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
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
Much has been said about the conflict of interest between the British drug regulator, (MHRA), and GlaxoSmithKline. It's obvious to those who know the history of GSK and the MHRA that there is a huge conflict of interest that just cannot be ignored and while such a conflict exists patients will not be safeguarded from the likes of Paxil, a drug marketed and manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline.
I've met with the MHRA are a number of occasions, at one stage I offered to help them with their out of date and deeply flawed yellow card reporting system, a system where adverse events are collected and...well, basically nothing is ever done.
Communications between me and their then CEO, Kent Woods, broke down due to his refusal to acknowledge that Paxil, known as Seroxat in the UK, should be classed as a teratogen. A teratogen is an agent or factor that causes malformation of an embryo.
Much of my communication with the MHRA is in my book, 'The evidence however, is clear, the Seroxat scandal
In 2013 Kent Woods retired and the MHRA appointed Dr Ian Hudson (pic above) as their new CEO.
Hudson, who after leaving Glaxo in 2001, became the MHRA's Licensing Director, responsible for overseeing the benefits and risks of drugs before they hit the market.
Yup, the man in charge of the agency who have the job of keeping tabs on the drugs you and I take is a former employee of GSK - then known as SmithKline Beecham.
Hudson, whilst working for GSK, was a witness for the defence [GSK] during the Tobin v SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals
. In 1998 Donald Schell was put on Paxil [Seroxat]. Forty-eight hours later he put three bullets from two different guns through his wife's head, as well as through his daughter's head then through his granddaughter's head before shooting himself through the head.
Hudson's deposition has been online for sometime in text form, a copy of it can be viewed here
Sadly, it's been difficult trying to obtain the actual video footage of Hudson being depoed by US attorneys representing Tobin.
We do, however, have a small segment of his video deposition.
In 2002 Investigative journalist Shelley Jofre launched her first installment into the whole Paxil debacle. BBC Panorama's 'The Secrets of Seroxat'
was aired and it prompted over 67,000 calls and emails from concerned consumers.
During the documentary Shelley touched on the case of Donald Schell. The footage in the documentary revealed part of Dr Ian Hudson's video deposition. Remember, at the time, Hudson was a GSK employee.
Watch.... (Hudson was depoed in 2000)
**If the video starts with Andy Vickery talking then click the bar to end of video then press play**
In 2008 the MHRA concluded a four year investigation of GlaxoSmithKline, the crux of which was to find out whether GlaxoSmithKline withheld paediatric safety data pertaining to suicide related to its antidepressant Seroxat. They decided not proceed to criminal prosecution. It's unknown if they interviewed their own Dr Ian Hudson during their four year investigation. 
As I said, Dr Ian Hudson is now the Chief Executive of the MHRA, the agency that purportedly protects British consumers of prescription drugs.
I don't know about you but this doesn't really fill me with a sense that I am being protected from dangerous drugs. Does it you?
All four Paxil videos will soon be available in their entirety on Rxisk
 'The evidence however, is clear, the Seroxat scandal' [US
 GSK investigation concludes [Link