Depression and The Recession: Cymbalta Sales Are on the Rise
By Caitlin McDevitt
Sunday, August 30, 2009
During a downturn, we tend to seek the “bright spots” — sectors or products that are doing well when all the rest are struggling. For example, there were plenty of reports over the past year about retail items — lipstick, chocolate, and macaroni and cheese — that were bucking downward trends and selling well during the slump. While these stories were cautiously upbeat, news of an uptick in antidepressant sales despite — or perhaps because of — the recession was just plain depressing.
Helplessness, pessimism and persistent sadness — the main symptoms of depression — didn’t seem to abate as the economy crumbled.
About 164 million antidepressant prescriptions were written in 2008, 4 million more than in 2007, according to IMS Health, a health-care information and consulting company.
Antidepressants were the third most prescribed type of drug in 2008, hitting $9.6 billion in sales, up from $9.4 billion the year before. Last month, Eli Lilly reported that second-quarter sales for Cymbalta — which is on the verge of surpassing Effexor as the nation’s best-selling antidepressant — increased 14 percent over the past year. Our national reliance on these drugs is a stubborn trend. A study published in the August issue of Archives of General Psychiatry found that from 1996 to 2005, antidepressant use in the United States doubled.
Ah well, not to worry–if life is going to hell on every level, just cure it. We need cures, we Americans. We demand them and we demand them now. In place of grocery money or catching up on the mortgage, we elect to swill down nearly $10 billion to distract ourselves.
Pity the poor and desperate during the last Great Depression (economic as well as mental). An evening at the local movie house (complete with its Arabian Nights stars in the ceilings) was all there was, short of a stiff shot of Old Underarm. No side effects other than a hangover or a used ticket-stub.
Eli Lilly is not depressed, the firm is doing great, chasing down Wyeth’s Effexor in a race to suicide and vacuousness. On the Wyeth site, they state (no doubt to be displayed in court, shortly after the funeral);
Suicidality and Antidepressant Drugs
Antidepressants increased the risk compared to placebo of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children, teens, and young adults. Depression and certain other psychiatric disorders are themselves associated with increases in the risk of suicide. Patients of all ages who are started on antidepressant therapy should be monitored appropriately and observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, or unusual changes in behavior. EFFEXOR XR® (venlafaxine HCl) is not approved for use in children and teens.
Running hard at their heels down the homestretch of the Zombie Stakes, Cymbalta (can’t you just hear the Music Man’s cymbal crash?) provides, without the slightest degree of embarrassment:
- Dry mouth
- Loss of appetite
- Sore throat or runny nose
- A decreased sex drive (Lilly offers CIALIS for that)
- Upper respiratory tract infection
So, in your nauseated state, sweating and unable to sleep, yet fatigued and fighting diarrhea, weak and vomiting, you at least by god will not be depressed.
Obese, ignorant, wigged out on drugs and lied to by our doctors and pill-makers, we stumble toward the defeat of any meaningful health care reform, in the thrall of those grabbing our dough and poisoning our kids.
Meanwhile, the useless and ignorant Department of Homeland Security wages what they dare to call a War on Drugs. I have little use for ‘wars’ on anything societal, but if we must have one, let’s please name the enemy–he is among us, wrecking lives each and every day.
Prescription anti-depressant use in this country doubled in the past nine years. The imploding American Dream is fast turning into the American Mirage, hazily perceived as we lurch from toilet to bed, too nauseated to sleep, too drugged to care.
The main detractors to a meaningful reorganization of our broken health care system are Eli Lilly and their pharmaceutical co-conspirators. We’re going to let them succeed, because we’re too frightened and overwhelmed to stop them.
What a legacy for the just-buried Edward Kennedy.