September 15, 2014 — reports that Eli Lilly & Co. has asked federal judges to deny a motion to centralize 28 lawsuits involving Cymbalta (duloxetine).

In August, plaintiffs’ attorneys asked the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation (JPML) to centralize the cases in federal court in California, where 10 lawsuits are already filed. The rest are dispersed throughout the United States, in Maryland, Georgia, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and more. Click here to read more.

Eli Lilly argued that centralization is not appropriate because withdrawal is a “well-recognized” side effect of antidepressants, and plaintiffs’ attorneys will have a “formidable task” convincing a jury that doctors were not aware of the risk.

Eli Lilly also stated that only “a small number of actions” have been filed, and there are too few cases to justify centralization at the federal level. Furthermore:

“The MDL procedures should not be utilized to create a ‘field of dreams’ that attracts a swath of meritless claims that can be shielded from individualized discovery under the Federal Rules.”

The lawsuits were filed by people who experienced severe withdrawal symptoms after discontinuing Cymbalta. They claim that Eli Lilly has failed to warn about the frequency and severity of withdrawal, which Lilly’s own clinical studies estimated occurred in 44-50% of patients. The label on Cymbalta states that withdrawal occurs in “greater than or equal to 1%” of patients.

Withdrawal symptoms may include electric-shock sensations in the brain, known as “brain zaps,” which may be a form of paresthesia. Other commonly-reported symptoms include nausea, vertigo, dizziness, nightmares, diarrhea, psychiatric problems, irritability, and more. In some cases, patients had to continue taking Cymbalta because they were unable to endure the withdrawal symptoms.

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