Drug-Maker Wins First Cymbalta Withdrawal Trial


August 7, 2015 — Eli Lilly & Co. has been cleared of wrongdoing by a California federal jury in the first “bellwether” trial involving withdrawal side effects of Cymbalta.

The plaintiff, Claudia Herrera, is one of about 250 people who sued Eli Lilly after experiencing severe withdrawal.

Law360 reports that attorneys for Eli Lilly argued that Herrera’s case failed for three reasons:

  • She couldn’t prove the drug-maker concealed risk information
  • She might have used Cymbalta regardless of knowing the risk
  • She missed a doctor’s appointment that would have helped her gradually taper off the dosage

Cymbalta is an antidepressant that has been on the market since 2004. In Eli Lilly’s own studies, 44.4% of patients who stopped Cymbalta experienced withdrawal symptoms, and 10% of cases were “severe.”

However, the label only warns that “greater than or equal to 1%” of patients experience withdrawal. It gives no recommendations for gradually tapering off the dosage to minimize withdrawal symptoms.

Symptoms of withdrawal include nausea, irritability, insomnia, sensory disturbances, seizures, anxiety, suicidal ideation, and more. Many victims also describe electric-shock sensations as “brain zaps,” and claim withdrawal was so severe they had to keep taking Cymbalta.

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