontinuation effects, some of which were not reported by Eli Lilly including: brain zaps, heightened anxiety, muscle spasms, and suicidal thinking.  It was evident to her that Eli Lilly had downplayed the severity of Cymbalta discontinuation.

Eli Lilly failed to inform users of Cymbalta that they’d experience discontinuation symptoms when stopping the drug.  In other words, they portrayed Cymbalta to be a utopian antidepressant in that a person could take it and stop without any neurophysiological symptoms.  Stopping Cymbalta was supposed to be easy, with no physical or psychological signs of antidepressant dependence.

Why are Cymbalta lawsuits increasing in popularity?

The answer: Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms.  Manufacturer of Cymbalta (Duloxetine), Eli Lilly and Company didn’t properly inform users that discontinuation of their potent mind-altering antidepressant would pose significant difficulty.  It has since been discovered that discontinuation of any antidepressant (including Cymbalta) is much tougher than pharmaceutical companies want consumers to believe.  For years antidepressants were marketed as having “no withdrawal” symptoms.

If potential users were properly informed of severe discontinuation symptoms prior to using Cymbalta, they may have avoided it or pursued alternative options.  In retrospect, many former Cymbalta users wish they had never taken Cymbalta due to the suffering they’ve endured upon discontinuation.

Examples of Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms

Below is a list of some commonly reported discontinuation effects associated with Cymbalta.  In the case of plaintiff Claudia Herrera, a variety of symptoms plagued her existence upon discontinuation, including: electrical brain zaps, suicidal thinking, spasms, and a resurgence of anxiety.  While these symptoms are all common when stopping antidepressants, many were not reported by Eli Lilly.

  • Anxiety: A person’s anxiety is often heightened upon discontinuation from Cymbalta because the brain had adapted to the drug, becoming reliant upon it for relief. When discontinued, it takes awhile for neurochemistry to return to homeostasis.
  • Brain zaps: These refer to electrical shock sensations within the brain that often occur when discontinuing serotonergic antidepressants.
  • Spasms: It is common to experience muscle spasms as a result of discontinuation due to the fact that antidepressants influence physiology. When a person quits (especially after years of daily usage), it takes their body awhile to readjust.
  • Suicidal ideation: Any drug that improves your mood and/or affects mood-related neurotransmitters can trigger suicidal thinking when discontinued.
  • Severe depression: Depression often intensifies when quitting medications like Cymbalta as a result of neurotransmission alterations.
  • Dizziness: Among the most common withdrawal symptoms is dizziness that feels like you just stepped off a rollercoaster (maybe even worse). This can last weeks before a person notices improvement.
  • Headache: Many people report pounding headaches when they quit Cymbalta.
  • Nausea: Some people have such bad nausea when they stop antidepressants that they vomit.
  • Fatigue: Many people become lethargic and experience debilitating fatigue that persists for months after discontinuation before improving. In fact, many believe that antidepressants cause chronic fatigue, or at least prolonged bouts of low energy.

Does Cymbalta have a warning label of withdrawal symptoms?

The packaging label that is attached to Cymbalta prescriptions documents that 1% or more of individuals who discontinue the drug may experience withdrawal symptoms such as: nausea, irritability, insomnia, sensory disturbances, and seizures.  It’s relatively comical that they portray only 1% of users to experience withdrawal symptoms, when in theory 100% of people should experience some sort of withdrawal.

In addition, there are many more symptoms that occur during withdrawal than are being reported by the company.  They make claims like 1% and state general symptoms based on short-term trials.  Companies also attempt to withhold results and trials that may indicate more severe discontinuation symptoms, so there’s always a chance that Eli Lilly has a stash of private studies that never surfaced; this helps protect their image.

Plaintiffs in lawsuits with Eli Lilly suggest that at least 44% of Cymbalta users experience discontinuation symptoms.  This 44% figure is based off of an analysis published in the “Journal of Affective Disorders.”  Documentation suggesting 1% is a stark contrast to the 44% discovered in the journal, but even the journal is likely a low-ball figure.

Think about it, anytime a person takes a psychotropic drug – regardless of the type, it’s going to have an effect on neurochemistry.  If a person takes it for a longer duration at a higher dosage, the alterations to neurochemistry will be more significant.  When a person stops a drug like Cymbalta that has altered: serotonergic processes, noradrenergic processes, and likely a cascade of other neurotransmitters and hormones – withdrawal symptoms will be prevalent upon discontinuation; this is common sense.

The sad reality is that many people are duped into using antidepressants thinking that they are utopian treatment for mental illness.  While they can certainly be beneficial, the repercussions of discontinuation can be extremely difficult to deal with.  Withdrawal symptoms can last months before a person consciously recognizes that they’ve lessened in severity and/or improved.

Eli Lilly undermined Cymbalta’s withdrawal, but was it intentional?

It is unclear as to whether the underestimation of discontinuation symptoms associated with Cymbalta was intentional, or unintentional.  The countless people that experienced adverse reactions when trying to quit Cymbalta firmly believe that Eli Lilly intentionally withheld information regarding discontinuation symptoms and/or was totally negligent.  That said, it is still important to consider Eli Lilly’s position in these lawsuits.

Yes, it was intentional…

Many people including Claudia Herrera are arguing that Eli Lilly failed to inform users of the severity of discontinuation symptoms associated with Cymbalta for numerous reasons.  Perhaps the biggest reason was that they may have lost money if people would’ve considered certain withdrawal symptoms prior to using the drug.  When a drug hits the market, the goal of pharmaceutical companies is to maximize sales (and profits).

Profits: A motivation to keep withdrawal symptoms under wraps from the general public is to ensure maximum sales.  Hurting the reputation of a new drug like Cymbalta by suggesting debilitating withdrawals would make less people likely to try it.  The less people are willing to try it, the worse its sales and ultimately the less profits for Eli Lilly.

One could argue that Eli Lilly may have known about the array of problematic adverse discontinuation reactions associated with Cymbalta, but justified not mentioning them for increased profits.  Even if Eli Lilly would lose money in a Cymbalta lawsuit, they will have reaped such exorbitant profits, that a loss wouldn’t matter much.  This wouldn’t be anything new, as unpublished data of Paxil was recently unveiled, questioning the drug’s efficacy after years of it being on the market.

No, it wasn’t intentional…

Some would argue that Eli Lilly didn’t undermine the withdrawal of Cymbalta.  They conducted clinical trials, and published the evidence attained from those trials regarding what occurs when a person stops the drug.  Despite the fact that the trials are often short-term and publishing of these trials may have been selective (in that certain trials weren’t published), Eli Lilly can argue that they marketed the drug based off of “science.”

Fabrication of symptoms:  Eli Lilly is playing the hand they’ve been dealt by portraying the research that they’ve conducted with Cymbalta to show its safety.  Their goal as a company is to make plaintiffs like Claudia Herrera look like delusional outliers or among the 1% with adverse discontinuation symptoms.  In fact, they may go as far as to suggest that Claudia et al. is fabricating withdrawal symptoms simply to turn a quick dollar.

Eli Lilly may even suggest that the symptoms Claudia experienced during withdrawal are a direct result of her psychiatric condition rather than the drug.  Since the symptoms like brain zaps cannot be objectively recorded and scientifically “proven” in the court of law, the judge cannot possibly confirm that these “electric shocks” even exist.  Nor can it be proven that Claudia’s symptoms are directly resulting from her initial anxiety and/or secondary neurological disorders.

Unknown effects:  It is also important to consider the possibility that Eli Lilly may have not known all of the consequences associated with discontinuing Cymbalta.  Cymbalta has been researched, but not among users that have taken it for years.  Some people have taken it daily for over a decade and are trying to discontinue only to face significant difficulty and many symptoms that Eli Lilly didn’t report.

The long-term effects associated with Cymbalta are just finally starting to surface.  Studies conducted to test the safety and efficacy of Cymbalta were not conducted over a 10 year period, therefore may be missing a bulk of discontinuation effects and adverse effects associated with long-term usage.

Why it took awhile for a Cymbalta lawsuit to get filed…

Lawsuits for most drugs do not occur immediately when the drug initially hits the market.  When a new drug is approved, it often takes years for people to recognize the severity of side effects, long-term effects, and withdrawal symptoms.  Cymbalta was approved in 2004, making it a relatively new antidepressant compared to other SSRIs, TCAs, and MAOIs – classes that have been around for decades.

When a drug hits the market, pharmaceutical manufacturers want to cash-in on the profits before the patent expires.  New drugs are promoted like crazy, until many people start using them and/or thinking that their current medication should probably be replaced with something “newer.”  Hence after Cymbalta’s approval in 2004, many people resorted to giving it a shot – suspecting that it may be a magic bullet antidepressant.

Even many medical professionals were convinced that Cymbalta’s unique targeting of both serotonin and norepinephrine was nothing short of a utopian drug for depression.  It would inevitably gain approval for the treatment of neuropathic pain, fibromyalgia, anxiety disorders, and musculoskeletal pain.  With each new approved use, the number of people prescribed Cymbalta continued to increase – making it a highly lucrative medication for Eli Lilly.

People were prescribed a highly-potent mind-altering drug in Cymbalta, but were not informed of the symptomatic onslaught they’d experience when trying to discontinue.  The Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms included things like: brain zaps (electrical shock sensations), increased depression and suicidal ideation – even among those who were not taking it to treat psychiatric conditions.

As a result of these severe discontinuation symptoms, a small percentage of users decided to file lawsuits against Eli Lilly.  These are individuals that experienced such profound suffering when trying to quit Cymbalta, that they resorted to waging legal war with a pharmaceutical company that has the finances to crush them in a court of law.

Claudia Herrera’s Lawsuit vs. Eli Lilly (Details)

Claudia Herrera argued that Eli Lilly intentionally undermined withdrawal symptoms of Cymbalta to make it more marketable, ultimately increasing their profits.  The lawyers of Herrera suggested that Herrera’s doctor was unaware of the risks associated with Cymbalta.  They also presented evidence from a 2005 study suggesting that at least 44% of those discontinuing Cymbalta experience symptoms.

The lawyers for Eli Lilly argued that 2% or more experienced some discontinuation symptoms.  They further highlighted the fact that the study suggesting 44% of users experience withdrawal symptoms is flawed in that 22% of individuals receiving a placebo also noted withdrawals.  Obviously there is still a marked difference between 2% of users, and the 44% reported in the 2005 study.

Claudia Herrera was quoted as testifying, “I felt I was going to have a stroke” and “I thought I was going to pass out” – referring to the dreaded brain zaps.  A psychiatrist by the name of Douglas Jacobs served as an expert witness for Eli Lilly, testifying that there’s no evidence from medical literature of withdrawal symptoms lasting for months.  He further mentioned that the “symptoms” she reported were likely a manifestation of her underlying psychiatric conditions.

A spokesman for Eli Lilly was quoted as saying, “While Lilly is sympathetic to Ms. Herrera’s conditions, we are pleased with the jury’s verdict.”  Claudia Herrera’s legal team declined to comment following the case.

My personal experience with Cymbalta

When Cymbalta hit the market in 2004, I automatically assumed that it would help with my depressive symptoms.  At the time I had already tried every other SSRI and SNRI, giving them a test for at least 6 to 8 weeks without any mood improvement.  I had been suffering refractory depression, and my psychiatrist had been playing “antidepressant roulette” – constantly putting me on new antidepressants immediately after failing to experience a mood boost after 8 week trials.

He had some sample packs of the new medication Cymbalta, which I mistakenly perceived as a utopian option.  I figured that newer medications were likely better, with less side effects, greater efficacy, and reduced likelihood of withdrawal symptoms.  After giving Cymbalta a shot for 2 months, I became zombified, and even more depressed than usual; experiencing overwhelming suicidal thoughts.

Even after tinkering with the dosage, my mood continued to get worse in response to the drug.  I ended up quitting Cymbalta cold turkey, because at the time, no one suspected any withdrawal symptoms.  Little did I know that I would endure a hell (actually much worse than “hell” – there isn’t a term that would do justice in describing my experience) that would persist for months after discontinuation.

I informed my psychiatrist that I had experienced significant withdrawal symptoms, and he suggested that they were likely stemming from my underlying condition rather than the medication.  He went as far as to suggest that my mental illness was simply becoming more severe as a result of age, rather than considering that any symptoms could be a result of the potent Cymbalta (Duloxetine) that I was taking as a teenager with a developing brain.  Like Douglas Jacobs in the trial, my psychiatrist said that there was no literature to indicate withdrawal symptoms – especially those that persist for months.

It took me several years to fully recover from the lingering withdrawal symptoms from Cymbalta et al., and lead me to conclude that antidepressants cause a chemical imbalance that lingers long after discontinuation.  Some people have fewer neurophysiological consequences than others following discontinuation (based on individual factors), but anyone that’s taken a drug like Cymbalta for even several weeks will endure some backlash of symptoms.  These symptoms occur because there’s no such thing as a biological free lunch when it comes to antidepressants (or any drug).

I have no motivation to lie about my experience with Cymbalta, and am not involved in a lawsuit.  I don’t hate Cymbalta, and realize that it helps many people cope with a variety of conditions.  All I’m saying is that it was beyond horrific to discontinue, and if I had to decide between another post-acute withdrawal from Cymbalta and a bullet, I’m not sure if I could resist the bullet.

Thoughts about pharmaceutical companies and psychiatry

I now realize how negligence and/or corruption of pharmaceutical companies trickles right down to psychiatrists.  Companies like Eli Lilly fail to divulge information (sometimes likely unintentionally) and psychiatrists review the literature.  They make decisions based off of the available literature and science, and update their decisions when new publications emerge.

It is apparent to me (and many others) that withdrawal symptoms from Cymbalta and many other antidepressants can linger for many months before subtle improvements are noted.  While this is nowhere in the “literature,” it is a reality.  I would challenge any psychiatrist to shovel down high daily doses of Cymbalta as an experiment for a year or two, and then taper down (or if you’re feeling especially ballsy, quit cold turkey).

Next, report to me about the withdrawal symptoms that you will have; they will be plentiful and severe.  But I will downplay them and suggest that according to the literature there really aren’t any symptoms.  File a lawsuit against the manufacturer claiming that they failed to divulge discontinuation symptoms and severity to consumers.

Then I’ll step in on behalf of the pharmaceutical company and testify that your purported withdrawal symptoms were simply figments of your imagination and a medical impossibility.  Oh, are you claiming that you’ve dealt with them for months now?  I’m not buying it – they were more likely a result of your underlying psychiatric ailments that I suspected you were dealing with prior to using the drug.

Most likely scenario: Patients are reporting the truth about Cymbalta

It doesn’t make much sense for patients (over 250 of them) to file lawsuits against Eli Lilly (regarding Cymbalta) unless they endured serious injustices associated with the medication.  Let’s understand that most individuals taking antidepressants like Cymbalta aren’t high rollers that can afford to hire lawyers for medical injustices.  Even among the select patients that can afford lawyers, they are up against a billion-dollar pharmaceutical company and know that they will most likely get crushed in the court of law.

Pharmaceutical companies can afford the best legal team, and will know how to exploit the law to minimize likelihood of a financial loss.  Since many people know that lawsuits are expensive, and have a significant possibility of losing the case, most people do not go through with battles against big pharma.  These lawsuits can take years to advance through the courts and even longer before compensation is awarded (assuming the plaintiff wins the case).

This means there are relatively few people (likely of tens of thousands) that actually go through with filing a lawsuit against a company like Eli Lilly.  For a person to have the gumption to file a lawsuit against Eli Lilly means that they likely endured life-altering atrocities associated with the medication Cymbalta.  If the withdrawals were actually “minor” and nothing out of the ordinary occurred – there wouldn’t be any reason to jump through the hoops necessary for a big lawsuit.

Despite the truths about Cymbalta being presented in a court of law, big pharma companies like Eli Lilly won’t ever back down from their reputation.  They want to retain their financial assets and image, and know that with a good law firm, they will likely be protected.  They will fight cases like Claudia Herrera’s to protect their reputation and assets.

I understand that people like Claudia Herrera are telling the truth because I’ve endured much of what she has described.  It took me months before I even felt halfway normal after Cymbalta, and many symptoms lingered for a protracted term.  People don’t want to expose themselves with mental illnesses and file lawsuits unless they’ve really been victim of a severe psychological maiming.

Claudia Herrera lost the lawsuit, but 250 more have been filed…

Claudia Herrera may have lost her lawsuit against Eli Lilly, but an estimated 5,000 other lawsuits are pending regarding Cymbalta.  This was the first (of many) cases that claim Eli Lilly kept risks of discontinuation hidden from the public.  Claudia’s lawyers described her symptoms as “serious and life-threatening.”

Another trial has already begun regarding Cymbalta in the same courthouse as the trial of Herrera.  It is apparent that the lawyers agreeing to take these cases must see significant financial rewards to be attained from Eli Lilly based on the severity of claims.  A lawyer involved in the Herrera case was quoted as saying, “The success or failure of these cases will give us a good sense of how they are playing to these juries.”

He elaborated, “Even if we lose, we have every intention of moving forward with the litigation.”  There are an estimated upcoming 250 additional lawsuits that have been filed against Eli Lilly specifically over Cymbalta.  Just within the month of August (2015), there are an estimated three more trials that will be underway.  It was noted that Cymbalta was among the top selling antidepressants over the past few years, raking in an estimated $3.9 billion in just 2013.

Eli Lilly putting up a strong defense

Anytime a single individual is fighting a pharmaceutical conglomerate like Eli Lilly, it’s going to be an uphill battle.  Most people don’t even attempt to file a lawsuit because it seems futile.  Dump a bunch of money into a lawyer, hope that the case makes it to court, and keep your fingers crossed that you can somehow pull off a victory.

If you lose, you’re out a lot of time, effort, and money.  Eli Lilly can afford to pump as much money into a top-notch legal team as possible, giving them the major upperhand in court.  Claudia Herrera lost her case, and Eli Lilly said that they would continue to “vigorously defend” all other cases to protect their reputation and Cymbalta.

“While Lilly is sympathetic to Ms. Herrera’s conditions, we are pleased with the jury’s verdict,” Lilly spokeswoman Celeste Stanley said.

Do people deserve to win a lawsuit for Cymbalta against Eli Lilly?

I believe that someone should win a lawsuit against Eli Lilly for its downplaying of withdrawal symptoms associated with Cymbalta.  That said, I think significantly more attention should be paid to the protracted withdrawal symptoms associated with all psychiatric drugs and the many other problems with psychiatry.  Cymbalta shouldn’t necessarily be singled out as being any worse compared to other medications.

In my experience, it was the most severe and debilitating to discontinue and I’ve tried nearly every SSRI and SNRI on the market.  Doctors, psychiatrists, and researchers are far from deciphering the discontinuation symptoms, long-term effects, and other adverse reactions associated with psychiatric medications like Cymbalta.  It can only be hoped that in forthcoming years the truth regarding discontinuation consequences of all psychiatric drugs are fully deciphered and elucidated.

If I had to put a price tag on compensation for my withdrawal from Cymbalta, I’m not sure that a dollar amount would do it justice.  No amount of money can reverse the abyss of psychological pain that was endured upon withdrawal.  I feel as if a check for at least $250,000 would be relatively fair now, as I barely made it out alive.

Feel free to share your thoughts on the Cymbalta lawsuits in the comments section below.  Mention whether you’ve personally taken Cymbalta and whether you think that your experience was awful enough to warrant compensation.  I’ve had problems with most psychiatric drugs, but many pale in comparison to those experienced during withdrawal from Cymbalta.

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29 thoughts on “Cymbalta Lawsuits: Users Suing Eli Lilly Over Undisclosed Withdrawal Symptoms”

  1. I feel very sad reading all the comments here and extremely angry at the same time. I too am a ‘victim’ of Crackbalta. My doctor thought I had depression so sent me off with a script and congratulated me on getting through the initial week of nausea and feeling like crap while this drug got into my system. It was circumstances at the time that had me feeling pretty low but of course the underlying cause was never discussed.

    I was just handed a script. I was never told about how horrific it would be to withdraw. I went cold turkey once, that was fun! I have never suffered from anxiety but oh boy did I suffer! Of course that wasn’t the only symptom, and needless to say, I was reinstated. My second attempt at getting off was the worst experience I have ever had in my life.

    I did what I thought was a reasonable taper, the same sort of taper a GP would tell you to do and I fell into a big black hole. My husband reckons I had an emotional breakdown. The anxiety was so bad I hid in my bed with the blankets over my head, just going to school to pick up my kids was horrific, I didn’t want to converse with anybody, I didn’t feel safe driving the car at all, and I became reclusive.

    Thankfully I work from home, there is no way I could of gone out to work, no way in the world and I hardly worked at home due to the way I felt, I couldn’t sit still or concentrate on anything, my work hours dwindled terribly, I was an emotional mess, crying and sobbing uncontrollable. It was the most frightening time of my life. I felt no joy in anything, no interest in doing anything, I just wanted to sleep and be out of it.

    At night the insomnia was bad. I feel sick to the stomach thinking about that time. Plus I had a pain in my side all the time and constant diarrhea. I even had a CT scan and an ultrasound of my abdomen I felt so bad, I couldn’t believe the results were normal! The only good thing was I lost a lot of weight but I was so out of it I couldn’t have cared less, I just wanted to be “normal” again.

    Of course I was put back on Crackbalta and it took three weeks to start feeling “drug induced normal” again. Now though I am on the verge of third time lucky tapering. I have been on Crackbalta for about 6 or 7 years – I don’t remember exactly. I have always had problems with constipation, it seems to be getting worse and my weight has gone up although I have been through an early menopause.

    Luckily for me I didn’t put on the horrendous amounts of weight a lot of other poor people did, also my memory has got really bad. I thought I was getting dementia. I always had a fantastic memory, now it’s terrible. I have to write everything down and then I still forget. I worry I’m going to forget something really important one day or leave something cooking etc.

    I also developed a tremor in my left hand, thought I had Parkinson’s, doc reckons it’s not C. Lately though what really plagues me is the extreme fatigue I battle with every day. It is so bad I am having nana naps when I can. I never had to do that 12 months ago. I work on the computer and after an hour of work, my eyes are closing and I struggle like hell. It is really getting me down.

    I feel like I have chronic fatigue syndrome. So yes I would like compensation for what I’ve been through and what I’m about to go through again. This is something that I think about every day and it bothers me every single day. Why should I have to live like that? I am angry also with my GP. He and many others are so good at fobbing us off with medical garbage. They should be forced to take this drug and then try and get off it.

    The last time I saw him he knew I was peed off and asked me if I wanted to see a psychologist! It peed me off. I have nothing to talk to a psychologist about. I feel trapped on this drug, pissed off and frightened to taper again. The mind changing symptoms I cannot deal with. I truly can understand why people take their own lives, I seriously can.

  2. I was on Cymbalta on and off for 7 years. There’s a lawsuit against Cymbalta for the withdrawals, but my loss of memory is the worst. So far (went off of Cymbalta in 2014) it hasn’t come back. My rheumatologist said a small percentage do have memory problems. THIS is what should’ve been on the warning labels! I used to have a memory like a steel trap.

    Now I’ve actually forgotten my b-day and that’s no lie. I cry because of it. People think you don’t pay attention to what they say when you forget what they say or tell you. What does my future hold? I’m a single mom. I don’t like leaving my house, dating (hard to trust when u don’t remember things, esp in an argument), bills have to be on auto-withdrawal.

    Baking – did I add 2 or 3 cups of flour? When it turns out like a brick I know the answer. Have to have a timer now when cooking something in the oven. I now know what Alzheimer patients go through. It’s like having a gauze over your memories. It’s not like it’s on the tip of your tongue because you can’t see it in your mind – you know you know the answer but it’s cloudy with no hint of what it is.

    I can’t even begin to explain my frustration. I used to be in management, wrote procedures, could multitask. No more. Afraid to interact with people because of my memory. I pray someone takes them to the cleaners. I’m so depressed now that I’ve become a hermit. I’m a shadow of my former self.

  3. Cymbalta has wrecked my life. I must echo all of what the other poor souls have written. I am alive, but dead. All the little joys have gone from my life. I try my best to pretend normalcy in my life to most of my family and friends, but they know I am in a very dark place most of the time. I have had to give up many of my activities where others depended on me, as I simply can no longer trust myself and my ability to get the job done.

    This is just one aspect of the Cymbalta and its sudden discontinuation, of which I had no choice. I cannot carry on a normal conversation due to stuttering and simply going totally blank mid sentence. I usually end up in tears due to frustration. I cry at the slightest provocation, and worse, when upset I have gone into a rage that is super human. I stay away from all situation that can evoke such responses of grief or anger due to lack of control.

    I have lost 20% of my body weight in two months. I have to force myself to eat as I have not appetite. I have resorted to protein and vitamin drinks just to maintain my health. All of this started about three or four months after starting Cymbalta. It came to a head the end of May when I told my doctor I could no longer tolerate the side effects. He put me on another SNRI, and two hours after taking the newly prescribed med my body, mind and emotions exploded. I was insane, by my standards, for at least three solid weeks.

    My doctor said he could no longer help me. I was shocked. She would not even call the psych he had sent me to to get me in, as I was told they were no longer taking new patients. Poor medical ethics to say the least. On the up side, I can now take my hour long walks with my dogs. These walks had dwindled from an hour and a few miles to not being able to get to the end of my block without collapsing.

    Thank goodness my neighbor found me and got me home. My sweating has slowed to nearly normal, from having to change my clothes four to five times a day.

  4. I am a victim of Cymbalta withdrawal, first incident, dizziness fell had 22 stitches inside and out over right eye. ⚡ ZAP in my brain while driving, had to pull over, my jaw is misaligned. Went to emergency, not a stroke. Joint pain had two major hip replacement. Neck surgery sudden. Had to cancel my wedding went from 180lbs to 120lbs.

    Sudden acts of rage, stabbed my fiancee got baker acted. Now I am all alone. Family and loved one think I am on crack fabricating everything. No amount of money could compensate. My life has been changed drastically, all I do is cry. Thank you, for the opportunity to express this, helps.

  5. My daughter was put on this when she was 16 (10 years ago) for anxiety and migraines. Had I known that there was a problem coming off of it I would never have allowed her to be on it. It was “sold” to us as a new successful treatment for anxiety. We found out just 5 years ago that she is on the autism spectrum and also has personality disorders (mixed).

    Because of her autism she is highly sensitive to medications. They tried every antidepressant on the market and she had the extreme reactions on most of them so Cymbalta seemed like a miracle. After she started Cymbalta she gained weight quickly and also developed an unexplainable skin condition. After reading about CWS I’m convinced that both are attributable to Cymbalta.

    She seemed to be doing great on Cymbalta and even over the last year was working decorating chalk boards for one of her doctors. This may not seem like much to most people but was huge for her because she does not do people well. Once the generic for Cymbalta came out we were excited not to pay 50$ per month for the prescription. Turns out she was too sensitive to the fillers in the generic and no pharmacy could guarantee they could get a certain generic for her if we found one that worked… so we were forced to keep her on the name brand.

    Then Eli Lilly decided to start jacking up the price. In less than one year it went from $50 – 221 per month. Since she is on SSI this was not affordable and state insurance only covers generic medications. I called Eli Lily to see if they could help her out financially because of her drug sensitivities. Nope – they only help people with low income and no insurance, they could care less about her inability to take the generic.

    So I either had to drop her from my insurance, which meant she could not keep her doctors and current treatments or she had to go off the Cymbalta. It breaks my heart to see her go through all this since her life is already so hard. Because I’m her primary caregiver this added stress of watching her go through hell and not being able to pay all my bills because of paying $221 a month for one medication is keeping us both from having much life enjoyment.

    At this point she would be happy to stay on Cymbalta the rest of her life but we can’t afford it. She was on 120mg which is now over $500 per month and it would be more without my insurance. We are about to start going down from 60mg at 10mg increments. Her first drop from 60 led to excruciating stomach and intestinal pain so she had to go back to 60.

    So many of the comments on here have started me thinking that she would have been so much better off if she would never had been on it. It kind of seems like it amplifies conditions and creates dependence rather than really helping. We’ve spent so many years doing nothing but paying doctor’s bills and medications…and you can get Cymablta in other countries for so much less.

    Makes me wonder what countries with universal care are going to do as their citizens start reporting problems with Cymbalta.

  6. I’m trying to get off Cymbalta now. It is a nightmare. It is true about the brain zaps and I get into a mental fog. I get so tired and can’t think straight. I did not know about the rise of anxiety. I have never had anxiety this bad before. I’m literally sick trying to get off this drug. I’m glad this lawsuit is going forth. I wouldn’t wish this for my worst enemy. The really bad thing, it never helped my depression. Lord help me.

  7. I too was put on cymbalta for hot flashes after hysterectomy. I became so depressed, had been quite smoking 13 years but a month after being on it all I thought about was smoking and started back. If my family would have all died I wouldn’t even have cared, I had no emotion, I was always happy, energetic, kept a spotless house, been off of it 5 years.

    Still have brain zaps, just now through the grace of God coming out of depression. This drug is nothing but straight from hell and I heard the pharmacy reps pushing it at my Dr’s office two weeks before I went on it, and guarantee you most of his patients went on it because they get perks for pushing this crap. It nearly destroyed me, I don’t have a lawsuit, but I can testify by personal experience being on it is hell.

    Coming off it is and the effects stay with you a long long time. Thankfully, I’m on day 7 of not smoking after 5 years of a habit I quit for 13. I know for a fact I’d never started smoking had I not been put on cymbalta!!!! Don’t ever ever take it!!!!

  8. I was put on Cymbalta for nerve pain, I have RSD and it is among some of the drugs I have tried to help get relief. When I started on cymbalta I thought it was helping at first and as we kept moving up in doses I starts experiencing other problems with memory, nausea and vomiting often, muscle spasms, etc. Then after taking it for 4 months and taking 90mg a day I all of a sudden developed an anaphylactic reaction to it and it took about 3 trips to the hospital and separating and timing out these drugs to figure it out.

    I had no choice but to come off of it cold turkey and it was horrible for weeks. I developed a headache that wouldn’t go away, the nausea and vomiting got worse as did the muscle spasms and fatigue. Then I developed the brain-zaps as they are called and it’s crazy and scary when I get one and I’m doing something, or holding my daughter, or driving.

    It stuns you for a few seconds and still to this day almost 2 years later I’m still getting them as a lasting effect of the drug. Is this going to last forever I wonder? I would have never taken it had I know that was a side effect. The company should at least have to pay for research and find a way to fix it. How do they sell a drug that you know does permanent damage to someone?

    • I totally agree with you! How can they make this drug and not have any knowledge of how to deal with the side effects? They need to take all that billions they made and research a cure for the damage Cymbalta has caused! Still having withdrawals since 2012!

  9. I have been on Cymbalta for 8 years… have tried many times to taper off the dose and get off it, but have a dreadful time with head explosions and severe dizziness, nausea and high anxiety. I can’t function. Prior to taking Cymbalta I managed the horrific task dealing with the withdrawals from coming off Effexor…

    My doctor was under the impression that Cymbalta was a good alternative and I was told it had no where near the horrendous side effects when withdrawing. I feel like my memory has suffered and my brain works much slower. I feel damaged.

  10. I’ve been trying to get off cymbalta since June 2015. It’s sickening to think that the makers of this medication could care less. I get so sick from the withdrawals. Nausea, headaches… Extreme vertigo, I literally feel like I can’t function. Shame on you.

  11. Cymbalta is the worst medicine I have ever tried to get off of. This is my fifth attempt. I believe the reason I’ve been able to get away from this drug is because of my new doctor who found out that I have hypothyroidism… I take iodine and she has put me on a diet. I still am suffering horrific withdrawals and brain zaps. I take it one day at a time. Had I known how awful the withdrawals can be, I would have never taken this terrible drug!!! Shame on You Eli Lilly!!!

  12. So your tinnitus is never going to go away even after you have stopped taking Cymbalta. I have it too. I have it so bad some days I get nauseated. I have to sit most of the day with earbuds in my ears with music to try to block it out while I work. I have panic attacks almost daily because of it. I sit and cry all the time. I cant get any doctors to help me either.

  13. I am devastated to read this article even if it is for my own good. I have been taking this drug for about 5 years and only became aware of its withdrawal issues recently when I had to discontinue one of the two I take. I needed to take another medication at that time which Cymbalta would interfere with. When I started looking for more info. online, I began seeing things that were scary, like this article.

    I have been more seriously depressed than when I started. I’m obese but gained even more weight. I am suicidal, it’s all I think about all day and night. I have no friends left, no motivation and no desire for anything except to either be well or be dead.

  14. I was prescribed Cymbalta in 2004. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but, the “butterfly effect” never goes away. You know that sensation where for a few moments you disconnect from what’s going on around you and it feels like you’re falling forward and backward at the same time. Can’t believe after all this time I’m still experiencing the brain flutters.

    I honestly thought that my situation was unique and that I was the only one. There are other side effects as well. How could they not have known?

    • I was left with tinnitus for the rest of my life. I also wtill have twitching muscles. Only God knows what else I have wrong in my body from the after effects of this poison. I have had many young people email me about their Cymb experiences and they are scared. This is quite simply – CRIMINAL! Eli Lilly knows the risk – but they wanted to make billions. The FDA ignored the studies. People have died. People are dying as speak/write.

  15. Cymbalta was part of the concoction I was taking when I left the psych hospital after the last time I would be hospitalized for 3 years. It was March 2006, was admitted at the end of January after a serious attempt, having tried all sorts of meds, and even ECT, been inpatient about 15 times in as many months, and some partial program admissions, with a couple other attempts throughout that time.

    (Dx Major Depression) Cymbalta wasn’t what triggered the change – it was Ritalin, an uncommon thing to try, but the new doctor who was filling in for a couple days was pretty confident it could work, and very much to my surprise he was right – but it was part of the mix along with Seroquel. Around the end of spring 2008 I couldn’t find a way to get the Cymbalta anymore and my doctor then doesn’t listen to his patients (BAD doctor, sees a ton of patients in CMH services and doesn’t really listen much at all.

    He’s by far the most complained about doctor around for the low/no income group with whom I later worked), and didn’t make any changes, so I was off cold turkey. I felt like crap for ages, started looking up Cymbalta withdrawal online and found plenty of precedence for my symptoms – learned they were similar to illicit drug withdrawal from some patients who had withdrawn from both (separately). It wasn’t as bad as Geodon (different doctor who I trusted too much, didn’t sound like a good idea to me but she seemed to know what she was doing up until then.

    The side effects were scaring me so when she didn’t respond to my message that I couldn’t keep risking taking it I tapered myself off and spent a week mentally lost, split between sleeping and trying to deal with constipation without enough mind to try a treatment rather than straining that left my body damaged). But it lasted much longer than going off the Geodon.

  16. Thank you for writing this for me and on behalf of the many Cymbalta survivors here and the ones that are somewhere out there in the dark alone and scared. For those who are experiencing this right now – be strong, keep going and know that the journey will be tough and lonely at times but PLEASE find the strength to keep going. I cannot describe in words what I went through then and what I went thru during trial.

    I can say it was dark and cold. I describe this feeling of numbness and of pure blackness inside my body. Today I am medication free. I no longer weigh 190lbs – I lost 50 lbs! I started running again, I am doing yoga, I am working, I am having sex again. To Dr. Jacobs – I am not depressed and I have no underlying depression – never had. I was merely stressed and live a high pressure life. Guess what? I still live that same high pressured life today.

    Is that a reason to be prescribed Cymbalta? To Eli Lilly – does someone really have to nearly die just to quit you? Why did I quit Cymbalta? I was experiencing a long list of symptoms like headaches and I gained 50lbs whilst on this drug. I was also experiencing lethargy and felt like a non caring and numb person. I started to also feel over heated – always warmer than normal.

    One day a light bulb went on in my head – IT’S the CYMBALTA! Then my living hell began. Cymbalta is a poison! I will say it again – Cymbalta is a poison! I am truly grateful for this article and all the other blogs here. I know that these blogs and articles give people like me hope. Thank you.

  17. My spouse was on the anti-depression roulette wheel, ending with Cymbalta. He simply broke with brain zaps so frequent he couldn’t get his bearings. He was so ill, I gave him a single tramacet (37.5mg, it works on 3 neurotransmitters) and his zaps and some other symptoms calmed in hours and within two days the zaps were minimal. He took only one tramacet at bed for 5 days. After that I have him taking .25gr psilocybin daily with the occasional full dosage journey. He was transformed after his first journey, in touch with a lightness he didn’t know he still owned.

    There is a lot of research coming out on nature’s solution for depression and it is all so exciting, and validating. I got through a childhood with severe trauma and abuse by taking mushrooms in my teens. I turned out fine as a result, not lost on the streets. Mushroom truffles are saving my husband. Just want to let you all know! He does incredible with philosopher stones (which make me feel horrible) and I take mexicana, just a small dried out crumb a day. I buy them direct from Holland.

  18. I was put on Cymbalta for depression 10 to 12 years ago while I was dealing with Crohn’s disease. It helped with the depression brought on during the worst years of Crohn’s. Since then I have developed fibromyalgia, I do get some relief using Cymbalta from the pain n burning feelings in my body. There were a few occurrences, one in particular, where I missed taking Cymbalta…due to a mix up in the refill.

    The first day without it I developed severe headaches, by the second day I was nauseous, vomiting, had brain zaps, incoherent and had some of the worst body pain imaginable. Finally I was taken to the ER for treatment and a temporary way to replenish the Cymbalta until the script could be refilled. I was given some strong narcotics to relieve the migraines and brain zaps and disabling pain my body was in. They sent me home with enough RX for a day and in the care of a family member.

    Yes it is a very wicked drug, as I’ve been taking it for many years I know it will take a very long time to taper off of. I am actually afraid of the long term effects due to being on the medication for over a decade. I honestly feel monetary pay would be a small offering of compensation for what it’s done already and for the long term damage done to my health and conditions of my brain and body.

  19. Currently tapering off this horrible medicine. Going through he** right now:( Can’t sleep, EXTREME fatigue, muscle aches, increased depression, etc. Would have never accepted this medication if I knew I’d be feeling like this. Sure hope more and more people hear about our experiences before they take this horrible evil medication!!

  20. My brother warned me, when I told him I finally started taking Cymbalta (for Chronic Fibromyalgia Symdrome since 1993), to be careful not to quit without (tapering) off. His doctor stopped him cold-turkey, and now he cannot stay awake. It was prescribed to him for insomnia, secondary to pain due to injury.

  21. I took Cymbalta for 6 to 10 years. I went to my Dr because I was dizzy and very tired. I suffered headaches. I also feel like something happened to my memory!

  22. My wife tapered off the med as her PCP had advised, we even tapered her slower than prescribed, over several months. Yet she has now had a migraine type headache for going on eight weeks, along with GI disturbances and fatigue. It’s affected both our lives greatly. Please make someone pay for this!


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