11.23.2015

A timeline of the Cymbalta lawsuits

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This is Part 3 of an ongoing series on the Cymbalta withdrawal lawsuits. It includes a timeline of the cases that have gone to court so far and their outcomes. I’ve included links to news stories on the cases wherever possible. Unfortunately, the mainstream media hasn’t paid much attention to the Cymbalta lawsuits, so many of the links come from Law360, a subscription-based legal news service. For readers who really want to delve into the details of these cases, I would suggest signing up for a free trial of Law360 and then brewing a big pot of tea or coffee because you’ll be reading for a few hours. 

Part 2 of the series includes an interview with Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman, PC, one of the law firms representing thousands of patients who have been affected by Cymbalta’s withdrawal symptoms. Part 1 of the series addresses the basics of the Cymbalta lawsuits: What are the withdrawal symptoms, what does the research say about them, why were the lawsuits brought and helpful information for anyone planning to stop Cymbalta. As always, I’ll post any breaking news related to the lawsuits in my weekly news updates.

To make things easy, I’ve created a page dedicated to the Cymbalta lawsuits where you’ll find all of FedUpwithFatigue’s Cymbalta-related posts, links to news stories, support groups and other useful information.

Update 10/25/16: The Cymbalta lawsuits have been settled. Click here for details. 

So, let’s get started with the timeline …

Thousands of Cymbalta users are suing Eli Lilly & Company, claiming the drugmaker didn't fully disclose the severity of the drug's withdrawal symptoms. The plaintiffs in the cases say they experienced headaches, dizziness, nausea, nightmares, anxiety, mania, suicidal ideation, brain zaps and other symptoms after they stopped taking Cymbalta. Here's a timeline of the lawsuits.

June 2008

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves Cymbalta (generic name: duloxetine) for the treatment of fibromyalgia. “The approval of Cymbalta is important because it provides physicians and patients with a new treatment option shown to help reduce pain and improve functioning in this difficult-to-treat disorder,” said Madelaine Wohlreich, M.D., medical advisor and research physician with Eli Lilly& Co., Cymbalta’s maker.

(Curious about how well Cymbalta works? Then you may be interested in reading this post: Why your fibro meds aren’t working.)

2009

Cymbalta’s profits rise 14 percent for the year, earning more than $3 billion worldwide.

October 2012

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices issues a report on Cymbalta, concluding there are “major shortcomings in the official information for both patients and healthcare professionals. … Withdrawal symptoms were reported in 44-50 percent of patients abruptly discontinuing duloxetine at the end of clinical studies for depression, and more than half of this total did not resolve within a week or two. … [The] FDA-approved patient guide is materially deficient. It gives no hint of the persistence or severity of the symptoms known to occur. It does not address basic questions: What kinds of symptoms are most common? Should patients taper off the dose, and if so, how slowly? What should a patient do if depression or other symptoms recur?”

November 2012

Attorneys file a class-action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Central District of California on behalf of all consumers who purchased Cymbalta since its launch in August 2004, alleging that drugmaker Eli Lilly & Co. “misrepresented the risks associated with taking Cymbalta and misled consumers about the frequency, severity and duration of ‘Cymbalta withdrawal.'” The plaintiffs say they’ve 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.

At the heart of the attorneys’ case is information contained in Cymbalta’s prescribing guide for physicians. Under the section entitled “discontinuation of treatment with Cymbalta,” the guide says, “Following abrupt or tapered discontinuation in adult placebo-controlled clinical trials, the following symptoms occurred at 1 percent or greater and at a significantly higher rate in Cymbalta-treated patients compared to those discontinuing from placebo: dizziness, headache, nausea, diarrhea, paresthesia, irritability, vomiting, insomnia, anxiety, hyperhidrosis and fatigue.”

While technically true, attorneys believe Eli Lilly purposely did not include Cymbalta’s high risk of withdrawal symptoms in its materials for physicians and patients. “Disclosing the true risks of Cymbalta withdrawal in its marketing and risk disclosure materials would have been harmful to Lilly’s sales,” the lawsuit reads.

January 2013

Eli Lilly attorneys try unsuccessfully to have the Cymbalta lawsuits tossed out of court. Since Cymbalta is prescribed to patients by a physician, Lilly argues the plaintiffs “cannot establish the requisite link between Lilly’s alleged misrepresentation and their injuries. … [the lawsuit] assumes that Lilly owed Cymbalta consumers a duty to disclose safety information to them directly.” The judge doesn’t buy Lilly’s argument, and the lawsuits proceed.

February 2013

Eli Lilly attorneys again try unsuccessfully to have the Cymbalta lawsuits thrown out of court, saying doctors were properly warned about the drug’s withdrawal symptoms. The lawsuits proceed.

December 2013

A South Carolina federal judge rules in Eli Lilly’s favor in the case of an Iraq War veteran who says he experienced brain zaps and other symptoms after discontinuing Cymbalta.

November 2014

A New York federal judge rules in Eli Lilly’s favor in the case of Jesse McDowell who says he experienced withdrawal symptoms after discontinuing Cymbalta. The judge believes doctors were adequately warned about the drug’s possible withdrawal symptoms.

December 2014

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation refuses to consolidate more than two dozen Cymbalta lawsuits, citing the cases are in various stages of development and consolidation wouldn’t be efficient for the court.

February 2015

A New York federal judge refuses a request to review the case of Jesse McDowell, saying there’s no new information.

April 2015

A Texas-based case involving plantiff Marilyn Pickaree (who represented herself during the court proceeding) is thrown out of court because she exceeded the two-year statute of limitations to file her claim.

Pickaree says she took Cymbalta for four or five days in 2008, and then stopped – at her doctor’s direction – because it caused severe chest pains, which required a hospital visit. After discontinuing the drug, she claims she suffered severe withdrawal effects for several weeks, including insomnia, headaches, stomach pain and loss of appetite.

June 2015

A judge strikes down Eli Lilly’s argument to dismiss the first two California-based Cymbalta lawsuits. Jury trials are set for August. By this time, the law firms of Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman, PC, Pogust, Braslow & Millrood LLC, Keller Rohrbach, LLP and Deskin Law Firm are representing more than 2,000 plaintiffs who claim they were injured (or in some cases, died) as a result of stopping Cymbalta.

August 2015

The first plaintiff, Claudia Herrera, heads to court. Herrera took Cymbalta for six years and said she felt “desperate” for months after stopping the drug. During testimony, she described Cymbalta as a “poison” and said she wouldn’t have taken it had she known about the drug’s high rate of withdrawal symptoms. Her symptoms included anxiety, dizziness, insomnia and brain zaps.

Herrera’s attorneys argue Cymbalta’s high rate of withdrawal symptoms should be included on a warning label since Eli Lilly’s own research indicates that 44-50 percent of Cymbalta users experience withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuing the drug suddenly. Eli Lilly’s attorneys “countered … that the 44 percent figure wasn’t relevant to prescribers because in the same studies, 22 percent of subjects discontinuing a placebo also reported side effects.”

Lilly attorneys argue that it’s well-known that antidepressants can cause withdrawal symptoms if users stop taking them “cold turkey,” and that it’s standard practice for physicians to have patients gradually wean off of such drugs over time.

The jury rules in favor of Eli Lilly.

Later on in August 2015

A California federal judge cuts short the trial of Erin Hexum, ruling in Eli Lilly’s favor. During testimony, Hexum’s physician indicates he cannot remember if he read Cymbalta’s prescribing guide. The judge reasons that if the physician can’t remember reading the guide, then how can attorneys argue that the misleading information contained in the guide is responsible for the plaintiff’s symptoms.

Hexum had taken Cymbalta for fibromyalgia for about a year. When she stopped, she said she developed severe cramping, which required an emergency room visit. She was later diagnosed with a seizure disorder and lost her driver’s license.

Late August 2015 and early September 2015

A Virginia federal judge tossed Gilda Hagan-Brown and Janine Ali’s fraud claims, saying the women didn’t present enough evidence to prove Eli Lilly had committed fraud by publishing misleading information regarding Cymbalta’s withdrawal effects. On Sept. 1, a federal jury rules in Eli Lilly’s favor on a separate negligence claim.

Both women took Cymbalta for fibromyalgia and said they experienced depression, migraines, pain, fatigue and brain zaps after stopping the drug in 2012.

September 2015

California plaintiffs Erin Hexum and Claudia Herrera file appeals in their cases.

Later September 2015

Three Cymbalta lawsuits involving 69 plaintiffs are transferred from California to Indiana where Eli Lilly is headquartered.

October 2015

The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation rejects a bid to consolidate (for the second time) more than 40 Cymbalta lawsuits, saying the cases are in different stages of development.

October 2016

The Cymbalta lawsuits have been settled. Click here for the details. 

Interested in learning more? Click over to my Cymbalta lawsuits page, which includes links to my previous Cymbalta-related posts, news stories, attorney information and much more! Stay up-to-date by subscribing below. 

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Comments

  1. Pam Grimes says:

    Every time I write my story i get done and it shuts down and is gone. I have had withdrawal effects while taking the drug for about 2 years. My memory is gone like a black hole. I have had seritonine syndrome and fell asleep driving. Fortunately I was off the freeway and on a country road. I have times when I lose hours, and only know because of the clock. When I took my last evil pill after a list from my DR. I saw the info in the computer about the pill. It was hard to believe. I was taking it for pelvic floor nerve pain. All the nausea, dizziness, confusion , hard ro talk, no ability to concentrate, memory loss, walking like a drunk, anxiety, having to lay down for over 6 months. Not able to do my cooking, weight lifting, Pilates, making jewelry working out side, shopping or anything I did for fun or to be happy. My husband does all. Now I know the time loses, serotonin syndrome, all the disabling effects are from Cymbalta. It never helped me, but did make me feel weird. If I had known I would not have taken it. There are many other good anti-depressants . I take the amitriptlyne morning and night. It always helped at night . When will I get my life back? I just want to die sometimes. I keep trying to see into the future and find something positive. Are there any attorneys who are still filing cases. I want to feel like I can see do something about this hideous drug This effects 50% of people trying to go off of it. Since I metabolize pills differently than normal I cannot take any pain meds, opiads or not, antibiotics, nerve pain meds and more. That is probably why I felt the withdrawal symptoms while on the pills. As a retired Police officer I have lived within the legal system, this drug should be illegal. Just about any food item that would make 50% of the people sick would not be on the market. Cymbalta is like a street drug. I would like to find an attorney who is taking cases. I have documentation for the problems, two of which ccould have been deadly.

  2. AlMira Cochran says:

    Cymbal take was great at first, give for pain in my feet & hands. After 2 months it has stopped working for the pain and tiredness along with sleepless nights have began, not to mention the weight gain. My weight has always been a big deal to me, standing 4’11″s becoming overweight is not an option nor will I let that happen. I have decided to ween myself off this drug slowly starting today. I have never taken drugs that you have withdraws while coming off, so I’m going to do my best and keep my wits about me with luck. I have a lot of the sideffects to deal with.

    • Pam Grimes says:

      You probably need a DR. Who can give you a timeline and another anti-depressant to slip into. Your brain will go crazy with out the chemicals you were taking. There is probably one that you can go off of later with out the withdrawal.

  3. Dale Sabo says:

    I’ve been on Cymbalta longer than I can recall, my prescription started after severe depression on losing a young son in a car accident. I’ll be the first one to admit I needed something, I just wish it was something else and not Cymbalta. At one point I was on a daily dose of 120 mg, prescribed by a clinical psychiatrist and supported by my family physician. I quickly came to hate the drug, the nausea, brain zaps, and most every symptom others have described. The clinical psychiatrist closed his practice; hired by the govt to help returning vetrens from Afghanistan with PTSD. My family physician was clueless and there was never an end game to either reduce or eliminate the drug from my daily diet, and nobody who would listen to me. I used my own holidays over the coarse of a few years, each time reducing the dosage by 30 mg until I was down to 30 mg which I’ve been on for a couple years now. I recently went to my same family physician with issues of memory loss, inability to focus, and increased depression; all of which I believe is related to Cymbalta, so what does he insist I do … increase my dosage back to 60 mg with 60 mg pills to prevent me from staying at 30 mg, what an arse. That has forced me to try and totally get off the 30 mg’s I’m currently on before I have to renew my prescription(s) and get the new 60mg dosage. To alleviate the mental lapses he now wants me to take a slow release speed (ritilan),It’s ironic that I spent my youth trying to take drugs, and my latter years trying to avoid them. I’m currently on day 4 of my withdrawal, it’s beyond description, the ringing in my ears is so loud, my brain jumps from being zapped to pounding, to feeling like I’m having equilibrium issues when I move my head too quickly.

    I wouldn’t wish what I’m going through on anybody, although I wouldn’t lose any sleep if those who produce, advocate, and prescribe it knew what it was like.

    • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says:

      I’m so sorry … sending you healing energy that your withdrawal symptoms are alleviated soon. 🙁

    • This is in response to my previous post, it’s been slightly over 3 months and I am off the damn stuff, all the bad symptoms have either totally dissipated, or are so minimal they are irrelevant. I can’t recall exactly how long it took, I know it was more than a month, and less than the 3 since stopping. My head feels better, a fog seems to have lifted, I’m more attentive, I feel more like who I remember I was, at least on an intellectual basis.

      I’ve had to re-learn how to manage my emotions, mood swings, intense sadness, easily angered; I’m sure I would be fit the clinical description of depression but I get strength in knowing I’m off that hurtful drug.

      During the withdrawal there was huge collateral damage to family and friends around me, those close to me knew what I was doing but even then they couldn’t understand, and I’m sure the others who didn’t know just thought I was loco. There are some relationships which I don’t think will ever mend as I really managed to irk a number of those close to me.

      Even more than before I can’t comprehend how a company or associated individuals can knowingly think this is helpful medication.

      Dale

  4. Rita Shaw says:

    I was on Cymbalta for 6 months at 60 mg…it was awful…I had the most severe anxiety that I’ve had in my life..and I has suffered as a teenager with panic attacks!! The Cymbalta anxiety is extreme and doesn’t stop..even when I slept I’d be reed up. And have nightmares..I still get brain zaps alot..and I’m still trying to lower the anxiety and this is from 2007_08 another symptom for me is my hair started falling out!! I really was a wreck and didn’t know why? In my records I told my dr. About losing my hair and extreme anxiety …and I stopped after 6 months went back on Prozac bUT couldn’t get the anxiety to calm down. I thought Prozac had stopped working for me..I knew I had bad. Bad problems on Cymbalta but I was educated enough to realize going off it was why the continued and neither was my doctor. They should take this drug off the market. I almost went into a mental hospital. And I’ve had severe fatigue ever since this drug that I hadn’t had before…I cry just to think we trusted these people to help us with our illness and we were thier Guinea pigs! ! I pray for all the children that took it..God help them! Rita

  5. I started cymbalta back in 2005 when it first came out, and my doctor kept increasing the dosage because I was always depressed and suicidal. In 2014 I move to another state and before I could find a doctor I couldn’t get my prescriptions filled, so I had to go without it for weeks. I became very aggressive, suicidal, depressed, in pain, couldn’t sleep and I cried all the time. Once I was able to get my prescription filled all of the symptoms went away but my insomnia. My new doctor decreased the dosage and told me that the dosage I was on was too high. Then when I was admitted to the hospital a psyciatrist came to see me and told me that it will be practically impossible for me to get off of cymbalta. I’m taking 60 mg per day of it right now from 180 mg per day that I was taking. When I don’t take it I feel as though I am going crazy among other things. This is one of the worst drugs to take!

  6. djack says:

    I died due to the complications of Cymbalta. I was transferred to a different pain medication, I am a chronic pain patient with multiple injuries and disorders. I am disabled. I tried to ware the doctors about the FDA Black Box warning when prescribed these medications, they told me that I could take it or leave it. Nice bedside manner, eh. My memory is still messed up, I have trouble accessing things, in which, was a strength of mine. Constant headache across the frontal lobe.

    • bopip49 says:

      djack: Did u notice u said, u died because of Cybalta. I truly understand what u going threw i have been dealing alot of problems since 2005 until now and can’t get off of it!!

  7. IhurtHELPme:( says:

    cymbalta ruined my life only took 10 months of being on 60mg for me to loose my memory (30 years old at the time) to the point I couldn’t remember my clock-in work # and simple stuff, I’d walk into the next room wondering wtf was I about to do? I’ve been off the drug for almost 2 years now and my memory has improved, but is still messed up. Cymbalta also made me physically violent and aggressive, to point I was acting out of character…mind you I’m normally a very nice guy. I was always clenching my jaw and my back muscles were always tight, I developed tight muscles in legs and it has never gone away. shame on the makers of this drug, I will see you in hell!!!! Not only that, but all my ligaments throughout my body seemed to loosen up and I developed widespread pain and fatigue and it has not gone away after being off it for two years!! seriously burn you bastards!!!!!!!!

    • IhurtHELPme:( says:

      I thought I finally found another person who experienced the same thing as me…dang I think this was a random anonymous post I made just couldn’t remember it due to my cymbalta brain ie cr*p short term memory i have ehlers danlos and I think cymbalta had an adverse reaction in me, possibly a collagen disruptor? and my ligaments and everything really got ruined on this garbage burn lol burn you bastards still otherwise all messed up cymbalta is poison

  8. I just wanted to coemnmt here, that I too remember dearest Tracy. I was all too close to her this very night that she passed and my prayers continue for her family that survived her passing. Now 6 years later and my heart still bleeds a bit as we pass by this season of life again and mourn her loss. With Love,-Someone who was Called to the scene of passing-

  9. Gail Reed says:

    I live in Australia & took Cymbalta 60mg daily for depression for approx 9 yrs . One day I decided I didn’t need them anymore & was suspicious that they had something to do with me getting acute pancreatitis & spending many weeks in hospital . I know I have no claim to make but I want others to be aware not to make the same mistake as I did . I had moved to another area & left the security of my Drs behind & hadn’t found a new one . So I went it alone cold turkey …. I expected it to be very bad but wasn’t prepared for what happen end to me . All of the side effects already mentioned plus a few more , I held on & suffered through @ least 12 months of rarely leaving home , then it really hit me mentally . The depression, anxiety , panic attacks were unbearable so I was forced to get help . I spent 4 months all up in a private clinic , the psychiatrist tried various types of antidepressants but nothing worked anymore … I was & still am sure I have some form of brain damage . It’s now over two years & that once happy go lucky wife, mother & sister no longer exists .
    Everyone misses her especially me , I am now a sufferer of agoraphobia , sick every day , so fatigued I can’t get through my home duties .. MY SOCIAL ANXIETY is unbearable , I can’t even cope with visitors without spending the next few days flat on my back … If I manage to get out it usually only with my husband helping me . I’m constantly suffering from vertigo & experience a few falls ….. CRAPALTA HAS TAKEN AWAY MY LIFE …..I’m alive but I’m not living …….

    • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says:

      I’m so sorry to hear this. I hear lots of nightmare stories, but yours has to be one of the worst. 🙁
      I’m sending positive energy your way for relief in whatever small ways it may come.

    • Kelly Stanko says:

      yes, i hear ya dear. the fatigue is hard enough to deal with, let alone something else, OMG. 🙁

  10. This is really useful… Thanks so much

    • admin says:

      Glad you liked it! I try to do these posts every week to keep people updated on what’s going on in the fibro and ME/CFS communities.

  11. Shannon leonard says:

    I was on cymbalta and experienced terrible side effects that to this day still effects me
    What can I do ? If anything…..
    It seems everyone is complaining about this horrific drug and I am not the same person because of this

    • admin says:

      Sorry to hear you are still having withdrawal symptoms. Are you familiar with the Cymbalta Hurts Worse group on facebook? There are lots of people there who might be helpful as you’re still dealing with symptoms. My posts also include links to the attorneys handling the cases if you need to contact them.

      • Ashley says:

        I joined but can’t find you there. Are attorneys still taking cases against Eli Lilly? I think my suite could include the physician as well. I told him my list of symptoms including the worst one for me the brain zaps. I said I feel like im going to to have a seizure. He increased the dose. I had two grand mal seizures. Both in front of nurses even. Had an EKG done then. I think I am suffering from a permanent serotonin problem I have been unable to take other antidepressants they make me feel like im going to lose my mind. Things have to be quiet. Sudden nose or drastic changes in when the wind are overwhelming.. My brain and body have been on hyper fight or flight for a long time. Always tired. Memory loss. Losing time. Feel dizzy all the time. Interferes with daily life so much I totally relied on my husband…we have separated after 9 years. Most likely due to the side effects of this drug. Lost another job. The anxiety makes its difficult to socialize. Sorry just needed to tell this to somebody who can understand…..

        • Donna Gregory/FedUpwithFatigue.com says:

          The attorneys are no longer taking plaintiffs for the lawsuit. You would need to hire your own personal injury attorney and pursue a case that way.

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