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.”
“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.