Suicide; it’s ok until someone loses a life

A common experience of people attempting to quit Cymbalta, and for many people who are taking it, is suicidal ideation. This varies in degree from a fleeting thought to detailed planning that would include the method, location and timing. I worked as a crisis volunteer for several years and spoke with many people who’d called the center because of concerns about suicidal thoughts. People on a subway platform, with a loaded gun and some with “just” the dark thoughts.

The problem with suicide as an option to stop the pain is inherent in the permanence of the act; once the option has been elected, there aren’t going to be any more options. Of course it is one that we can keep as a plan “D” or “E” while we continue to work with other approaches.

Amongst other indications, Cymbalta is prescribed to treat depression. Lilly were denied approval by the FDA to sell Cymbalta for treatment of stress incontinence because of “liver toxicity” and a record of “suicide events”.  There is a documented case that I’m aware of where one respected, middle-aged gentleman committed suicide two weeks after beginning a Cymbalta prescription. Statistically, younger people are more at risk of suicide while taking Cymbalta.

So, Cymbalta is too dangerous for people who wet themselves under stress because it poisons their liver and leads to suicidal ideation and suicide, but it’s okay to give it to people who are clinically depressed. Huh? Is it that people who are depressed, have back pain, or, as in my case ADHD, have less societal value and can serve as fodder for Lilly’s shareholders. Did I mention that Eli Lilly have earned $10 Billion (USD) with Cymbalta since obtaining FDA approval in 2004? Health Canada approved it in 2008; why did it take the Canucks so long, eh?

Another common withdrawal symptom is insomnia and I’ve experienced it pretty much since I stopped taking the stuff. During an out-of-province visit with family during Thanksgiving I found myself at 04hrs00, learning to play Wii Tennis; no, really, just myself since everyone else had gone to bed at a reasonable hour. I’d also been writing poetry on my iPhone and the combination of the awkwardness of the typing interface and my Cymbalta-withdrawal-lack of patience resulted in several iPhone launches during the writing.

This was about to be the fourth consecutive night without the benefit of a meaningful collection of sleep-hours. At home, I’d found that a spirited top-down drive often helped as a relaxant and, since none of the solutions I’d tried thus far seemed to work, I decided to go for a drive.

In the absence of a particular destination, I took my overnight bag in case I got close to home. Home is nearly four hours away from the family Thanksgiving location and if I got there, I might not want to return. I did leave a gold family ring on the night table.

The next conscious recollection of the drive was the rear-view mirror image of flashing lights attached to a vehicle driven by an Ontario Provincial Police officer. In retrospect, I believe that he’d pulled in behind me and didn’t actually pull me over. I’d pulled over to work my iPhone-based GPS.

Says I was doing 151 KMH, or 50 KM over the limit. Says I was on the 401. I think he’s made a mistake. No, maybe it was me.

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