Cymbalta May Relieve Chemo-Induced Pain and Tingling, But At What Cost?

Posted June 6, 2012 by HarmfulDrugInfoCenter
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(June 5, 2012) – The anti-depressant Cymbalta (duloxetine) is the first drug that has been shown to relieve the nerve pain and discomfort that affects up to one third of cancer patients treated with certain chemotherapy drugs, researchers report.


In a study of more than 200 people who suffer from the condition known as chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, 59 percent of those given Cymbalta reported a decrease in pain, compared with 39 percent given placebo.


Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy is caused by damage to nerves, most often in arms and legs. Besides shooting pain, symptoms include burning, tingling, numbness, problems with balance, dropping things, and cold and heat sensitivity.


“Peripheral neuropathy is a chronic, debilitating problem, with some patients enduring pain, numbness, and tingling for months, possibly years, after completion of chemotherapy,” says researcher Ellen M. Lavoie Smith, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the School of Nursing at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.


“Until now, we knew of nothing that was effective in treating the condition,” she said. The drug was generally “well tolerated.” The most common side effect was mild fatigue, reported by 11 percent of people taking Cymbalta and 3 percent on placebo. Twelve patients (11%) dropped out of the study due to drug associated side effects.


Cymbalta is thought to work by changing levels of brain chemicals linked to pain and nerve function. Cymbalta, which is approved for the treatment of depression and painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy, costs about $150 for a one-month supply.


This is great news for patients being treated with chemotherapy drugs. However, Cymbalta has been classified as “Do Not Use” for any form of depression, as well as for all other uses for which it has been approved (such as generalized anxiety or any form of pain, including fibromyalgia). The conclusion that duloxetine should not be used for any purpose also was reached in February 2009 by Prescrire, the French journal of drug safety and efficacy, which stated, “Duloxetine: to be avoided in all circumstances.”


The FDA issued a Black Box Warning, which is the strongest type of safety alert the FDA can demand of drug manufacturers, and can be required when there is evidence of serious injuries or death with a drug.


Liver toxicity and liver failure, sometimes fatal, have been reported in patients treated with duloxetine.


On October 17, 2005, Eli Lilly expanded its warning about potential liver-related problems with Cymbalta and cautioned doctors against prescribing it to patients with chronic liver disease, U.S. health regulators announced. The new label for the drug also contained reports of hepatitis, jaundice, and other liver-related problems in patients using Cymbalta.


Soon thereafter, the FDA had issued a warning about the potential for suicidal thinking in adults taking anti-depressants, but the agency specifically singled out Cymbalta because of a higher than expected rate of suicide attempts in recent studies. Cymbalta was a relatively new anti-depressant manufactured by Eli Lilly that had been associated with suicide risk since its clinical trials.


The warning came after a review of Cymbalta by Eli Lilly, which found that 11 of nearly 9,000 women taking it for urinary incontinence tried to commit suicide. The fact that these patients were suffering from urinary incontinence and not depression is significant because the drug companies have long argued that anti-depressants are used by depressed people who have a higher likelihood of committing suicide.


Cymbalta has been associated with suicidal behavior since Traci Johnson, a healthy volunteer involved in a trial at Eli Lilly’s clinic at Indiana University Medical Center in Indianapolis, killed herself in one of the clinic’s showers. She did not suffer from depression and was taken off the drug and given a placebo four days before she hung herself in the clinic’s showers on February 7, 2004. She was the 5th patient to commit suicide after taking Cymbalta in clinic trials. After her death, 1/5 of the volunteers quit the Cymbalta trial.


Many patients who have been treated with Cymbalta today complain that it is almost impossible to go through the withdrawals of this drug. It makes them feel so sickly, some complaints are of “brain surges” or “zaps” that cause dizziness and a shock like feeling. Some patients say this drug should be illegal. There are several complaints of feeling emotionless, gaining weight even though the side effects state “possible weight loss”, making your heart feel like it is coming out of your chest, constant nightmares, and some complaints of manic behavior. There are many that say that after taking just one Cymbalta pill they experienced terrible side effects that took weeks to dissipate. One woman stated that her husband could not take the horrific side effects and his doctor was of no help, so he put a gun to his heart and killed himself.


There is currently a Cymbalta Petition , which is demanding that Eli Lilly make the consumers aware of all the terrible side effects and withdrawal complications patients in the U.S., as well as worldwide, have experienced since taking this medication.  It is still not taken off the market and no changes have been made.


If Eli Lilly was aware of these terrible side effects, why haven’t the physicians and the consumers been made aware of them? Why is this drug still on the market?


So, even though this medication may relieve the pain and discomfort caused by chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, are these horrible side effects really worth it? Before these cancer patients are given this “wonder drug,” they are entitled to the risks this drug can cause, after all, haven’t they been through enough?


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Lawsuit Against Two Prison Guards, Alleging Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment

Posted June 4, 2012 by HarmfulDrugInfoCenter
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(June 4, 2012) Two former female inmates have filed lawsuits against two former corrections officers, who already face criminal charges in state court in relation to sexual encounters with prisoners between 2009 and 2010.


This lawsuit was removed to the U.S. District Court on June 1, adding the charges of threats and oppression to the suit. These former corrections officers join the county, its jail, its prison board, and the warden as defendants in this suit.


The lawsuit claims that one of the guards was known as “the cool one” by female inmates, but in December 2009, “Ms. Cool” kissed and groped one of the plaintiffs, followed by other, similar incidents.


During one assault, the other guard in this lawsuit threatened to place the inmate into restrictive custody, and tried to hurt the inmate’s hand. This type of inappropriate behavior continued from November 2009 through March 2010.


The lawsuit states that the inmates were too intimidated to file grievances, because they were threatened with retaliation. Therefore, one of the former prison guards continuously conducted unwarranted full-body searches on the other plaintiff, and made inappropriate contact.


The two prison guards in this lawsuit are no longer working at the jail.


The county had the case transferred to federal court. The lawyer representing the county, but not the guards, said that “we felt it should be in federal court, because they are civil rights based claims.”


In state court, one of the prison guards in this lawsuit faces a total of 20 counts of terroristic threats, harassment, institutional sexual assault, witness intimidation, and official oppression. The other prison guard in this lawsuit faces one count of official oppression and one count of terroristic threats.


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Children Receive $6.41 Million in Malpractice Lawsuit

Posted June 4, 2012 by HarmfulDrugInfoCenter
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(June 4, 2012) – The five children of a man who died due to his misdiagnosis at Temple University Hospital were awarded $6.41 million in a medical malpractice lawsuit.


According to an article in, the 38-year-old man was diagnosed with pneumonia after he collapsed with chest pain while playing basketball on May 31, 2009. He was taken to Temple University Hospital, diagnosed with pneumonia, prescribed Motrin and antibiotics, and was released. Three months later, he again collapsed from severe chest pain while playing basketball, suffering a massive heart attack. He died on November 12, 2009.


An attorney for the victim’s five children said that the hospital and two doctors who treated him were named in the lawsuit.


Frequently, heart attacks are thought to be symptoms of G.E.R.D. (gastroesophageal reflux disease), anxiety attacks, angina, gallstones, as well as several unrelated cardiac issues. Early diagnosis and treatment of heart disease is beneficial in the prevention of more serious conditions and life-threatening complications, such as myocardial infarction (heart attack) or death. Misdiagnosis is dangerous because instead of receiving the necessary treatment for the heart muscle and surrounding arteries, more damage can occur, ultimately resulting in death. Receiving the proper treatment and medications is crucial. Unfortunately, this father of five children was misdiagnosed and never received the proper diagnosis and treatment.


I am certain that the victim’s children would much rather their father still be alive than any amount of money. But someone needs to be accountable for his untimely death. This never should have happened. Hopefully, this will help the hospital and physicians be more thorough and careful when diagnosing patients.


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Man Goes Up In Flames After Applying Sun Screen

Posted June 4, 2012 by HarmfulDrugInfoCenter
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Banana Boat Sunscreen


(June 3, 2012) A Massachusetts man went up in flames after applying Banana Boat Sunscreen to his body before grilling up some food.


He applied the sunscreen, rubbed it in for a couple of seconds, and walked to his grill, where the flames jumped onto his body as if the sunscreen was lighter fluid, engulfing his entire upper body.


He claims that he hired a lawyer so that he could attempt to clarify the warning labels on similar products so that others will not be burned by the manufacturer’s irresponsibility.


Luckily, his friends were quick to respond, and his doctor says that he would have sustained third or fourth degree burns, as opposed to the second degree burns which he suffered, if he had remained on fire any longer.


“Warning labels that say ‘flammable, don’t use near heat, flame or while burning’ is not enough because it does not warn people that it continues to be flammable after application,” he adds.


In order for him to have a successful products liability claim, the manufacturer has a duty to warn about hidden dangers of products, and must demonstrate to potential users how the product is to be properly used. If someone is injured using this product in its intended use and the manufacturer fails to meet either of these requirements, they will be liable for the ensuing harm.


There is no question that this man was using the sunscreen for its intended use, but it is not so clear whether the manufacturer properly warned of the dangers. The sunscreen label says to watch out for fire. In addition, the instructions on the grill mention that gloves should be worn when there is an open flame on a grill. Gloves would definitely have aided in retarding the flame. But he does have a small chance that, although the Banana Boat label does mention that the product is flammable, it does not mention whether this extends to the product remaining flammable while applied on the skin.


What are your thoughts? If you purchased a can of sunscreen that said “flammable,” would you expect it to remain flammable on your body? Would you expect to join your meats under flames after applying sunscreen?


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Fatal Tent Collapse in St. Louis Prompts Lawsuit

Posted June 3, 2012 by HarmfulDrugInfoCenter
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(June 3, 2012) – The widow of a man killed when an April 28th storm knocked over a party tent is suing the bar where the collapse occurred, as well as the company that leased and installed the tent.


About 100 people were injured in the tent collapse, and a 58-year-old man was killed at the scene from blunt force trauma. Witnesses say that more than 200 people, many who had attended a baseball game at a nearby stadium, were packed into the tent listening to music as the winds hit at about 4:00 pm. This was a popular place to celebrate after the St. Louis Cardinals baseball games.


One witness told a news reporter that the music in the tent was so loud, that no one heard the storm coming. When the tent ripped from its moorings, tent poles were sent flying wildly through the crowd, hitting many people in the head. The tent wound up hanging from a train trestle.


One person was killed, 5 others critically injured, 17 people rushed to the hospital, and another 100 were treated for minor injuries.


According to the Associated Press, the owner of the bar said that firefighters told him that the victim was killed by lightning, not flying debris. On Monday, the owner of the bar said it looked as though the ropes that helped anchor the tent snapped.


The city’s building code requires that tents larger than 1,000 square feet were made to withstand wind gusts of up to 90 mph. The National Weather Service center reported winds Saturday reached 45-50 mph.


Tents as large as the one at this bar cannot be erected without a building permit. The building permit was issued on April 11th. The city said that an inspector checked the tent for fire hazards and said it was safe for occupancy. For installation issues, the city said it is up to the owners and contractors to use good practices to make sure the tents are set up properly. The city inspects tents to determine if there are enough exits and if they’re well marked, but city inspectors do not look at whether the tent was erected under manufacturers specifications. That work is up to the contractor.  The tent was supposed to be able to withstand winds of up to 90 mph, in compliance with the city’s building code.


When storms blew into downtown St. Louis on Saturday afternoon, the victim was in the bar’s beer garden tent with his brother. The brother told family members that he noticed a gust of wind lift up part of the tent.  The brother reached down to hold onto a pole, in an effort to keep the tent in place, but heard his brother say that it would be impossible to hold it down. Seconds later, they were both knocked to the ground. The brother suffered a bruised eye. The victim died of a blunt force trauma at the scene. The victim’s daughter said her dad was a retired ironworker who had worked on bridges. He was married to his wife for 36 years. They raised three girls, now 27, 29, and 33 years old. The victim was looking forward to attending the wedding of one of his daughters.


The daughter says that speculation that her father suffered a heart attack during the tent collapse is not true. Doctors told the family that he might have suffered a lightning strike. The medical examiner told the family that he also suffered a contusion to the head.


A witness at the scene wanted to state that the crowd was not a bunch of drunken people who had no idea the storm was coming. They saw the storm coming but it just intensified too quickly. “From the drizzle it went to a very hard downpour, and within 5-10 seconds that gust came in.” He said that the main tent and the smaller tent started to lift in the air and people were screaming, poles were flying. He explained it as “pure chaos, blood all over the place.” This witness said that after he found his wife and saw she was okay he went to help the victim with three family members, one of whom was a part-time firefighter. They performed CPR on the victim for approximately 15 minutes.


This is such a tragedy that never should have happened. If the tent was supposed to be able to withstand winds of up to 90 mph, how did this occur? Who do you think is at fault in this mishap? The contractor? The inspector? The owner of the bar? Leave your thoughts on our blogpost.


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Applebee’s Settles in DUI Crash Lawsuit

Posted June 2, 2012 by HarmfulDrugInfoCenter
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(June 1, 2012) – A family of four was stopped at a red light, and their lives were forever changed. The family’s vehicle was rear-ended by a drunk driver, injuring all the passengers in the car. Their 2-year-old son was critically injured, sustaining 80 percent permanent brain damage.


This drunk driver had seven (7) previous DWI convictions in two different states. The family is hoping that the court will recognize these convictions as felonies so that this driver can be locked up behind bars under a life sentence.


The family of the now 6-year-old boy brought a personal injury lawsuit against Applebee’s, alleging that the restaurant served the driver too much alcohol, even though he was visibly intoxicated.  After the accident, an investigation found the drunk driver’s receipt from the day of the accident, which showed he was served twenty-three (23) drinks in a two-hour period at an Applebee’s location in Texas. His blood-alcohol level was more than 3x the legal limit, as stated in the police report.


According to the family, they believe that the management at Applebee’s allowed the driver to leave the restaurant “drunk,” resulting in this terrible accident. The family is seeking more than $10 million for injuries sustained in this drunk-driving crash, as well as the financial burden of their son’s physical needs, loss of earnings, past medical expenses, emotional trauma and mental anguish.


As for the cause of action, this suit likely cited Texas’ Dram Shop Act. The law, as in many other states, allows businesses to be sued for damages arising from serving too much alcohol to a customer who later causes a crash.


Although the Applebee’s settlement amount is being kept secret, with this money, the family is hoping to purchase a specially equipped van for their son, along with a nurse to help with his care around-the-clock.


This settlement is a reminder to establishments that serve alcohol, that they have a responsibility to exercise good judgment and be extremely careful when their patrons have clearly had too much to drink. This terrible accident never would have happened if the bartender took action to cut this man off. It is true that everyone has a different level of tolerance, but it is safe to say that any human being would be too drunk to operate a vehicle after twenty three alcoholic beverages.


What do you think about this article? Should the Applebee’s server have cut this man off sooner? Should the server have prohibited this man from operating his vehicle? Follow us on Twitter, and become a fan of our Facebook page. For more information, stop by our website, or contact one of our attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878).

Salmonella Found In Diamond Pet Foods, Leads to Nine-State Recall

Posted June 1, 2012 by HarmfulDrugInfoCenter
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(June 1, 2012) A Diamond Pet Foods salmonella scare has led to a nine-state recall. A New Jersey couple filed a lawsuit last week after their infant son was sickened by the contaminated dog food, which was made in a Gaston, South Carolina plant in April. Their son spent three days in a hospital, and suffered gastrointestinal injuries, as well as diarrhea and pain.


In addition to this couple, fifteen other people have become sick after coming into contact with this tainted dog food. As a result, Diamond Pet Foods is recalling several varieties of dry dog food that may also contain salmonella.


The company claims that no pets got sick, but one woman begs to differ. She claims that all three of her dogs have gotten sick since February, after eating Diamond Pet Food’s “Kirkland Signature” brand chicken and rice formula. She says that her pets have been vomiting, diarrhea, bloody stool, and acting lethargic.


Unfortunately, Diamond Pet Foods is no stranger to recalling their products. In 2005, they killed dozens of dogs after producing food that was contaminated with toxic mold. They later offered a $3.5 million settlement after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) determined that the deadly fungus entered the plant because of Diamond’s failure to test twelve shipments of corn.


This most recent incident of pet food contamination has not yet been identified as salmonella by the FDA, but the facility was cited for poor contamination prevention efforts, as well as messy food storage areas, so salmonella may not be too far-fetched.


If you buy pet food manufactured by Diamond Pet Foods, you may want to return it, or look on their website to see if the food you have has been recalled. Salmonella is not the type of food-borne illness you want to endure, and the same goes for your pets. Especially when you will be the one cleaning up after them.


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