It’s the Cymbalta stupid

From OpEDNews the lastest criminal activity on Eli Lilly’s part. I don’t have any commentary. Martha Rosenberg does a fine job without my adding my two cents:

Many are outraged that Eli Lilly gave nonprofits $3.9 million in grants last year for medical courses to “educate” doctors about the pain-and-fatigue ailment fibromyalgia–more than it spent for diabetes and Alzheimer’s which people already know they have.

But finding new diseases to justify a drug’s existence is the normal way pharma operates.

Especially Lilly who agreed to pay $1.42 billion for illegal marketing of its anti-psychotic Zyprexa last month–$615 million for criminally promoting it for dementia–another $62 million to 32 states for illegal pediatric marketing and agreed to resolve Medicaid fraud investigations into “rebates” at the same time. (And how was your year?)

And whose diabetes treatment Byetta is tanking since reports last summer of six deaths, at least two from pancreatitis.

But Lilly’s fibromyalgia-fighting drug, Cymbalta (duloxetine)–its second best seller after Zyprexa–is anything but normal.

Starting with the death of 19-year-old Cymbalta test subject Traci Johnson in 2004–who hanged herself in the Lilly Clinic in Indianapolis and had no history of mental problems–it has been beset by reports of baffling, rapid, unprovoked, and out of character suicides.

A 37-year-old man described in the Feb. 2008 Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology with a stable marriage and employment and no history of mental problems tried to kill himself with carbon monoxide two months after taking Cymbalta for back pain. “The patient was unable to state exactly why he wanted to commit suicide,” write the four physician authors all with the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Kansas Medical Center who note he returned to normal when the drug was stopped. (and it keeps getting worse—finish here)

23 thoughts on “It’s the Cymbalta stupid

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  1. Lisa,
    I’m so sorry for your tragedy
    good for you that you are so actively caring for yourself.
    hang in there, you certainly do have choices, something too many of us are never told nor do we figure it out.

    I do caution you that once you do come off Cymbalta there may be a flood of emotion and grief…some based in reality and some caused by the drug withdrawal…just believe you can make it through and take it real slow…

    these tragedies that happen to us can be the firing process that make us stronger…

    may that be the case for you.

  2. Believe me, coming off of the drugs as fast as I did wasn’t by choice… It was a matter of safety. We’re currently keeping my meds in one place (no changes in the foreseeable future); but it is difficult. This is the first year since the traumatic death of my 16 y/o daughter that I’ve been forced to cope with the grief w/o the use of psych meds (not counting the Cymbalta). I’ve been told if I can get through this rough period (the anniversary of her death), I won’t need those drugs ever again! There are other options available; and today, I have choices.


  3. I’ve been on Cymbalta for about a year now. After going through Detox in May for Vicodin and Ativan, I still remained on my psych meds, having had a diagnosis of Bipolar since I was a teen. About three weeks out, I was bumping into walls, chronic fatigue, dizziness, etc. So, they began to reduce my psych meds, trying to figure out which one it could be. (It was ALL OF THEM!) Within three months, I was no longer taking Trazodone, Lamictal, and Ativan. However, when the time came to remove the Cymbalta, we ran into some serious problems… The chronic pain I’ve suffered for over the last year that had been gone for the last three months, resurfaced! (within 48 hours of reducing the Cymbalta to 0).

    I am now on Cymbalta and Lyrica (together) to control the chronic pain I have from Fibromyalgia; but I can’t stand the Cymbalta. The side effects are terrible; although, the Lyrica helps.

    Cymbalta is a nasty drug!


    1. yes, it’s a nasty drug, but it sounds like you came off all the drugs way too fast and that would complicate matters in such a way as to not really know what is up with the cymbalta in particular…and Lyrica can have similar problems…the trick is withdrawing very very slowly…for some people that means taking even more than a year…FOR EACH DRUG.

      best of luck on your continued journey.

  4. No worries, Gianna 🙂
    I’m a bit of a lurker. I post on occasion, but they’re few and far between. I love reading the blog and find it very helpful.

  5. I have only been on Cymbalta for close to four months and to be honest it seemed like a dream come true early on. Now I take Effexor, Seroquel, Temazapam as well as Cymbalta so it could be the combo but for the last few weeks I have what I thought were Effexor withdrawals but after reading this post and the comments that followed maybe I should be taking a closer look at Cymbalta. Take care

  6. I’m working on a taper off Cymbalta, been on it for a bit more than two years, and thankfully haven’t experienced the negative side effects to the degree that others do.

    Dear Amy,
    thanks for proving the point I try to make over and over again and no one ever listens!

    You aren’t having serious problems because you’re coming off this drug safely!!!

    Something virtually no one does, nor do they want to hear the truth.

    Good for you!!

    I’m going to make a post out of your comment!!

  7. I’m working on a taper off Cymbalta, been on it for a bit more than two years, and thankfully haven’t experienced the negative side effects to the degree that others do. They’re there, I am aware that they can happen, and I truly hope somehow soon it becomes clear what we’re doing with these drugs. The pressure on taking them to solve everything that’s ever been wrong is terrifying.

  8. gianna – that has crossed my mind. My first bipolar diagnosis was several years earlier but when lithium didn’t work I was put on Paxil which seemed to help for a time. However, as I’ve been on a number of antidepressants it is possible that one of them may be responsible for causing latent “bipolar” tendencies to flare up. It’s a chicken and egg dilemma. Which came first? In my case, unfortunately, we will probably never know.

  9. nothingqueen,
    I wanted to welcome you…I’m not sure I’ve seen you before…

    know that I welcome all comments but do not have the energy or wellbeing to respond individually to all…

    I’m sorry you went through the stuff you did, it’s awful, isn’t it?

  10. interesting bipolarlife,
    were you diganosed bipolar prior to that?

    you know a lot of bipolar gets diagnosed when it’s really just an adverse drug reaction…

    something to think about for some people…

    I’m not assuming you’re one of them…but you might be.

  11. Worst one I was ever on too. What they’re trying to do with it is scary. Cymbalta studied to help tennis elbow??? Um, yeah, right. Trash your brain so your elbow is ok…. but you won’t know whether it’s ok or not because your brain will be trashed.

  12. NothingQueen,

    I totally understand. This has been the worst drug I have ever been on in my entire life….. the side effects are terrible, and crippling.

    I have the constant fatigue you wrote about, the brain zaps, and the vision problems…. as well as a myriad of other ailiments including getting my my period approx 3 times a month now.

    I would love to take all the pills out there, make them illegal, never make any more, and flush em all down the toilet.

    But I wouldn’t know what t hey would do to the sewer gators.

  13. I remember reading some time last year that a bunch of scientists had claimed that Seroxat was a good cure for hypochondriacs. I kid you not.

    I wrote about it but cannot for the life of me find the article.

    Pharma will always invent illnesses to fit around their drugs and not drugs to fit around illnesses.


  14. Gianna,

    From the article –
    Cymbala being studied for –

    binge eating, social phobia, chronic fatigue, restless legs disorder, seasonal affective disorder, migraines, attention deficit disorder and childhood depression–despite known pediatric risks–PMS, menopause, alcoholism, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, kleptomania and the important medical condition: tennis elbow.

    ….Is there anything this miracle drug is not supposed to be able to do?

    ….I like what Dr. Mercola says about the drug for ‘restless leg syndrome’ – “It’s like trying to kill an gnat with a cannon ball’.


  15. Ha, Cymbalta…
    I was given it for my “chronic anxiety and bipolar” diagnoses. LAME.
    I had extreme irritability, numbness of my tongue, flickering lights in my vision, brain zaps (STILL have brain zaps six months later, though not as severe or frequent) and constant fatigue.
    I hope karma gives the makers exactly what they deserve. Or at least the symptoms I had to work through and still suffer from.

  16. Lilly changed the Cymbalta commercials about a month ago… the one woman who was featured in the old commercial looked a LONG way from happy. I would translate her expression as “I know they want me to smile, but it’s so hard… does this look OK?”

  17. Bunker,
    I should say though, I am someone who suffers from what might get labeled PMDD, but I don’t go for the pathologizing of it…

    that being said it’s no picnic and it’s a very real and difficult phenomena—drugs though are not the answer….

    but treating suffering as though it’s not real isn’t either.

  18. “But finding new diseases to justify a drug’s existence is the normal way pharma operates.”

    PMDD? When Lilly’s patent on Prozac ran out their marketing dept (APA) obliged them by pathologizing any woman who got cranky once a month in order to Re-gain patent exclusivity on fluoxetine by re-marketing it as Sarafem.

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