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First Trial Underway in Cymbalta Withdrawal Litigation

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August 5, 2015 — Eli Lilly & Co. has been accused of downplaying the risk of severe withdrawal from its antidepressant Cymbalta in the first federal case to go to trial, according to Reuters.

Lawyers for plaintiff Claudia Herrera said Eli Lilly’s own studies showed that 44% of patients who stopped Cymbalta experienced withdrawal, of which 10% were classified as “severe.”

However, the label only warns that withdrawal occurs at a rate “greater than or equal to 1%” with symptoms like nausea, irritability, insomnia, sensory disturbances, and seizures.

In opening statements, Herrera’s attorneys said she had previously tried other antidepressants, but stopped them quickly due to side effects or ineffectiveness. She was prescribed Cymbalta in 2006 and continued taking it for the next five years.

The Indianapolis Business Journal reports that Herrera had debilitating withdrawal symptoms, including electric-shock sensations many victims refer to as “brain zaps.” Other symptoms included dizziness, nausea, anxiety, and suicidal ideation for over a year after she stopped Cymbalta.

Hundreds of lawsuits accuse Eli Lilly of failing to adequately warn patients about withdrawal or how to minimize the risk, but they have not been centralized at the federal level. Some lawsuits claim patients felt like they were “hooked” because withdrawal symptoms were so severe they could not stop Cymbalta, according to Law360.

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