Lyrica and Cymbalta lawsuits are mass tort claims against the drug companies Pfizer and Eli Lilly for the serious side effects associated with these anticonvulsant medications. These side effects include a host of mental problems, from suicidal thoughts to withdrawal symptoms to brain damage. Some of these side effects can be permanent. The lawsuits claim that the pharmaceutical companies behind the drugs failed to warn doctors and patients about the risks, and demand compensation for victims':
- Medical expenses,
- Lost wages and reduced earning capacity,
- Pain and suffering, and
- Loss of consortium suffered by their families.
- 1. What is Lyrica?
- 2. What is Cymbalta?
- 3. Side effects caused by Lyrica and Cymbalta
- 4. Lawsuits over side effects caused by Lyrica and Cymbalta
- 5. Compensation for victims of Lyrica or Cymbalta
- 6. What to do if you have suffered from the side effects of Lyrica or Cymbalta
1. What is Lyrica?
Lyrica is the brand name for the drug pregabalin. It is produced by Pfizer and was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2004.1 Lyrica is prescribed to treat a variety of mental ailments, including:
- Fibromyalgia, and
- Neuropathic pain associated with diabetes.
Additionally, Lyrica is frequently prescribed off-label by doctors to treat medical conditions that the drug was not approved to treat.
2. What is Cymbalta?
Cymbalta is the brand name for the drug duloxetine. It is manufactured by Eli Lilly and was approved by the FDA in 2004.2 Cymbalta is a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, or SNRI, the alters how neurotransmitters and dopamine interact in the brain to treat depression.
In addition to working as an antidepressant, Cymbalta is also used to treat:
- Fibromyalgia, and
- Neuropathic pain associated with diabetes.
Like Lyrica, doctors have frequently prescribed Cymbalta for off-label use. Pfizer was even fined $2.3 billion by the U.S. Department of Justice for promoting off-label prescriptions of Lyrica.3
3. Side effects caused by Lyrica and Cymbalta
Both Lyrican and Cymbalta have been associated with a host of common side effects:
- Nausea, and
- Somnolence and drowsiness.
The drugs have also been linked to other minor, but less common, side effects like:
- Blurred vision,
- Paresthesia, or a tingling in the skin on the limbs,
- Dry mouth,
- Increase in appetite,
- Weight gain,
- Difficulty concentrating,
- Memory problems,
- Especially vivid dreams,
- Altered sexual mood and ability,
- Irritability, and
Finally, Lyrica and Cymbalta have been associated with some severe side effects:
- Suicidal thoughts,4
- Behavior changes and severe mood swings,5
- Withdrawal symptoms when a patient stopped taking the drugs,6
- Memory loss,
- Brain damage,
- Birth defects, and
- Angioedema, or a severe allergic reaction to the drugs.
Worse, these severe side effects could be permanent. The memory loss, alone, can lead to other mental difficulties and complications, including:
- Dementia, and
- Short and long-term memory loss.
4. Lawsuits over side effects caused by Lyrica and Cymbalta
Numerous lawsuits have been filed against Pfizer and Eli Lilly for the side effects caused by Lyrica and Cymbalta. These lawsuits are based on the claim that the pharmaceutical companies knew of the risks of the severe side effects that patients could suffer if they took their drugs. However, the pharmaceutical companies failed to warn doctors and patients of the risks.
Without a warning from the drug company, doctors were kept in the dark about the dangers of prescribing Lyrica or Cymbalta to their patients, preventing them from acting in their patients' best interests. Meanwhile, the lack of a warning kept patients from researching the drug they were being prescribed and doing their due diligence before making an important decision about their health.
The lawsuits also allege that Eli Lilly knew of the risks of patients suffering severe withdrawal symptoms when they stopped taking Cymbalta, but refused to warn anyone about the danger. In particular, Eli Lilly's own clinical trial for Cymbalta discovered that 44% of patients taking the drug had experienced “discontinuation-emergent adverse events,” with 10% of them suffering withdrawal symptoms that were described as “severe.”7
While hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against Eli Lilly and Pfizer by victims across the country, the courts have still not consolidated them into a multidistrict litigation (MDL).
5. Compensation for victims of Lyrica or Cymbalta
Victims of the side effects of Lyrica or Cymbalta have filed lawsuits to recover compensation for the losses they have suffered at the hands of the drugs. This includes compensation for their:
- Medical expenses, both from the past and those anticipated in the future,
- Professional repercussions of the injuries, including lost wages, lost business opportunities, and reduced earning capacity in the future,
- Physical pain,
- Mental suffering and emotional distress, and
- Loss of companionship suffered by their family.
6. What to do if you have suffered from the side effects of Lyrica or Cymbalta
If you have taken Lyrica or Cymbalta and have suffered serious side effects, the first thing to do is talk to your doctor. These drugs treat serious medical conditions: Stopping your treatment without discussing your options with your doctor first can lead to a resurgence of your medical condition. However, discussing your options with your doctor soon is crucially important, as it can mitigate the damage you have suffered by changing your treatment.
If it becomes clear that Lyrica or Cymbalta has hurt you, you may want to consider talking to a lawyer, next. Because you were hurt through no fault of your own, you should be compensated for your setbacks. Calling a lawyer like the defective drug attorneys at the Shouse Law Office at 855-LAWFIRM soon after your experience with Cymbalta or Lyrica is essential: The statute of limitations often requires victims to file their legal claim for compensation without two years.
Pfizer to Pay $2.3 Billion for Fraudulent Marketing,” Department of Justice (September 2, 2009).
See Kustermann A, Möbius C, Oberstein T, Müller HH, Kornhuber J, “Depression and attempted suicide under pregabalin therapy,” Annals of General Psychiatry 13:37 (2014).
See note 4 and Clinical Review for Pregabalin (November 23, 2016).
See Perahia DG, Kajdasz DK, Desaiah D, Haddad PM, “Symptoms following abrupt discontinuation of duloxetine treatment in patients with major depressive disorder,” 89(3):207-12 (December 2005).
See note 6.