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Cymbalta ® (duloxetine)
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Cymbalta (duloxetine): Fertility, pregnancy and lactation
There are no adequate data on the use of duloxetine in pregnant women.
In animal studies, duloxetine had no effect on male fertility, and effects in females were only evident at doses that caused maternal toxicity.
Studies in animals have shown reproductive toxicity at systemic exposure levels (AUC) of duloxetine lower than the maximum clinical exposure.
Two large observational studies do not suggest an overall increased risk of major congenital malformation (one from the US including 2,500 exposed to duloxetine during the first trimester and one from the EU including 1,500 exposed to duloxetine during the first trimester). The analysis on specific malformations such as cardiac malformations shows inconclusive results.
In the EU study, maternal exposure to duloxetine during late pregnancy (at any time from 20 weeks gestational age to delivery) was associated with an increased risk for preterm birth (less than 2-fold, corresponding to approximately 6 additional premature births per 100 women treated with duloxetine late in pregnancy). The majority occurred between 35 and 36 weeks of gestation. This association was not seen in the US study.
The US observational data have provided evidence of an increased risk (less than 2-fold) of postpartum haemorrhage following duloxetine exposure within the month prior to birth.
Epidemiological data have suggested that the use of SSRIs in pregnancy, particularly in late pregnancy, may increase the risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension in the newborn (PPHN). Although no studies have investigated the association of PPHN to SNRI treatment, this potential risk cannot be ruled out with duloxetine, taking into account the related mechanism of action (inhibition of the re-uptake of serotonin).
As with other serotonergic medicinal products, discontinuation symptoms may occur in the neonate after maternal duloxetine use near term. Discontinuation symptoms seen with duloxetine may include hypotonia, tremor, jitteriness, feeding difficulty, respiratory distress and seizures. The majority of cases have occurred either at birth or within a few days of birth.
Cymbalta should be used in pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the foetus. Women should be advised to notify their physician if they become pregnant, or intend to become pregnant, during therapy.
Duloxetine is very weakly excreted into human milk, based on a study of 6 lactating patients who did not breast-feed their children. The estimated daily infant dose on a mg/kg basis is approximately 0.14% of the maternal dose. As the safety of duloxetine in infants is not known, the use of Cymbalta while breast-feeding is not recommended.
Cymbalta [Summary of Product Characteristics]. Utrecht, The Netherlands: Eli Lilly Nederland B.V.
Date of Last Review: 27 July 2023