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Cymbalta Suicides Concealed by FDA, Side Effects Outweigh the Benefits?

Filed April 16th, 2008 amy

The antidepressant drug Cymbalta (generic: duloxetine) has now been linked to suicides even in cases where the patients had no history of mental illness. These folks were being treated for conditions like urinary incontinence or peripheral neuropathy. Even worse, the FDA may have intentionally concealed information of some of the suicides that happened during clinical trials.

A December 2005 article titled “Duloxetine: new drug. For stress urinary incontinence: too much risk, too little benefit” published in the French medical journal Prescire International, stated that “More than 40 different types of adverse effects have been reported, including suicide attempts and potentially severe hepatic disorders. (7) Duloxetine is metabolised by the cytochrome P450 isoenzymes CYP 1A2 and CYP 2D6, creating a risk of interactions with other drugs that follow these metabolic pathways. (8) In practice, purely symptomatic treatments that have no documented efficacy but many adverse effects should not be used, especially when there is an alternative treatment with a positive risk-benefit balance.”

The FDA approved Cymbalta for depression and diabetic peripheral neuropathy in 2004 and generalized anxiety disorder in 2007. But last fall it ordered Lilly to stop downplaying liver toxicity in its promotional materials. And an article in the January 2007 issue of Diabetes Care found Cymbalta actually raises fasting blood glucose which can worsen the diabetic peripheral neuropathy it is supposed to treat.

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