Group Recommends Cymbalta Not Be Used Due to Risks, Minimal Benefits

  • Written by: Staff Writers

The prominent consumer group Public Citizen indicates that the antidepressant Cymbalta should not be taken for any of the approved uses, as there no evidence that the benefits outweigh the risk of serious and potentially life-threatening side effects associated with the medication.

In the June 2012 issue of the group’s Worst Pills, Best Pills Newsletter, Public Citizen classified Cymbalta as a “Do Not Use” medication.

While the group previously concluded that Cymbalta should not be used for major depressive disorder (MDD), it now indicates that it should not be used for treatment of any form of depression, as well as all other uses for which it has been approved by the FDA, such as generalized anxiety or any form of pain, including fibromyalgia.

Cymbalta (duloxetine) was introduced by Eli Lilly in 2004, and has grown to become a widely used antidepressant. In 2010, more than 14.5 million prescriptions for Cymbalta were written, generating sales in excess of $2.6 billion.

Public Citizen indicates that the success of the medication can not attributed to any solid evidence that Cymbalta is better than other antidepressants, but rather was caused by agressive marketing strategies by the drug maker.

Side effects of Cymbalta have been linked to a number of serious adverse events, including a risk of suicide, suicidal thoughts, dangerous drug interactions, increased risk of bleeding, liver failure and serotonin syndrome, which is a potentially life-threatening condition that may cause changes in mental status, motor abnormalities, cardiovascular changes and gastrointestinal problems.

In 2004, the FDA forced the manufacturers of Cymbalta and other antidepressants to add a “black box” warning about the increased risk of suicidal thoughts or tendencies associated with use of the medication, which is the strongest warning that can be placed on a prescription medication.

In their report, Public Citizen raises questions about the effectiveness of Cymbalta and other medications used to treat depression, pointing to research that has found the differences in behavior between individuals using antidepressants and those taking placebos to be minimal or nonexistent.

“Research is beginning to reveal that there may be effective alternatives to antidepressant drugs,” wrote Public Citizen in the newsletter, pointing to studies that have concluded that exercise training and other activities may be equally effective as medication in reducing depression.

Public Citizen has recommended that their readers not use Cymbalta, but indicates that no medication should be discontinued without consulting the prescribing physician. The group recommends gradual discontinuation of Cymbalta under medical supervision, and urges users to seek immediate medical treatment if they experience symptoms of Cymbalta side effects, such as liver toxicity, serotonin syndrome or neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS).

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  1. Leonardo Reply

    Thank God that UR family heelpd you realize you are worth it. I wanted to thank u for sharing your story. I too suffer from depression. Still working on proper Meds. Cymbalta at 120mg day helps but costs 400/mo. Canada has a generic I get for about 75/mo.Doc started me on a new drug Viibryd a few days ago. No generic available! I’m afraid it will cost a fortune but if it helps, (so far, so good) it is money well spent. I spend 35 2x a mo. For pysch drug mgmt and 70/wk for therapist.Have you contacted the pharm maker? I used to get prevacid for 25 instead of 50 for my ulcers b 4 they went OTC. Got a few coupons from the Cymbaltapeople so don’t give up trying to find those discounts. The CA pharm I use is called Big Mountain. Good luck.

  2. Helen Reply

    I am unable to get off Cymbalta, due to the ferocious and debilitating withdrawal symptoms. This drug IS addictive, and a warning must be issued to that effect.

  3. Leonor Reply

    I’ve been on Cymbalta at least from 2008 to know. In February 2014 I’ve been weening myself of 90 mg a day to one every 5 days. It the 2nd time the first time the crying felt like I was dying agitated night sweats leaving bed drench my clothes stuck to me. I was always so hot. In July 2013 it got so bad I had a friend Mike Negro take me to St.Josephs to see if they could help me. I was scared crying agitated . They couldn’t no insurance I came home I had my china cabinet cleaned out & on formal dining table. There were my fine China Waterford stem wear & so many antique dishes I collected & loved. I just felt so overwhelmed I took my hand and one swipe broke every precious thing I owned. Nothing I couldn’t replace. But it will be years to I can. I cried couldn’t stop didn’t know what was going on. My friends said you need to get out of the house I couldn’t . I was a life but not there. I’m having problems with my breathing, heart & blood work. Being tested in the next few weeks. I need help I have pharmacy records Drs. Records hospital records & witnesses

  4. Raccheli Reply

    The damage that cymbalta has done and is still doing to me and my family can’t be fixed and that really scares me everyday it is such a struggle just to wake up I don’t remember the last time I felt glad to be alive life is to short to feel so sick all the time I took it for three years and when I quit I could have never imagine what hell I t would throw me into my daughter was even severely burned trying to cook for herself because I physicley could not get out of bed and that was a month after I quit I have had to start taking another antidepressant it was never this bad before I started these death wish drugs I have my records from pharmacy just in case

  5. melissa Reply

    went to detox nearly 2 years ago to get off pain meds..about 2 weeks ago i decided that cymbalta was not helping my fibromyalgia and i stopped taking it….after going through detox being on any drug is contrary to how i now want to live..pharmaceuticals are poison so why am i taking cymbalta?? little did i know the side effects i would suffer…i feel like i am going a little crazy and my anger is boiling up..i feel confused and scared…having vision problems, headaches and terrible sweats..i just now did some research and it seems i am Fu*%@(…i am so angry that after getting off opiates i now have to deal with a cymbalta withdrawal…i think i should sue eli lilly AND the dr.who prescribed the cymbalta since he knew my struggle to get off pain medications..i am really pissed off….i recently moved and do not even have a doctor where i am to consult..

  6. Misty Reply

    I have stopped taking it over a month ago …. due to it just not working right anymore. I have done nothing but suffer since getting off of it !!!

  7. Patricia Reply

    I was prescribed Cymbalta in Oct. 2012. I began to experience vomiting, fainting and extreme fatigue resulting in sleeping for up to 15 hours without providing any energy. When I became jaundice, a liver enzyme test was done; which indicated a spike of my ALT and AST enzymes triple the normal level. I continued to have abdominal pain and was eventually hospitalized. During my hospitalization in addition to acute liver failure I was also diagnosed with pancreatitis. At that time I was a very light drinker, having one or two beers on Friday after work. My liver function was also in a normal range prior to taking Cymbalta. A direct correlation that Cymbalta was the direct cause of my acute liver failure was determined by my Primary Care Physician, Psychiatrist, ER Physicians and Hospitalist. Many of the physicians agree that the traumatic injury to my liver effected my pancreas. I know have chronic pancreatitis that has been detrimental to my health and financial responsibilities to my family, daily financial responsibilities and future financial obligations and concerns for a means to retire.
    I searched for an attorney nationwide to help me with this negligence by Eli Lilly to take responsibility for the devastating side effects caused by Cymbalta. The FDA has enacted a black box warning due to the seriousness of acute liver failure and liver toxicity.
    I was unable to find one attorney to help me due to the vast rise of class action lawsuits for a withdraw symptom causing brain zaps.
    My present health has declined due to Cymbalta; which will have a highly negative health response for the remainder of my life.
    I was 50 years old at the time of the incidence and I am now 56 years of age, female, non drinker, no drug addictions.
    Someone please help me!
    Thank you,

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