US drugmaker Eli Lilly has received a dressing down from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for failing to make the risks of its Cymbalta (duloxetine) clear enough in medical journal advertisements that promoted the drug to treat nerve pain caused by diabetes.

In a letter, the FDA ordered the company to stop running the advertisements. The agency said the ads neglected to mention any of the side effects associated with Cymbalta treatment, so were misleading. Lilly says it has already stopped showing them, as the campaign ended in the first quarter of 2005.

Cymbalta is approved for treating depression, stress urinary incontinence (in Europe only) and peripheral neuropathy in diabetes, and is one of several new products at Lilly that are helping it overcome falling demand for its top-selling product, the schizophrenia drug Zyprexa (olanzapine). Sales of Cymbalta rose 13% in the third quarter of this year to reach $182 million dollars [[21/10/05c]].