Q. I'm responding to a column in which a young woman committed suicide after starting Cymbalta. I worry that others will use this tragedy to say that antidepressants are dangerous.

I take the same pills she did: clonazepam and Cymbalta. These drugs allow me to have feelings again, beyond just the agony of despair. With counseling, I was able to step back and survey what had become of my life when I was most depressed: ruined relationships, lost money and jobs.

These drugs can be life saving for many people. I truly feel, though, that medication must be combined with therapy. It is not the doctor's fault for giving out samples of the medication. They usually come with the full information packet.

A. Many people do indeed benefit from antidepressants. Nevertheless, patients and families must be told to contact the prescribing physician if suicidal thoughts occur when starting a new medication.

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  1. SHH

    I too think it is interesting how different drugs effect different people. Many psychologists believe anti-depressants offer nothing more then the “placebo effect” and have no real impact on the way we think and feel. Important factors to consider when taking an anti-depressant in the midst of suicidal ideation is that close monitoring and therapy is an absolute must due to the nature of the suicidal patient.
    When one is adjusting to an anti-depressant, they may become more motivated to follow-through on their thoughts. Many patients who are significant depressed and have suicidal ideation are too depressed to actually follow through… thus, when one finally has the energy to do something (as offered by medication), one may actually act on those plans.
    I am a therapist, I struggle with depression and anxiety, and I have taken Cymbalta for nearly a year, in conjunction with close monitoring from my psychologist and psychiatrist (weekly visits at first). I have felt better then ever and very much enjoy the placebo effect :-)

  2. DK

    It is interesting that no drug affects everyone in the same way. Cymbalta can be a lifesaver for some, including me. I had been taking Remeron for years after disastrous trials of Zoloft and Paxil, both of which made me more suicidal and homicidal than I was when I first went to the doctor. The Remeron eliminated the worst depression symptoms, but I was not interested in any of my hobbies anymore, and only occasionally sociable. I thought that was the best I could hope for. Then my doctor added Cymbalta to help with my fibromyalgia pain. Not only has it helped with the pain, I am more my former self than I have been in years. I am now enjoying my old hobbies again, and am much more social.

  3. fabala

    Although everyone does need to be aware of side effects, it is definitely true that everyone metabolizes drugs differently. Cymbalta has been the only antidepressant I’ve ever taken that worked for me, and it works well for me. I have diabetes and the drug has also helped with associated pain. I can now function normally and haven’t had a single thought of suicide. For me, it’s a miracle drug.

  4. possom dog

    about three years ago my wife committed suicide and had been on many different drugs, cymbalta being one. I don’t know that any of the meds caused her death as she had those type of thoughts prior to taking meds. 1 year ago i was told I had complex grief along with depression and was prescribed cymbalta, after two months all I thought about was death. I stopped taking any meds for depression and it went away. Be very careful if you take any of these meds.

  5. differentdrummer

    I don’t think that antidepressants as a group are dangerous; however, I’ve never experienced anything like the unprovoked suicidality that Cymbalta created. Within days, I had five active and realistic plans, and it took about two weeks to get the drug out of my system so my brain stopped cooking up new strategies to off myself. Cymbalta is, in my opinion, the most dangerous medication I’ve ever been exposed to.

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