Defense Verdict Returned in Cymbalta Trial Over Withdrawal Problems

A California jury has returned a defense verdict in the first case to go to trial involving claims that Eli Lilly failed to adequately warn about the risk of withdrawal problems from Cymbalta. 

The trial stems from a complaint brought by Claudia Herrera in 2013, which alleged that side effects of Cymbalta caused her to suffer harp, painful zaps of electricity shooting through her head, extreme anxiety and fear, stomach pains, suicidal ideation, uncontrollable muscle spasms, hot flashes, and body shivers after she stopped using the popular antidepressant.

A federal jury in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California began hearing evidence in the Cymbalta trial last Tuesday, and returned a defense verdict in favor of the drug maker on Friday afternoon.

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The case is the first out of several hundred lawsuits to reach a jury over Cymbalta withdrawal problems, with a second case scheduled to start this week.

Cymbalta (duloxetine) was approved by the FDA in 2004, for the treatment of depression. It is part of a family of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which have been linked to symptoms of withdrawal since at least 2001.

According to a 2012 report by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP), early clinical studies have shown that about half of patients who abruptly discontinued use of Cymbalta suffered withdrawal symptoms.

About 10% of those cases involved severe problems and more than half of the cases involved side effects that lasted longer than a week or two.

Instead of providing clear information about the risk of serious and potentially severe withdrawal symptoms with Cymbalta, plaintiffs in the lawsuits allege that the medication guide and label provided with the drug provided only a very vague warning.

Eli Lilly’s attorneys argued that Herrara’s symptoms may have been caused by the underlying mental disorders that caused her to take Cymbalta in the first place, and maintained that there is no evidence of Cymbalta side effects lasting for months.

The trial comes as a panel of federal judges are being asked to consolidate all Cymbalta lawsuits pending throughout the federal court system before one judge for coordinated pretrial proceedings.

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) previously rejected a similar request in December 2014, indicating at that time that there were too few cases and only a limited number of law firms involved in the lawsuits. Therefore, cases like Herrara’s have been providing individually in different U.S. District Courts nationwide.

In a motion filed last month, a group of plaintiffs asked the U.S. JPML to reconsider the centralization of the Cymbalta litigation, indicating that it is necessary to reduce duplicative discovery into common issues, avoid conflicting pretrial rulings from different judges and to serve the convenience of the parties, witnesses and the courts.

2 Comments

  • WilliamNovember 25, 2021 at 3:39 pm

    In Sept 1999 I was in an accident that crushed my left leg and tore my left foot off at age 49. I spent the next 4 years and 10 operations to reconnect the parts and pieces, during which time my spouse left me homeless with no insurance and claiming I was "no longer the man she had married". No wandering the country in the winter of 2003 thru 2004 I was sent to a psych counselor who prescri[Show More]In Sept 1999 I was in an accident that crushed my left leg and tore my left foot off at age 49. I spent the next 4 years and 10 operations to reconnect the parts and pieces, during which time my spouse left me homeless with no insurance and claiming I was "no longer the man she had married". No wandering the country in the winter of 2003 thru 2004 I was sent to a psych counselor who prescribed a "wonderful new drug for pain and depression? At the time, I had no MD at all, so took what was given at 60 mg per day. Frankly it never did anything for either issue, but I found it impossible to stop taking! I still do in 2021 because no medicare doctor since (many) refuse to take me off of it for fear of negative effects which are very real . Lilly no longer provides information about effective methods to withdraw and the generic companies do not respond about Duloxetine. It is a horrible and unending cycle that I wish had never started.

  • PamAugust 31, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    My Blood Pressure was extremely high 177/111. I have it saved on my machine several high readings one day I was the sickest. Im taking the 60mg not sure when I started need to check with my dr. I ran out of prescription and couldn't afford to refill. I was getting headaches every day. Noticed 1day tremors. Was very emotional and moody for almost a week, I thought it was due to stress and my husban[Show More]My Blood Pressure was extremely high 177/111. I have it saved on my machine several high readings one day I was the sickest. Im taking the 60mg not sure when I started need to check with my dr. I ran out of prescription and couldn't afford to refill. I was getting headaches every day. Noticed 1day tremors. Was very emotional and moody for almost a week, I thought it was due to stress and my husband starting Chemo. I was sick with a bad headache, nausea and high blood pressure on 8/24/15 left work for the doctor. Ekg test fine,Found out my doctor said it was caused by stopping abruptly Cymbalta. It was the side effects.Would you be able to include me in this? Thank You, Pamela

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