Cymbalta, treatment for major depression hits the market

Cymbalta, a new treatment for major depression, is now available by prescription in pharmacies across the United States, Eli Lilly and Company has announced.

More than half of the nation's pharmacies, including drug store chains and independents, have stocked Cymbalta and can begin filling prescriptions immediately. Lilly expects more than 80 percent of pharmacies -- more than 44,000 stores -- to have Cymbalta on their shelves by Aug. 30. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Cymbalta, a balanced and potent selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SSNRI), on Aug. 3 for the treatment of major depression.

"The availability of Cymbalta is a long-awaited milestone for patients and physicians -- it's an effective antidepressant that helps treat both the emotional and physical symptoms of depression," said John Lechleiter, executive vice president of pharmaceutical products and corporate development at Lilly. "It's the sort of breakthrough, born out of decades of investment and experience in neuroscience, that is Lilly's hallmark." Today, only 25-35 percent of patients treated for depression in clinical studies experience relief from all of their disease symptoms.(1) Patients who don't become virtually symptom free are likely to suffer from depression again.

Neurotransmitters, chemicals that help nerve cells exchange messages, are believed to help regulate a person's emotions and sensitivity to pain. Scientists believe that if these neurotransmitters are out of balance, a person may become depressed and be more likely to feel painful physical symptoms. The combination of emotional and painful physical effects of depression can have a tremendous negative impact on a person's quality of life.(2)

Duloxetine hydrochloride also is being studied for the treatment of stress urinary incontinence and diabetic neuropathic pain, conditions believed to respond to treatment with both serotonin and norepinephrine.

Nearly 19 million Americans suffer from depression each year, making it one of the leading causes of disability according to the World Health Organization. Current medical literature suggests that patients who are successfully treated for all their depressive symptoms, including both the emotional and painful physical ones, may be more likely to achieve remission than those whose physical symptoms are not alleviated.

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