In reality grief is not a sickness waiting for a cure; rather, it is a natural response to the loss that is an unavoidable part of life. And sadly, the older we get the more likely we are to experience the loss of family and friends.
With this in mind there are those who think that medication is an answer to the experience of grief in the elderly. In fact, the antidepressant Cymbalta (duloxetine) has been trialled as a “treatment on grief” - assuming that grief could really be treated. Dr John Shuster was the principal investigator in this drug trial of Cymbalta - sponsored by Eli Lilly. And as with most trials, it was a mere 8 weeks – not long enough to accurately assess the side-effects. In passing, it is worth mentioning that out of 44 patients referred and screened for this trial, 26 were enrolled and only 18 actually completed (3 dropped out because of the drug side-effects). [You can read the trial specifications here.]
It seems that Eli Lilly are ahead of the game in testing Cymbalta for “bereavement-related depression” - now that DSM-5 has changed the diagnostic guidelines so that many more people are likely to be medicated for feeling down following a bereavement. As you may realise, the previous guidelines (DSM-IV) had a 2 month “bereavement exclusion” built in - to delay the experience of grief from being hastily diagnosed and medicated as depression. But the whole notion of trying to put a time-scale on grieving seems to me quite absurd. I touch on this in my blog on grief here, “No stranger to Grief”. [...]