“In biology, poisons are substances that cause disturbances in organisms, usually by chemical reaction or other activity on the molecular scale, when an organism absorbs a sufficient quantity.”
I’ve taken my fair share of drugs. I’m not referring to the kind that I took recreational, but the kind every doctor I’ve ever seen, has uttered the words “let’s try this“.
Sure. Why not. I’ll try this pharmaceutical that you suggest to me. You’re a doctor. You obviously know what’s best for my body. Right?
For most of my life I have been prescribed some type of SSRI for depression. I didn’t actually follow through with taking any anti- depressants until I hit my 30s. I lied to my doctors and told them the Zoloft was working so I could continue taking the xanax that was also being prescribed. But that’s another story. So fast forward through my life to the year 2014 when I am diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I didn’t really know what fibromyalgia was. I saw commercials for it- usually featuring older women- and by older I mean old enough to be my mother. My first reaction to this diagnosis was what can I take to make this go away. I was confident that in taking some pill this fibromyalgia would go away and I would go back to being normal.
But that’s not how it works.
After 2 years of trying different drugs- I finally got on cymbalta. A fibromyalgia wonder drug! What a huge fucking mistake.
Cymbalta -(duloxetine) is an SSNI made and manufactured by the Eli Lilly Corporation. It was first “made” in 1988 and brought to the United States FDA for approval in 2001 only to state this in 2003 “recommended this application as not approvable from the manufacturing and control stand point” because of “significant cGMP violations at the finished product manufacturing facility“. It also had high potential liver toxicity. However manufacturing issues were resolved and liver toxicity was put in the prescribing info. It was approved by the FDA in 2004 to treat depression and diabetic neuropathy. It was never approved for stress urinary incontinence- so the Eli Lilly corporation abandoned the pursuit with the US market (it was approved in the EU). This medication brings in about $5 billion a year. They are currently targeting treatment in adolescents for an additional sales of $1.5 billion a year.
The French medicinal journal Prescrire concluded that duloxetine is no better than other available agents and has a greater risk of side effects. Thus they recommend against its general use.
Notice when I searched for Cymbalta, right below it is Cymbalta Withdrawal Symptoms (and yes. I googled Ted Bundy the night before while watching an episode of Dexter. Hahaha) anyway…. What my doctor didn’t tell me about taking Cymbalta was how intense this drug is. And not in a fun way. Cymbalta made me into a zombie. A miserable zombie that sat around and stared off. I was suffering and it didn’t come close to helping relieve pain. How long did I take it? 4 weeks. Why only 4? Because- and with my doctor telling me to- I stopped after 4 shitty weeks of it making me a wretched human being. I was told that I can take up to 4 weeks for this medication aka poison to start working. But because it showed no signs of working only making me worse, I stopped taking it. And then the Cymbalta withdrawal started. If I wasn’t shivering from the chills, I was sweating profusely. When I could sleep, I was having horrific nightmares. I was irritated 24/7. I had diarrhea for almost 2 straight weeks. I would feel these weird shock like sensations in random areas of my body. I was exhausted- physically and mentally. I ended up in the ER with stroke like numbness all down the left side of my body.These symptoms lasted for 3 1/2 weeks. I was so desperate for the side effects to go away- I cried in my doctors office asking why this was happening. My doctor felt awful- because she had never seen someone go through Cymbalta withdrawal- especially after taking it for only 4 weeks. She knew there was a risk but had never seen it hit someone they way it did with me.
Eventually I started looking up Cymbalta and it’s withdrawal effects to hopefully learn more about why it was happening but mostly so when I could figure out when it would stop. That’s when learned about the lawsuits against Eli Lilly, the millions they’ve paid out to Cymbalta users for the wicked side effects that had damaged so many lives. The lying about the percentage of people who get the severe withdrawal problems (they claim 1% and it’s closer to 48%). I searched twitter hashtags of Cymbalta and only 2 out of 100 were not about the withdrawal! I posted a picture from the ER, on instagram, and people contacted me, telling me what Cymbalta did to them or asking questions because they were on it and no one had told them about the possibility of severe withdrawal.
Pain management stopped helping me because I refused to start taking it again. My general practioner was happy to help as much as she could. We agreed on no more meds to treat fibromyalgia. Muscle relaxers for pain, but that was it. I started eating clean- healthy foods. Drinking kombucha every day. Getting my ass out of bed and up and moving. And what do you know- my body feels like it has regenerated itself. Sure, the winter snow has had me achey at times, but that’s nothing marijuana can’t help. Eating better and drinking kombucha has sincerely helped my body. I don’t know why I was always so set on taking a pill to fix what I thought was broken. Maybe it’s the idea of a quick fix- an easy answer to my problem. But nothing in life comes that easy.
I’m not saying that all medications are bad. I take lexapro every day for anxiety and depression. Also – birth control. But I am saying that Cymbalta was not right for me. I encourage anyone who is considering taking Cymbalta to do the research. The cons do out weigh the pros. For me- the lack of treatment that it provided makes me think the FDA needs to reevaluate this drug. It is clearly not a drug that should be given out as a first try. Personally I think Cymbalta should be banned. Do your research! Talk to your doctor (because the internet isn’t always telling the truth)! Talk to others who have taken what you’re considering (I had a nurse tell me that Cymbalta worked great for her & someone else told me they were on it for years but went through months of the severe withdrawal). Before you start taking a poison – I mean- medication like Cymbalta, *ask yourself, “have I changed my diet for the better? Have I tried vitamins and supplements that naturally help the body? Have I done everything I can do to treat myself naturally ?” Because chances are, that’s all your body needs.
*this statement is referring to using Cymbalta to treat depression, anxiety or fibromyalgia.