Cymbalta is one of Eli Lilly’s top-selling drugs, used for treating depression, anxiety, and bone and muscle pain. The drug carries some serious side effects, including discontinuation syndrome with brain zaps.What is Cymbalta? Cymbalta is a popular antidepressant that helps control neurotransmitters and hormones, improving moods and alleviating pain. Eli Lilly manufactured this multi-use, billion-dollar drug, which received FDA approval for alleviating mental and physical discomfort.In 2004, the FDA also approved Cymbalta (duloxetine hydrochloride) to treat depression. Doctors soon began prescribing Cymbalta for a wide range of patients, including those with anxiety, diabetic neuropathy, muscle pain and stress urinary incontinence.In 2007, the FDA added the treatment of fibromyalgia – a type of arthritis characterized by muscle pain, trouble sleeping, and tiredness – to Cymbalta’s label.Unfortunately, patients wishing to discontinue use of the drug often suffer from side effects that impair their health, ones that can last weeks after stopping Cymbalta treatment. These withdrawal symptoms range from headaches and dizziness to suicidal ideation and blackouts.
Cymbalta and Other Antidepressants Cymbalta makes up a major share of the $11 billion-a-year antidepressant market and competes with drugs like Paxil, Lexapro and Effexor. In 2012, it accounted for 42 percent of antidepressant sales.Like Effexor, Cymbalta works as a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI). The SNRI drug class deals with norepinephrine and aims to improve energy levels. Similar to SSRIs,
Cymbalta also deals with serotonin levels, which can lift moods.A Top Seller for Eli Lilly Since the drug’s approval in 2004, Eli Lilly has brought in more than $29 billion. At its peak, in 2013, it had annual sales of $5 billion.High Costs for Patients The brand-name drug sells for retail prices of more than $170 a month—making the drug more expensive than many antidepressants on the market. Cymbalta Uses and Clinical Studies Over the past decade, Cymbalta indications expanded to include anxiety, diabetic neuropathy, fibromyalgia and chronic muscle pain. Internationally, the drug is also approved for treating stress urinary incontinence.FDA Approvals The FDA initially approved the drug for treating depression, and within a year approved it for diabetic neuropathy. For diabetic neuropathy, Cymbalta treats pain and tingling from nerve damage. In 2007, generalized anxiety disorder – a condition that more than 6 million Americans suffer from every year – was put on the list.Growing Popularity Within five years of the drug hitting the market, doctors prescribed 2.8 million patients
Cymbalta, according to an FDA staff report. Of these prescriptions, 400,000 were prescribed for off-label uses like nerve pain, musculoskeletal pain and headaches. In 2008, the FDA approved its use for Fibromyalgia. Analgesic properties make the drug also suitable for osteoarthritis.Advisory Committee Meets Because of reports of serious side effects like liver damage and skin disease, an FDA advisory committee met in 2010 to review whether or not the benefits outweighed the risks in the use of Cymbalta for treating chronic pain. Despite this danger, the drug was approved months later for chronic musculoskeletal pain, including osteoarthritis.
Side Effects of Cymbalta Patients taking Cymbalta are often unaware of the potential side effects that may occur, and doctors continue to prescribe it for more uses despite these dangers.Complications for Pregnant Women Birth Defects Skin Disease Suicidal Thoughts Liver Toxicity Discontinuation Syndrome Persistent Withdrawal Symptoms (Brain Zaps)The Institute of Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) published a report describing 48 instances where Cymbalta users suffered from debilitating withdrawal side effects, including brain zaps.While a brain zap is not a precise medical term, many Cymbalta users have experienced the same type of abrupt electrical shock disrupting their mind. They describe the zaps as intense and painful sensations that cloud mental clarity and leave them with shakes, nausea and headaches. The degree of severity can impair a patient’s ability to work, socialize and carry out daily tasks.
ISMP’s reported Cymbalta withdrawal side effects include:Dizziness Brain zaps Anger Suicidal thoughtsWeight gain Paresthesia (burning sensation)Clinical studies reveal that with abrupt discontinuation of the drug, similar symptoms occurred in nearly half of patients. Of those, 10 percent felt symptoms acutely and half continued to suffer from side effects more than one to two weeks after stopping treatment.Many of these patients required hospitalization and also reported nausea, tremors and blackouts.
National Pain Strategy PAINS Collaborators Meeting Recap
By Barby Ingle, Power of Pain Foundation President
On June 29 and 30, 2015, the Pain Action Alliance to Implement a National Strategy (PAINS), a group of over 100 pain collaborators and stakeholders, came together in Washington DC to discuss the National Pain Strategy (NPS). The purpose was to provide attendees an opportunity to discuss the NPS and find areas of agreement on next steps, collaborations, priorities, and to hold accountable those responsible for implementation.As the president of the Power of Pain Foundation, I was invited to participate. I went into the meeting with some preconceived notions based on little happening since the Institute of Medicine’s report in 2011 and didn’t expect much to be accomplished. To my great surprise, the meeting exceeded my expectations. I left the meeting feeling that a path toward implementation of stronger access to care issues was clarified as a result of the meeting. I am excited to be one of the attendees present that will be helping move a chronic pain agenda forward, making a difference in the lives of those living with pain.The goals of the meeting were to encourage collaboration among key pain community leaders, to promote the NPS report and build enthusiasm for it, and to facilitate conversations about how to move forward to implementation of the strategy outlined in the report.For me, the meeting clarified the path ahead for the NPS in terms of priorities,implementation, next steps, funding,leadership and accountability. One of the unintended outcomes from the meeting was the consensus to support the messaging of the Chronic Pain Advocacy Task Force (CPATF). The CPATF is a group of 17 consumer advocacy groups convened by the State Pain Policy Action Network (SPPAN), which is a program of the American Academy of Pain Management (AAPM). As a founding member of the CPATF and the representative of one of the 17 groups involved, I was very proud to see that our work was recognized by this larger group of collaborators and stakeholders. As agreed upon, the core messages are: Chronic pain is a real and complex disease that may exist by itself or be linked with other medical conditions.Chronic pain is both an under-recognized and under-resourced public health crisis with devastating personal and economic impact. Effective chronic pain care requires access to a wide range of treatment options, including biomedical, behavioral health and complementary treatment. Denying appropriate care to people with chronic pain is unethical and can lead to unnecessary suffering, depression, disability, and even suicide.
In the early evening of Valentines Day, February 14, 16, I was placed in handcuffs in front of my residence and transferred to #MethodistHospital psychiatric hold where I got to come home the evening of February 16th Initially, I was being transferred to another facility for a 72 hour hold and evaluation after the Dr. said I wasn’t a threat to others, but I was to myself. Upon re evaluation the afternoon of the 16th, the doctor via tele medicine (Robot) allowed me to go home. The bruises on my body (severe) are not self inflicted, but are the consequences of my actions. After being denied 2 types of medications I’ve been on over 10 years (non opioid, anti-depressent/nerve pain and an anticonvulsent, 2 others removed entirely and abruptly January 2015 and reduced from 90 to 30 on Cymbalta at the same time, being continuously delayed, denied, retaking these 2, being denied again, going through the withdrawals over and over and knowing how many of you go through the same or similar, I began to crack. Days prior I filed the appeal, the next day I sought psych help from one of my providers, but was never contacted back. Valentines day started beautifully. My husband set up our patio, and have a vase of flowers for me, coffee and it was peaceful. When I woke that morning, he said “don’t go back” referring to the bedroom. He said” close your eyes” I did. He led me to the patio, the best gift I could have been given. As the early afternoon and sunshine made it’s way in, I was updating hand notes previously taken on a legislative conference to send as minutes. I was listening to music. My emotions began to rise. I was upset that I couldn’t be there for Barby in the loss of her dad, or my mom who’s doing all she can to keep her heart beating, or my dad, or my children, even my sister. I saw that denial letter again as I was highlighting the inaccuracies it contained. I tossed back a 200 ml bottle of vodka. To be specific the $1.99 bottle of Tamiroff (the cheap crap) 40% alcohol by volume. It wasn’t the cause of my actions, but it was the liquid courage to tell it how it was and how it shouldn’t be, however misplaced. I remembered what WC took from me, what I was manipulated into 14 years ago. Something that even possibility, chance or a cure can never bring back and I realized how absolutely stupid I was to listen to my health team at the time. See? I’ve learned and I’ve grown since then and while now I have to tread carefully, I refuse to shut up for me, or for you. And I remember that when my case was initially force closed in 2003, I asked for 1 thing. Just one, and whether my 3 know that or not, I submitted it in writing. I asked for them to apologize to my children.
They’re still waiting
I stood in the street and screamed everything we go through. #Chronic, #IntractabIe#Pain, #CRPS, #DWC#California#MTUS, denials and delays, I screamed that if you take an opioid, tomorrow you’re defined an addict If you have a drink, guess what? Now you’re an alcoholic. I screamed that records should be maintained accurately and that I was DONE! With irresponsible people fucking up responsible lives. Was my act responsible? Perhaps not, but the cause and reason was.
My tongue was foul.
When I attempted to advocate for myself, speak of compassion and understanding, humanizing people for all, and reveal what I do and that I wasn’t blind to it all, I was considered hallucinating, fabricating, making it up, laughed at, demeaned and ridiculed. Being kind, caring, loving, understanding, respectful, honest, and trustworthy has got me no where. Incline my head to the higher ups as if they’re right, when really I just don’t have the guts to advocate on my own behalf and tell them they’re wrong.
A person (and patient) who’s done everything right has labeled me, defined me, and stigmatized me as someone who’s wrong and who’s done everyone wrong.
They wouldn’t even give me my SCS controller to turn off my stim. Flat increases stimulation. The nurse tried to give me some line about, not right now, she didn’t know what I was talking about, so I tried to tell her. Being dismissed from that made me see even more red, I called her stupid and told her to f off. Then I apologized because even in my upset state, I had the mind to know it really wasn’t her fault, she was just ignorant and uneducated.
I won’t be tolerating inaccuracies in records, healthcare or otherwise. I won’t be tolerating patients not being able to add note to correct the record. I won’t be hiding away under the blankets anymore, while people create their reports to satisfy their own job criteria, yet leave out pertinent information. I’ll be up to make sure you know you better get it right. And that people deserve truth about all else.
I’ll be sharing this story in it’s entirety, there’s so much more than this. My records, PRIUM, tox screen, etc are being sent to the International Pain Foundation. Via iPain someone gets the exclusive. I’ll decide free or fee. Oh and I got on the inside in all of it, now I know what goes on behind those scenes and those doors. I supposedly blew a high alcohol level. But here’s the deal. The bottle is still the same bottle it can’t magically become something else. The amount my body took in wasn’t more than that, I’m 200 pounds, so go figure. I’ve saved that little bottle as a souvenir. Excuses? Not at all. I’m not proud, but nor am I ashamed. My transparency will bring me back up, enough to prove, I haven’t lied, fabricated and I wasn’t on any illicit or illegal drugs which no one believed either.
On the contrary, the truth I’ve told and will tell
Will become me
(This is my #FightSong
… Take back my life song)
If I gave anything that night, I gave 2 things.
1. On command I removed my hands from my mama’s jacket pockets and complied without incident to place my hands behind my back. #SacramentoSheriffsDepartment. Everyone should do the same in all situations.
2. I’ve given all of you the rest of my life; the one I can’t go back on.
My name is now associated with defiance and lock down.
Nothing else was considered
Sleep disorders, narcoleptic episodes
CSA (my brain doesn’t send the signals to my body to breathe)
Withdrawal (probably over that by now, but the effects I’m still dealing with)
CRPS (Flare) + and an altered brain from the last 13 months of continuous WC hell.
CRPS (secondary depression, anxiety disorders, PTSD x 2 (diagnosed)
(excluded are internal diagnosis’)
My medication list has been updated each and every time I’m seen by my physicians. Yet, my discharge shows I’m on 11 meds, including Butrans, 5 and 10, a benzo and others. I’m on Lisinopril 1 x a.m, Atorvastatin 1 x p.m, Hydralazine as needed only, BP 180/+, Nuvigil daily, and BuTrans Patch/wk. #DignityHealth is linked to all my doctors. The hospital is part of Dignity Health. What’s the point of the EMR, PMP, PDMP or even a computer if it’s not properly used?
Understand why I kept saying “I’m fucking done” I’m done doesn’t equal I’m going to kill myself. I’m over it, doesn’t mean it either. I don’t want to be here doesn’t either. What they all are is some else’s perception and reality I could fart and my son would throw up his hands and say “I’m done!”
Check it out.. My voice will carry, I have the guts to say it, open eyes and touch hearts, contribute to change, maybe not for me, but hopefully for someone else
If I killed myself, I wouldn’t get to say it, now would I?
I’m sure they gave me Cymbalta, Zonegran and Hydralazine in the lockdown. I wasn’t suppose to be given any of those. Only Lisinopril and the Statin. No wonder my head hurts.
On the 29th of January, I put in for my Cymbalta (30, 1x) and Zonegran (100, 2 x). I went to my grandson’s 10th birthday party yesterday (sick) but I played it like it was something else, I played it off so good and to the point of… shrugs. Yah, slam dunk withdrawal again. Pharmacy kept telling me my doc hadn’t refilled. (A lie) If you didn’t know the truth, say you don’t know. Today I get a letter in the mail from PRIUM. Cymbalta and Zonegran denied. Last January, 13 months ago, I was removed from 2 other medications entirely (one of which was Lidoderm) and reduced from 90 to 30 Cymbalta. I tried. I faked it to make it and I prayed it and played it. but was slipping harder than anyone could ever see, . There’s 1 med left and I know it’s next. Nearly every month I’m delayed, the months I’m not delayed by days, I am by weeks. I’m sure my brain is fried by now. I’m sick all the time from abrupt discontinuation, to trying to re stabilize after getting back on, to slam dunked again. Over and over and over. Those medications aren’t suppose to be slam dunked off of. They aren’t suppose to be abruptly discontinued. They are suppose to be weaned off to prevent seizures and adverse affects that can in some cases include death. Their letter is a lie, it contradicted 12 months ago where it did indicate Cymbalta and Zonegran and now says the CA MTUS doesn’t indicate for the treatment of neuropathic pain. (wrong). It also said because I’ve been treating with a dentist and was ON Norco 5/325 that the Cymbalta and Zonegran didn’t keep me OFF OPIOIDS. A fucking lie. As of the date of that letter. I had 3 dentist appointments. And I suffered and declined med, even tho I took some. I also got permission from my PMD prior to ever getting an RX , filling it or taking it. I have not asked for 1 single extra pill and I didn’t even fill the Rx I had for days later. But know what? It’s a done deal now. TOWER ENERGY GROUP – SCOTT CORNWELL ADJUSTER ARROWPOINT CAPITAL. You might want to get your facts right. You expect us to have ours accurate, yes? Let me see here in 1 year approximately $15,000 a year in medication management times 81 years of age. I’m still only 47. I got your game, you better get mine, too.
This letter said that I failed Lyrica and Neurontin (the reason it now says NO to Zonegran, but that I didn’t fail Carbamazepine or Lamotrigine. You got me stuck on stupid. For real? drugscom says make sure to tell your doctor if you have heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or triglycerides;
liver or kidney disease; ALL OF THE ABOVE. I get it, compromise one side for the other right? Which really means lower your spending. Sorry idiots, I settled for lifetime medical and didn’t take your money. Go on keep punishing me. Neither of these are NOT indicated for me. I didn’t appeal your last denials (January 2015) and I’m not appealing these either. Oh and by the way, next time you put bull shit in my letters, CA fail first/step therapy REFER TO AB 374 and know that if you’re going to quote taking and failing, you better also note all else that goes with it.
Because I think you failed something else…
The Travesty of Delays- California Workers’ Compensation SB 863 and AB 1124
I would like to offer that in conversation this last week with Dr. Kolodny and others who advocate against the use of opioid pain care that I attempted to stress the importance of responsibility and education in stating that ”
“So much time proving how bad opioids are when we could have been educating, teaching personal responsibility.” (Twitter only allows so many characters)
A direct reply and quote from Dr. Kolodny
“Education & “teaching personal responsibility” will not make opioids less addictive or more effective.”
Already in today’s call responsibility has been spoken of as well as education several times. He came on and mentioned Guiding physicians. Isn’t guiding educating?
Other therapies can potentially be more harmful, anti depressants, anti seizure medications for the treatment of chronic pain, such as Cymbalta,
Neurontin, Nortriptyline, Amtriptolyne and similar medications also have misuse and abuse potential. When there is misuse, abuse and Overdose is already likely. Surgical intervention is contraindicated in patients with nerve damage, neuropathies, CRPS/RSD. Some of these opioid overdoses were in part due to other medications, mixtures and alcohol, not solely opioid. Integrated and functional restoration programs are important, but few insurances at all, cover them.
Can we try not to stress the decline in white people falling to addiction, when we didn’t seem to be as concerned about blacks, or minorities. many were like, oh well, let them kill themselves, calling them stupid. We’re your kids stupid? I think not. I find it disheartening.
People were people all along. Also personal responsibility is directly related to opioid overdoses. If these children or adults didn’t understand the risk, or what the medication may cause, then education was absolutely necessary by parents, family and spouses first and foremost before the medical community. It becomes a mutual responsibility. Not only the doctor who prescribed it.
If they can’t stop, it’s our responsibility to intervene on their behalf. and attempt to save their lives before it’s too late.
Pain is physical, and pain is emotional. Physical pain seeks quality of life, the emotional pain, those against opioid’s seek comfort for
their loss. Pain doesn’t discriminate.
Physiology also plays a major role in this topic. Lets not sacrifice people for people. Otherwise unintended consequences become intended
consequences. Responsibility in prescribing isn’t a one way street. We seek out the doctor, they don’t seek us out.
~Twinkle V. / Advocacy Director, International Pain Foundation #iPain
Greetings!The RSDSA would like to make you aware of a petition currently before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that requests labeling changes for opioid analgesics (narcotic pain medications). Since many individuals with CRPS rely on opioids as part of their medication regimen, we wanted to bring this petition to your attention.
The petition, submitted by Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing (PROP), requests three specific changes to opioid analgesic labels:
1- That they no longer be prescribed for “moderate” noncancer pain, but only for “severe” noncancer pain
2- That the maximum allowable dosage per day be equivalent to 100 mg of morphine for noncancer pain
3- That this medication can only be used for a maximum duration of 90 DAYS.
What this petition appears to mandate is a “one size fits all” prescribing mentality which DOES NOT benefit the chronic pain patients in general and CRPS patients in particular.
The RSDSA has chosen to oppose the PROP petition on behalf of you, our members. On Wednesday, October 10th, The RSDSA sent this opposition letter to the FDA. Cick Here to read RSDSA letter .
For those of you who would like to send your own individual response regarding PROP to the FDA, we encourage you to stress the specific details that your medication enables you to do that without it you would be unable to do. We suggest you use the following language to keep the message clear:My name is _______. As a person who suffers with the chronic and yet incurable pain of CRPS, I ask the FDA to deny the PROP petition. I use opioids as prescribed by my physician allowing me to function better and partake in life in ways I would be unable to do without this prescribed care.