Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jun 19, 2018

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Eli Lilly and Company, manufacturer of the anti-depressant Cymbalta, has come under fire recently for downplaying potentially dangerous and addictive side effects of Cymbalta in warning labels and marketing campaigns.  Recently studies by the FDA and lawsuits against the manufacturer, have indicated that not due users of Cymbalta face increased risk of addiction and difficult withdrawal, but that manufacturer Eli Lilly and Company was aware of the risks and did not provide adequate warning.

What is Cymbalta?

Cymbalta is a drug manufactured by Eli Lilly and Company that is sold to combat depression and anxiety.  Approved by the FDA in 2004, Cymbalta has been used to treat Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), General Anxiety Disorder, fibromyalgia, and musculoskeletal pain.  Eli Lilly and Company is work to have Cymbalta approved to treat Chronic Fatigue Syndrome as well.

Eli Lilly and Company promotes Cymbalta directly to consumers via TV advertisements and informational pamphlets, highlighting the drug’s treatment of depression with the marketing slogan: “Depression Hurts.  Cymbalta can help.”  According to Eli Lilly’s quarterly reporting, Cymbalta sales have generated billions of dollars each year, including $4.16 billion in 2011.

Cymbalta Side Effects Revealed in FDA Study and Clinical Trials

Cymbalta, designed and marketed as an anti-depressant, has been linked to withdrawal symptoms that cause harmful side effects.  Reported physical and emotional side effects of Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Severe nausea
  • Full body shaking
  • Extreme tunnel vision
  • Suicidal inclination
  • Insomnia
  • Seizures
  • Weight gain
  • Mood swings and frequent anger

Cymbalta’s withdrawal side effects can vary in frequency and intensity, and are not limited to the above list.  In ability to cease use of Cymbalta without experiencing side effects has been reported in 40 – 50% of the patients studied by the FDA, and up to 51% of patients in clinical trials conducted by Eli Lilly before release of Cymbalta.  The FDA study and Lilly clinical trials found that these side effects can become moderate or severe in up to 30% of Cymbalta users.

For additional reading on the side effects of Cymbalta withdrawal, click here.

Lawsuit Against Eli Lilly Alleges Deceptive Marketing Practices

According to recent allegations against Eli Lilly, users of Cymbalta have not been properly warned of the potentially severe and dangerous side effects.   Cymbalta has been aggressively marketed as a treatment for ongoing depression and anxiety, however, the withdrawal symptoms have not been fully disclosed by the drug’s manufacturer. 

A lawsuit filed in October, 2012 contends that Eli Lilly was aware of the increased risk of withdrawal symptoms prior to marketing Cymbalta, but downplayed risks to mislead consumers and medical professionals who used the drug.  Plaintiffs experiencing Cymbalta withdrawal argue that Lilly’s warning label drastically under reports the number of users who have experienced symptoms, and is designed to hide the true risk of side effects in an effort to promote use of the drug.  Eli Lilly has also been accused of:

  • Selectively publicizing results of clinical trials to downplay side effects of Cymbalta withdrawal
  • Publishing literature that over exaggerates the effectiveness of Cymbalta
  • Misleading consumers with advertising campaigns that failed to mention risks
  • Exploiting Cymbalta’s habit-forming effects to sell more product

For more information about the allegations against Eli Lilly and Company, click here.