I was reading through the comments section of an online Cymbalta withdrawal support group yesterday.
'Cymbalta Hurts Worse' is a Facebook support group where readers offer advice in getting off Cymbalta. Reading through brought back so many memories of my time on Seroxat [known as Paxil in the US]
Cymbalta, marketed and manufactured by Lilly, is the subject of a lawsuit in the US. Plaintiffs in the suit have claimed that Lilly deliberately omitted information about the true risk of withdrawal in the product label and in marketing materials, they also claim that Lilly manipulated medical literature and exaggerated the benefits of Cymbalta.
Meantime, the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical company offer no help whatsover to those addicted to their product.
Here's some of the comments...
POSTER 1: Day one of lowering my dosage...scared for the days to follow but I refuse not to come off of this! I can do it!!!
POSTER 2: Are you two using the bead method?
POSTER 1: No my doctors takin it slow but I'm doing it with the help of this homeopathic remedy soooo we will see I feel okay today...just scary cause I'm a student and work so I don't want my grades to be affected if I'm feeling the withdraw
POSTER 2: Good luck to you. If it proves to be too much, consider the bead method. It's the safest way to wean off.
POSTER 1: I tried to come off a few years ago with only one drop down then compeltely off and it was the worst idea of my life!!! Got so sick
POSTER 3: Bead method taking out a few beads or 1 bead at a time is the only way I know that minimizes dreadful withdrawal effects. Please keep us posted and best wishes.
POSTER 4: I'm on day of 5 of removing a couple of beads per dose as I take one at night and one in the morning, I never thought I could do this but I can and I will. You will be fine as long as you listen to your body and take it slowly, good luck!
So, what exactly is the "bead method"?
Altostrata, who runs the hugely successful Surviving Antidepressants forum, explains...
Cymbalta comes in 20 mg, 30 mg, and 60 mg capsules.
Cymbalta is tricky to taper. It does not come in liquid form and cannot be compounded into a liquid. To protect the drug, each bead inside the gelatin capsule has an enteric coating to protect the drug from stomach acid, which would destroy the drug. (It is absorbed further down in the digestive tract.) The pellets cannot be dissolved in any liquid without destroying the active ingredient.
You cannot crush the pellets or dissolve them in a solution -- the drug would never get into your system, it would be destroyed in your stomach and you would have immediate cold-turkey withdrawal.
The number of beads in each Cymbalta capsule will vary within a given dosage and across dosages. The capsules are filled by weight. Count your beads carefully. Put unused beads into a clean, dry, capped prescription bottle marked with the dosage of the original capsule and expiration date. You might want to use them later. Do not mix beads from capsules of different dosages, such as 30mg and 60mg.
Patients trying to stop taking Cymbalta are in a tough spot. No help from the manufacturer Lilly, no help from medicine regulators such as the FDA and MHRA, no help from their prescribing physicians
Lilly, the FDA and MHRA are fully aware of the problems patients are facing but do nothing.
So, it's down to support groups such as 'Cymbalta Hurts Worse' and 'Surviving Antidepressants', there are many more too.
R. Brent Wisner, of Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman, P.C, who are representing plaintiffs had this to say...
“We believe that Lilly’s warning that Cymbalta withdrawal occurs at a rate greater than or equal to 1% is deceptive. It is just a sleight of hand. One of Lilly’s own studies shows that over 50% of patients experience withdrawal when they stop Cymbalta. 1% is not 50%, not even close. A drug label is not the place to play games with words. It is a place to honestly inform doctors and patients about the benefits and risks of medicines so they can make informed choices. Our clients feel strongly that they were betrayed by Lilly and we will do all we can to ensure their voices are heard by the courts.”
The removing of beads to help in tapering from a prescription drug is a patient idea, it's an idea that was forced upon them because the likes of Lilly, the FDA and MHRA have just sat back thumb twiddling and buck passing. Meantime, patients are left to their own devices to try and taper from a prescription drug that they took on faith to help with a diagnosis that has no science behind it at all.
I feel for anyone starting on a tapering process of any antidepressant, particularly those types that have no liquid formulation to help patients withdraw slowly.
Here's the irony.
The definition of the word 'PATIENT' is split into two categories here.
NOUN: A person receiving or registered to receive medical treatment.
ADJECTIVE: Done in a careful way over a long period of time without hurrying.
Perhaps drug-makers and their agents (drug regulators) could define which one is applicable to consumers trying to withdraw from antidepressants.
If you, or someone you know, has suffered the horrific side effects of Cymbalta then you may be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit. You can contact an attorney at Baum Hedlund here.