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Brand name drugs like Cymbalta have become unaffordable for many patients. That’s why most people are dispensed generic Cymbalta (duloxetine). We have received complaints that some generic formulations are not up to snuff.

Q. I have taken Cymbalta for depression and pain. The generic I have been given just plain doesn’t help me, so I’ve been looking for an “authorized generic” that would be identical to the brand name.

One pharmacy refused to order it because they said they would lose money. Another looked at me like I was asking for a unicorn.

My insurance company didn’t have a clue what I was talking about. Cymbalta as a brand name isn’t covered and I cannot afford the $250 a month it would cost out of pocket. Can you help me?

A. Authorized generic drugs are identical to the brand name products, sometimes manufactured in the same facility. Prasco initially sold an authorized generic version of Cymbalta (duloxetine) but no longer does so. A spokesperson told us that there is currently no authorized generic for Cymbalta.

Readers who Report Problems with Generic Cymbalta (Duloxetine):

You are not the only visitor to our website who has reported problems with generic Cymbalta (duloxetine). Here are some other stories from readers:

S. wrote about her quest for an authorized generic Cymbalta (duloxetine):

“I asked my pharmacy a few months back about ordering an authorized generic form of duloxetine. The technician had a ‘deer in the headlights’ look on her face.

“I’ve tried two different manufacturers of generic ‘equivalents’ for Cymbalta and neither are worth the trip to the store. Thankfully, the brand name showed up finally from Eli Lilly after four months of waiting because my income (or lack of it) qualifies me to get for free medicine. I don’t know what happened at their Lilly Cares program but to make someone wait for meds for almost five months is just plain disgraceful. That’s what sent me on my quest for an authorized generic in the first place.”

Alice shared this experience about generic Cymbalta (duloxetine) for pain:

“I have completed three experiments with the generic duloxetine, each from a different manufacturer of the medication. All failed to relieve my pain symptoms. However, each time I returned to brand name Cymbalta between trials, the sharp pain and neck stiffness was controlled within days.

“I then tried an increase in the dosage to 40 mg and found no difference. I was able to find some relief when I doubled my dose to 60 mg, but the side effects of the medication were too much of a concern. Whatever the variances allowed in production of these generics, it seems to be preventing the active ingredient from providing pain relief in my case.

“My insurance won’t cover brand name Cymbalta. My appeal was denied because: ‘The generic products are A-rated by the FDA for bioequivalence and therapeutic equivalence to the brand name product. An A-rated product will produce comparable absorption and blood levels to the brand name product and would not be expected result in an increase incidence of adverse effects or sub-therapeutic effect compared to the brand product…’

“A one month prescription of brand name Cymbalta costs about $250, so I am now doing a trial using the brand and generic on alternate days to reduce my overall cost. I would be most interested in any research on this medication that might overturn the FDA ruling.”

Judy offered this:

“I do not know where to turn. I was switched from name brand Cymbalta to duloxetine made by a company based in India. I had an immediate return of depression symptoms including suicidal ideation. Many people on the net complained about its ineffectiveness.

“I contacted the FDA and the Indian company wanted my entire supply of pills. I sent them six. I received a new refill of duloxetine from the company with a different lot number. Already I am stable, happy and more functional. I believe the generic drug company released the formulation with a lower amount of effective ingredient just to see if they could get by with it. This latest supply is effective. Seems that should be illegal.”

Kristin’s experience:

“I have been on Cymbalta for the past four years. I have been too afraid of the suicidal thoughts returning to try and go off of this drug. I lost my job and insurance and it costs $250.00 to get 30 capsules!

“I can’t afford it and have not had it for 4 days and I am barely able to function let alone work. Withdrawal started after 24 hours off the drug and has progressively gotten worse. I have severe dizziness, headache, brain zaps that feel like lightning bolts going down through my arms and out of my hands. My hands are tingling and hypersensitive. My GI tract is in hyper drive and my appetite is way down. I am also moody and very sensitive.

“What the H#**!!! I am an RN. How can I take care of my patients like this? Due to the cost of this drug I don’t even have any to wean myself off it. HELP!”

Brand Name Drugs from Canada:

If you purchase brand name Cymbalta from a legitimate Canadian pharmacy, the cost could be about one third as much as in the U.S. To learn more about authorized generics and reliable Canadian pharmacies, you may want to read the newly-revised Guide to Saving Money on Medicines we are sending you. This 20-page Guide is available for download at PeoplesPharmacy.com for $2.99.

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  1. Gigi

    I have been taking a generic Cymbalta for years which was produced by a company named Citron. I recently filled my RX on 11/7/17. My pharmacy has changed to a different supplier, Teva. I have not felt well for a couple of weeks due to a cold so it took me awhile to figure out what is happening. I’m in withdrawal. This medicine is not working! I am dizzy, lethargic, having headaches and having tingling in my face. I am also experiencing rapid cycling. My pharmacist has a two week supply of the original brand he will give me to try, I know it will help, I just wish I had put two and two together sooner.

    • Doreen

      Oh my goodness! I just went through the same exact thing with the same two medications! I have been taking Cymbalta from Citron for years and I was given the Teva brand this last prescription. Not thinking much of the change I decided to try it and I have been in so much pain and depressed for the past 2 weeks! Luckily I spoke to my pharmacist and she switched me back to the Citron brand. Hard to believe the same medication from two different companies can be so different!

  2. Lisa

    I am reading all comments and agree. I have a written prescription in my purse, just in case I locate a pharmacy I can find the original Cymbalta from.
    But, it isn’t looking possible. So, what is the solution? How do we get back the original brand of Cymbalta?? And our insurance should pay for original, because It does work!!! Very frustrating!!!!!!!

  3. Mike

    My wife had good results with the 60 mg from Eli Lilly but the first generic (don’t know the manufacturer) did not work, and she went back on original. Insurance demanded a generic so we ended up with 60 mg manufactured by Citron, worked great. Last refill was switched to Teva, 2 weeks of hell before we realized it wasn’t working. 2nd pill of Citron, back to normal.

  4. Sherrill

    I am so glad that I am not alone in knowing that the generic Cymbalta doesn’t work. This is the second time I’ve tried the generic in 6 years. I was hoping this time it would work since it’s been a few years from the last time I tried it. I’m going to have to pay the $240.00 for Cymbalta, because I can’t go on like this, I’m so miserable. But it’s such a relief knowing it’s not all in my head.

  5. Bernie

    Agree fully on the ineffectiveness of generic Cymbalta. Being a thyroid replacement patient as well, I face the same problems with those drugs. The combined possibilities of several generics at once is not worth the savings to me but I can afford the exorbitant prices begrudgingly.

    Why don’t the prices of the name brand drugs come down when the generics appear? Could it be that continuing to profit via the folks that recognize the difference is fostered by the lack of generic success. If they work so well, why would anyone pay the NBO price?

  6. Kevin P

    Was prescribed duloxetine for nerve pain. After just five doses 20 mg I had severe reactions. My entire body is in pain, a rash on my neck and head, my mouth is completely raw as is my throat. This is very scary as I am a stage 4 cancer patient.

    I stopped taking it when I realized that it was causing my issues. I cannot eat can only drink water and I am not sure what can be done about it. I have been unable to find any info about this reaction and am very concerned about my health. Has any one experienced any thing like this?

  7. Jacqueline
    New York State

    I just found this site. I feel horrible to read that so many others are going through the same thing that I am. But at least I now know that I am not alone.

    I have been on Cymbalta for years, and it has worked beautifully for my depression and Fibromyalgia. But in May of 2017 I began feeling very depressed with body aches, and it just got worse. I then realized that my pharmacy changed from the generic Duloxetine made by Apotex, which worked really well for me, to another generic made by Teva, which does not work at all. My doctor signed paper work for me to get the name brand Cymbalta, but I couldn’t afford the $240.00 price, and that was after my insurance company dropped it to a lower tier. I ended up spending the summer with severe depression and thoughts of suicide while working with my doctor trying to find another medication that works as well and/or trying to find a pharmacy that distributes the Apotex brand. Neither generic Duloxetine by Teva, which is made in India, or another generic by Breckenridge, work well at all. After spending so many years finding Cymbalta, which works so well for me and so many others, it is very disheartening to find that it is in the hands of the distributors and the pharmacies, who go by the best price; and the drug companies making the generics. None of them seem to care as to how much their poorly made products are hurting the lives of the people who depend on these medications.

  8. Teresa
    McDonough, GA

    I have been on Cymbalta for about 6 or 7 years for fibromyaglia. The generic duloxetine does nothing for me. I am in terrible pain and nothing seems to help. Eli Lilly at one time was supplying name brand Cymbalta to Prasco Labs and being sold as a generic.

    When I finally realized what was going on, I called Eli Lilly for help. They gave me their information for Eli Lilly helps and another contact, but I am on Medicare and no coupons or other programs will help with the cost. Something is not right with these generic manufacturers!!!!!! I can’t believe the FDA will not do anything about these poorly made generics and letting people suffer because of it.

    Why do we get drugs from countries such as India????? GET REAL PEOPLE, because I am totally outraged and in pain!!!!

  9. Serena

    I am concerned that my doctor choose this medication for depression. I do not have any pain issues. Many years ago, I had success with generic Prozac. I am now wondering why she did not try that. SSRIs have helped me in the past, just seems that after being on them for several years, they stop working. I have been off antidepressants for a year. I have only been on Duloxetine 30 mg for 4 days. I do not know the generic vendor, how do you find this out? I have noticed I am slightly off balance (I am not usually). I am slightly aware of my heart in my chest.

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