Cymbalta (pharmaceutical manufacturer Eli Lilly’s brand name for duloxetine) is a member of a very popular category of antidepressants – selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Like many SSRIs, Cymbalta is often prescribed to treat a number of issues that occur due to chemical imbalances in the brain, including but not limited to depression, anxiety and nervous disorders, bulimia and other eating disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
While it can be very effective at reducing or eliminating the symptoms of these disorders and conditions, Cymbalta has a number of potentially hazardous side effects that patients should be aware of, as well.
Suicidal Thoughts in Teens
Many teens and young adults who take SSRIs experience suicidal thoughts when they first begin taking Cymbalta. In most cases this can be managed by regular monitoring by a doctor and will pass as the patient’s body and brain adjust to the medication.
Birth Injuries or Defects
The FDA has categorized Cymbalta as a Class C drug, meaning that it has been shown to be harmful to animals in some cases. Recent studies have shown that using SSRIs can result in a slight but calculable increase in the chance of birth injuries and/or defects, including persistent pulmonary hypertension in newborns (PPHN) and anencephaly. PPHN occurs when a baby’s lungs do not initially adapt to breathing outside the womb, and anencephaly occurs when there is a problem with the neural tube and the baby is born missing part of its brain and/or skull.
Some doctors will still prescribe Cymbalta to pregnant women who suffer from depression because a relapse into depression could be more dangerous to both mother and baby than the increased risks of birth injuries or defects. It is essential, however, that these doctors inform the women they treat of the potentially harmful side effects that can occur from taking SSRIs during pregnancy.
Addiction to and Withdrawal From Cymbalta
Cymbalta is physically habit forming and can be very difficult to stop using. Patients who have been prescribed Cymbalta for any length of time are warned not to attempt to stop without first seeking help from a medical professional, as withdrawal symptoms can include but are not limited to:
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Tingling and/or numbness
Patients should be educated on the addictive nature of Cymbalta and the difficulty that they may have in stopping use of the drug after being on it for some time.
Other Side Effects from Cymbalta
Cymbalta is also known to worsen narrow-angle glaucoma, and it is not recommended for patients who have suffered from any of the following:
- Liver problems
- Bipolar disorder
- Kidney disease
- Drug abuse
- Abnormal bleeding
In addition to these, Cymbalta is also known to have unhealthy interactions with a range of other medications, including warfarin and other blood thinners, prescription pain medications, antibiotics, diuretics, and migraine medications, among others.
Failure to warn a patient about dangerous side effects is an act of negligence on a doctor’s part. Failure to properly warn doctors and patients of a drug’s side effects is an act of negligence on a pharmaceutical company’s part. In either case, a patient injured or killed due to a drug’s harmful side effects should not be responsible for the resulting damages.
If you or someone you love has been injured under these or other circumstances while using Cymbalta, call a qualified attorney today to discuss the best course of action. Consultations and case analyses are free. Schedule yours today by filling out our online contact form or calling us at our office.