10.07.2016

Eli Lilly settles Cymbalta withdrawal lawsuits

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This update on the Cymbalta lawsuit settlement was first published on NationalPainReport.com. It is being  republished here with permission from the editor. 

Eli Lilly and Company has settled hundreds of lawsuits involving patients who claim the drugmaker was not forthcoming about the severity of Cymbalta's withdrawal symptoms.

Drugmaker Eli Lilly and Company has quietly settled hundreds of personal injury lawsuits involving patients who claim they experienced withdrawal symptoms while quitting Cymbalta.

When asked for an update on the cases, Robin McCall, media relations director for Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman, P.C., one of the firms handling the cases, wrote in an email, “All we can say is that the suit has been resolved.”

Lilly is also tight-lipped about the settlement, but provided the following written statement:

“Eli Lilly and Company has reached a comprehensive resolution of all personal injury lawsuits alleging symptoms from discontinuing Lilly’s medication, Cymbalta. Lilly has defended these cases vigorously and has won every case to reach a decision on the merits, including defense verdicts in every trial. To avoid continued legal costs, Lilly reached a resolution with plaintiffs in the remaining cases. Lilly remains committed to Cymbalta and its safety and benefits, which have been repeatedly affirmed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.”

No additional details on the settlement were provided.

More than 200 patients were suing Lilly, claiming the drugmaker didn’t fully disclose the severity of Cymbalta’s withdrawal symptoms. The plaintiffs in the cases said they experienced headaches, dizziness, nausea, nightmares, anxiety, mania, suicidal ideation, brain zaps (which feel like a lightning bolt going off inside the head) and other symptoms after they stopped taking Cymbalta.

Cymbalta is one of three drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat fibromyalgia. It’s also used for depression, anxiety, diabetic neuropathy and certain kinds of chronic pain.

As early as 2005, research indicated a high rate of what medical professionals call “adverse events” when patients stopped taking Cymbalta. This Lilly study found that 44 percent of patients involved in several short-term trials had “adverse events” when they suddenly stopped taking duloxetine (the generic name for Cymbalta). The most common withdrawal symptoms cited were dizziness, nausea, headache, paresthesia (tingling/numbness, usually in the limbs), vomiting, irritability and nightmares. About 10 percent of these patients had “severe” withdrawal symptoms.

A longer and larger Lilly trial involving 1,279 patients found that 50 percent of patients experienced withdrawal symptoms.

The crux of Baum Hedlund’s case involved Lilly’s physicians’ prescribing guide for Cymbalta, which says 1 percent or more of patients discontinuing the drug may experience side effects including dizziness, headache, nausea, diarrhea, paresthesia, irritability, vomiting, insomnia, anxiety, hyperhidrosis and fatigue.

While the “1 percent or greater” figure is technically accurate, Baum Hedlund argued it far understated Cymbalta’s true rate of withdrawal symptoms.

“The label gives the impression that withdrawal is a rare event (somewhere around 1 percent) when in fact it is common (at least 44-50 percent),” said Baum Hedlund in an earlier interview. “We think Lilly played with semantics and the system in choosing its wording – it chose wording to minimize the risk while at the same time using language such as “or greater” as a “CYA” [cover your ass] measure. We believe the label is misleading, plain and simple. The testimony of the prescribing doctors in these cases proves it – they believed the risk was rare.”

Despite the discrepancy, Baum Hedlund had been unsuccessful at convincing a judge or jury that Lilly knowingly misled doctors and patients. Four cases heard in various federal courts last year ended in Lilly’s favor.

The lawsuits may be settled, but Cymbalta users are still dealing with the fallout of the drug’s withdrawal symptoms. The design and dosages of Cymbalta’s capsules make it challenging for patients to wean off slowly over time. Capsules come in 20mg, 30mg and 60mg strengths, meaning patients sometimes have to cut their doses in half while weaning. For some patients, that’s just too much of a reduction at one time.

In desperation, some patients are quitting Cymbalta by dumping out the contents of the capsules and then counting the tiny balls every day in an effort to slowly reduce their dosage over time.

Note: A couple of readers have questioned the number of plaintiffs I’ve cited in this article (i.e. “more than 200 patients”). When reporting on this story, the attorneys and Eli Lilly would not disclose the number of plaintiffs involved in the settlement. Because of that, I used the figure “more than 200,” which the attorneys had confirmed in a previous article. One reader who is a plaintiff in the case has said thousands of patients are involved in this settlement, but I cannot confirm the accuracy of that statement. 

You might also like …

My Cymbalta lawsuits resources page includes everything you need to know about the lawsuits, including news stories, support groups and much more!

Hundreds of former Cymbalta users are suing Eli Lilly & Company, claiming the drugmaker didn’t fully disclose the severity and frequency of the drug’s withdrawal symptoms. Find out what you need to know about the lawsuits here.

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Comments

  1. I was on Cymbalta for over 10yrs and when I started symptoms of electricity running thru my head I went to the Dr. and asked what was causing it. He looked at me as if I was nuts and just shrugged. Sent me for an MRI and it came back normal. When they started coming more and more and stronger I researched the internet and found out they were called brain zaps, and Cymbalta was more than likely the problem. Went back to the Dr. and explained that what I was having were called brain zaps and I wanted off the Cymbalta and asked how to get off of it safely, his suggestion was to give me a different drug. So back to the internet I went. This time I found a gentleman who figured a way for himself to get off Cymbalta without almost any side effects. I followed him steps, it took almost 6 months to get off of it but I did. The only symptoms I was homicidal, suicidal, headaches, nausea, facial tremors. My daughter took a yr off of work to babysit me because they were afraid to leave me alone. No I am left with the outbursts (getting better, but oh I can be nasty for no reason), my vision in bad, facial tremors, and headaches. I tried at the time to find a lawyer to take my case against Lilly but no one would and I was told there was no class action cases anywhere. My life has never been the same and my quality of life is terrible. Dr. only suggestion everyone gets older and gets aches and pains and problems you just have to live with it. Why do I have to live with these problems I didn’t ask for them. I thought this drug was supposed to give me quality of life not take it away. If anyone knows of any lawyers willing to take on new clients please let me know

  2. Cover-up says:

    I to am in this so called lawsuit there is something shady going on here no one will give any Info what so ever. Have called a number of times to get updates on what is happening Garth refuses to give any info on my case.they were to review your case with you before submitting it to the court never happened and the move u question them they just drop your case.here is what I have found GO back and read all your letters from the attorneys u will see them promising to go after pain and suffering,lost of earnings ,future medical care, when ask about this they say if we are lucky we might get a few thousand dollars that it.they changed the outcome of your case without any ok or communication from any of their claimants.these law firms r doing what ever they want with out any regard to us people that have suffered from what Eli Lilly has done to us.I highly recommend everyone in this lawsuit to contact a malpractice attorney asap and see about suing your attorney .also start calling your state attorney General office and the state bar and let them know what’s going on here.question what is happening who is this court appointed person who is going to evaluate your case.how come when asked about a medical examiner to review your case how come they didn’t have u see one.future medical coverage they don’t know what cymbalta will do to you 10 20 years from now.lost earning can’t no longer work because of what cymbalta did to me. It’s time to hold your attorneys accountable for what they are NOT doing for you or your case. THEY IS SOMETHING GOING ON HERE

    • Jeannie says:

      I am also part of the Cymbalta lawsuit. I don’t understand the silence regarding the settlement. I have spoken to the para legal several times that is in charge of my case and cannot get any answers except that they hoped to have it all settled by the end of 2016 and that the cases were very difficult to sort out. It seems there should be some updates to those involved in the lawsuit and settlement. I don’t know what to expect except that I am still taking Cymbalta because the side effects of not taking the Cymbalta every day are so painful and horrific.

      • East Coast says:

        Jeannie, I agree with you. In my lawsuit there are over 1,000 people and no one knows what the settlement amount was at the time of the settlement.
        There really needs to be an over sight ,someone needs to monitor if all the people are treated fairly.
        I am sure the lawyers will be paid well,and so should the people who brought about this suit.
        The drug company is still making Billions off this drug,we should be compensated well for our pain and suffering.Time will tell I guess.

  3. Cynthia Manca says:

    I was told by I had to be off Cymbalta 120mg/day in order to have autonomic testing done, scheduled for 2/7/17. I have been on this medication for at least 10 years for symptoms of Fibromyalgia/Lupus. I went to Dr. who prescribed Rx to me on 1/19/17 was given instruction on taper which would end Rx on 1/31/17. Mind you, I have been on the highest dosage. Eli Lillie does not even have a “safe tapering off procedure” based on patient current dosage or length of time on the Rx. I ended up in ER on 2/6/17 due to extreme dizziness/headache, intermediate “hammering sound” in head, very high BP, diarrhea, dehydration. I was unable to get testing done on 2/7/17 due to meclizine med. I had to reschedule for 3/14/17. ER doctor did not recognize that I was in withdrawal from Cymbalta! It was my GYN Dr, on Monday, who I’ve been seeing for years, who noticed how bad I looked & thought of “withdrawal syndrome”. What outrages me the most is that prescribing Dr didn’t even tell me I could have these symptoms. Now they want me to start retaking this poison 30mg taper before 3/14/17 testing. They can kiss my ass. I am not going to put any more of this poison in my body in spite of still going though this hell.

    • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says:

      Hi Cynthia, unfortunately many physicians are not aware of the withdrawal issues with Cymbalta. I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through this.

  4. Holy moley I wish I had known about this lawsuit, I had the absolute worst time with getting off Cymbalta. I originally was prescribed it by my neurologist to help with pain and nerve damage from a neck injury. I stopped taking (weaned) off it early 2015 I think, because I felt it wasn’t helping anymore. Even weaning off as slowly as possible, it took *months* for the zaps to go away, along with all other awful physical pain, feelings & emotions. During this time I had to work a full-time job, and take care of a little boy by myself. So fast forward to mid-2016 I’m 45yo at the time – I am diagnosed with Fibro, but I’ll be damned if I take another Rx like Cymbalta. I’m working towards as much natural stuff as possible. Its not easy. I’m hoping to find a dr on my UHC plan that can treat for Fibro and offer alternative options for pain relief. Thanks for keeping us updated and I hope your days is as pain-free as possible 🙂

  5. Just got off cymbalta after 5 years withdrawals was horrible. It’s a shame something has to be that difficult to be set free from. I was on 60 mg and weened down but had to result in opening the capsules and counting the tiny white balls inside crying over the kitchen counter if one fell on the floor. This drug withdrawal is too much I have never any type of problem getting off other medication like cymbalta. Also, if you took this medication you need your liver levels tested it effects the liver. The withdrawal process took over 6 months.

    • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says:

      I’m so sorry you had to go through that, Lisa, but I’m happy that you were finally able to get off of it successfully.

  6. I have been DUMPED by my attorneys (Baum Hedland) now that the suit has been settled, I feel the lawyers are just discarding any plaintiffs they can in order to increase their share and get rid of the people who have been suffering and deserve the compensation. I chose one law firm when there were many who were involved and now no one will talk to me since the suit is settled. I feel I have been unfairly excluded and if there are any attorneys who are starting a new group of plaintiffs for another class action can anyone please contact me and let me know? My email is lasvegasjo8@aol.com I have all my documentation because Baum Hedland did absolutely nothing to help me get my info together. All of us plaintiffs who have been left out and pushed to the side need to get together and pursue another suit against Eli Lilly mostly because they are STILL peddling their poison CYMBALTA to more people which is unacceptable.

    • East Coast says:

      Jo Murry, Sorry to hear that a law firm dropped you. Did they say what their reason was?Was you on Cymbalta for awhile,and did they ask for your pharmacy records. I am in a law suit too,and my lawyers told me it was settled too,I am just wondering if all the law firms will do the same. I am sure there is a $$$ amount they said they would pay,so why are they dropping people.I done some research online and as far as I can tell the judge put a stay on the settlement until November,I am guessing that is to verify every ones case,but these cases should be handled one by one so I am told.

      • I was told in Nov I would hear back within a few weeks and I could decide to take offer and sign papers . That it would be March with an amount .Last contact I was told know nothing! Now may ! It’s 2:10 am if I get started I will be up all night running my fingers! I’ve lived 5 yrs of hell and as of today unable to take any type of meds for fibromyalgia ,depression …. ECT not even meds I took with no problem before this ratt.ass.posion ! I feel for everyone of you ,my 💓 bleeds for you all . I have so many medical records and seen so many Dr.s trying to get off this .My insurance Co stopped paying . Dr.said it’s not the cymbalta keep taking. Finally went to a urgent care for help .It took me at least 2 years before I started having somewhat normal days . And no Im still not right at all . Iam trapped inside my body and can’t get out . Ok enough for now . I will be back soon lots of questions and answers I would love to share with anyone. Its been over 5 years I still have a hell of a time talking about this. While coming off this . I took care of my Grandparents who had sundowners and and other medical problems what few good days they had here and there should have been a joy for me .. OMG !

  7. People if you all think your gonna get thousands of dollars from this your sadly mistaken ! you know how these law suits go ! the dam lawyers get most of it and we the ones that went thru hell will get the crumbs ! in all honesty instead of joining a class action suit you would have been better off getting your own lawyer ! good luck to everyone ! and stay alive because we need you and care about you ! BK.

  8. I have been on Cymbalta for eleven years. It was given to me because I have fibromyalgia and it actually did help the pain for a while. I was taking it with WellButrin because I was having depression after a lot of things that had happened in my life. I actually did get into this lawsuit back in 2012, but am still waiting to receive the settlement papers for review. I have spoken several times with the girl who is handling my case and she always tells me it is settled but it will take a long time to get everything done. I worked for a law firm for 30 years, but it never took us this long to close cases after settlement, but I guess they do it different in other states.

    I lost my job in 2012 and could not afford the medicine. At the time, with no insurance, my amount would be $600 for 30 pills. I just did not have the money to buy them, so I told my doctor I was going off them. He never said anything to me about not going off them. I started having brain zaps so bad that I had to go to the hospital once because I passed out after a brain zap and did not remember even my name for about 8 hours. In a week’s time of not taking cymbalta, I began to be very angry and would get mad and scream. I would just sit and cry for hours for no reason. I had a lot of anxiety after losing my job because I applied for over 100 jobs and did not get hired anywhere.

    I told my sister that I felt so strange — like I was someone else. I hated myself and everyone around me. I told her I just wanted to die and I really did. I took a handful of Xanax but all I did was sleep. I just say that it wasn’t my time to go. I ached all over and sometimes the pain was unbearable and I could hardly get out of bed. I was so tired and began to be late for work each morning (not more than a few minutes). I would start having stomach pains and then would throw up for 30 minutes or longer.

    I was another person during this time and then one day I saw a commercial on t.v. talking about withdrawal symptoms from using Cymbalta and it all came to light. I knew where all of this was coming from. I went to my doctor and he began giving me samples until I got back on the medication and was feeling like I should. But now, my feet and legs are numb and tingle all the time; it hurts when I walk; I have pain in our shoulders and down my arms. I have pain running from my arm down through my back and my legs. I am getting really bad headaches and my memory is clouded. There are times that I have to just sit and think about what I started to say. I have never been like this before. I could not sleep and being out of work caused me to stay up all night. Then at 5:00 a.m. I would get up and go without sleep and it never phased me, except that I did feel fatigued.

    What I have gone through is the worst thing I have ever dealt with. I have been on this medicine now so long that I believe it is causing the problems I am now having. This medicine is just no good for us and I have to make him take me off of this. My doctor just recently put me on two pills a day for a total of 120 mgs. per day and now I am having all these symptoms again even while I am taking the medicine.

    I feel they owe all of us something who have had to deal with this. No one ever told me about these withdrawal symptoms and if they had I would not have suffered from all the pain and other problems I had. I just hope this matter is finalized soon.

  9. Mariam vangas says:

    I was on cymbalta 60mg for 3 1/2 years I was tappered down to 30mg last month and this month nothing I have been feeling Brain zaps, zaps on my body every time I move, my heart is racing really bad, headache, diarhea, dizzy, very bad mood, can’t mentally function. I am very scared and heard about the law-suit class settlement and wanted to know how to get involved Any info please contact me.. thank you

    • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says:

      The current lawsuit has been settled and there is no way to join it at this point. You could pursue your own case w/ a personal injury attorney. I’m so sorry you’re having to go through this. 🙁

  10. East Coast says:

    Cymbalta Settlement Amount
    I am in one of those settlements,but my law firm won’t tell me what the settlement amount was.
    I search the internet everyday to try to find out what the big amount was to divide between all the law firms and people ,but can’t find out.So I called my law firm the other day and they said the lawsuit is settled,but it may take up to a year to find out what I get.So this is my question,the drug company agrees to let a judge (of there choosing) decide on what to give each person,so how do we know if the judge just tries to give little amount and give the rest back to the drug company,I mean since no one but the drug company and the judge that was appointed by the drug company knows the $$$ amount of the settlement?Also ,if anyone has already got a settlement and wants to give us a heads up,just don’t give your real name. I just hate to wait around for a year expecting a big amount and end the end only get $5.00. Thank you for your time.

  11. Eleanor Curry says:

    Husband was on Cymbalta and had hallucinations we stopped it and the hallucinations stop also. he was given this for nurophathy. he was on it for about 3 weeks when upped it from 30mg to 60mg.
    so bad we had the police over 3 times in 2 days due to the hallucinations.

  12. I have tried to get off it and was suicidal. Still taking it. I tried to be part of this lawsuit but no response from anyone;-(

  13. Deb Helms says:

    How do we get to be a part of this lawsuit? I went through a month of withdrawals from stopping Cymbalta.

    • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says:

      This particular lawsuit is settled. You’d need to research and see if there are other attorneys who are pursuing a case.

      • B. Brown says:

        I’m in the lawsuit that’s settle and its over 6,000 plantiffs involved!! Do anyone know of a Cymbalta lawsuit for being on it for more then 8yrs. And developing fatty tumors from it ive had 20 tumors removed from using Cymbalta and the doctor told my sister he saw plenty more!!!! Its not much money involved at all very dissappointed for sure!! With all my sever suffering!!!!

        • Deneen Johnson says:

          I have fatty tumors also, I’ve been on Cymbalta for 4 years now trying to taper off. The tumors are painful and are mostly in my abdomen my doctor told me that they were Lipomas. My first appointment for a surgeon is this Tuesday

        • M. Williams says:

          Hello I was just wondering what was the amount they settled with. Excuse I was told that they did each case as individual cases? And how long do it usually takes before you hear something back because I am part of the law suit but have not heard any news other than what I’m reading on here! Please if you can shed some light for me.

          • M. Williams says:

            Is there anymore information on the settlement?

          • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says:

            I have been told Baum Hedlund clients have been contacted and asked to supply medical documents. I haven’t heard anything re: the other law firms involved.

        • K M MacDonald says:

          I am waiting for my “settlement letter” for the Personal Injury lawsuit that was settled in early October 2016

          I was advised all my records have went to a judge for review and determination of my settlement amount after using Cymbalta since it’s inception. The records went to the judge on October 17, 2016. I was told I would receive a “letter” in December. I was also told that there were 3000 members in this suit total.
          I, too, have developed lipomas all over my body in which I never even claimed.

          • I feel your pain! Yes I had a mass tumor removed from my eye then later another eye sugury. My eye Dr. Called my Dr. Telling. him to get me off the carp. I went to my Dr. Over and over with complaints side effects..lol was told its not the CYMBALTA keep taking it. it was and still is to this day living hell a nighmare! I would lay in bed and hear ballroom music didn’t have to be in bed to hear it .sounded like a jet taking off in my head and other times like a race car NASCAR was live in my head the cars going around in my head hundreds of miles an hour. I couldn’t function I couldn’t cook without burning something . putting things in cabinet that should go into fridge. My dad was serious telling me I needed a helmet.I was bumping into the ways. Then I finally went to another Dr. To be out on something to try to get off of it. That’s when it really got bad! I have fibromyalgia and had taken antidepressants for years with no problems. To this day I can’t take anything ! So I fight depression and fibro everyday with nothing . there were days I would go to shower two hours later I’m still sitting on toilet seat not in shower yet. I would hear and yes to me it was real in middle of night when i could sleep someone knocking on door calling my name I would get up answer door but never anyone there.This is only a small bit of what I went through I could go on and on. But something tells me you know the story and have been there as well. Its really screwed muy life up took years from my life helped cause me. To loose a 25 yr self employed business ,as well as my home. I can’t focus today i feel like I’m trapped inside my body and can’t get out. I thank God for Donna who gives me hope reading I’m not a nut case with fibromyalgia she rocks and gets me throughout a lot of shitty fibromyalgia days ! I wish you all the best with your problems caused from Cymbalta. Your in my prayers . I went thought this caring for both my Grandparents their last 2 years of their lives . it breaks my ❤ I was in another world and should have been cherishing the time I had left with them. And my living father I wouldn’t never made it without him ! He would help me count the beedstrying to come off it….. I could write a book. It was and stil is to unreal for anyone to have to live that .my medical records just for the Dr.who put me on the medication was unreal in numbers .MY insurance co stopped paying for my visits.They just wouldn’t listen ..”keep taking it Its not the CYMBALTA ” as I said this is just a very small part of what I went thru! Good luck and God bless you .it’s got to get better one day .

          • Oops on the typos … My loving father! I’m sure you will find more …lol But will figure it out. Sorry I get ahead of myself when talking about this very upsetting at times .

          • I am waiting for the same letter. It has been a substantial amount of time now. Been involved in this suit for nearly 2 years. Waiting for a judge still several months later.

  14. Michele says:

    When there was miscommunication between myself and verbal pharmacy instructions I inadvertently double the maximum dose for one month. Then when the insurance denied my refill and I had to wait for special refill approval after explaining the circumstances, I went without Cymbalta for about a week to a week and a half. While I didn’t incur the brain zaps, the mania I experienced was surreal. It was a roller coaster of varying emotions from rage, melancholy, depressed, suicidal, self-assured and others…then through the emotions, almost split personalities, if you will. I had memory loss from several manic episodes and this withdrawal cost me an almost 6 year relationship. The symptoms started in less than 72 hours. I had no physical symptoms like nausea or shaking. Mine was all in my brain and I really didn’t fully comprehend what was happening at the time, though I realized I was in WD.
    Within two weeks, I could not walk across a room without sitting down to catch my breath. In three weeks I lost nearly 20 lbs without changing anything. Each week the breathing got worse, my heart would race. By the time I was finally referred to a heart doctor, I thought I was about to die. He finally determined I had a heart murmur I likely had from childbirth (unbeknownst to my mother or myself) – I was 45 at this time. After all tests he ran were coming back clear, finally the ultrasound picked something up. He caqlled it hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. He told me no exercise. (What dr tells you that?!?) I repeated that. He said exercise can kill you now. What?!? I had developed the same things those young, healthy athletes that drop dead after a game die from. He said the cause was lkiely from medication. I immediately considered the Cymbalta, but he said he could be specific (I also have MS in addition to fibro and have been on many meds for several years now). However, in my heart, I believe it was too coincidental for those symptoms to have started just a couple of weeks after the accidental overdosing, thanks in part to a drug store I no longer use, for it not to be related,
    Has anyone else experienced heart issues while using Cymbalta…I doubt many have done the same as I and taken too much for an entire month, but curious just the same.

  15. Eileen Rubert says:

    How do I become part of this law suit?

    • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says:

      You’d need to find an attorney who is not part of the settlement and/or who will take your case.

  16. I think drs hand out these drugs aren’t truely educated on the side effect. I have tremors since being on anti depressants- dr said, well your grandma probably had that— no she did not. Later I found out it was because of drugs. Then the brain zaps — Oh my goodness. I won’t try their new drugs either.

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