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Cymbalta ® (duloxetine)
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Cymbalta (duloxetine): Pharmacokinetic properties
Duloxetine is well absorbed after oral administration with a Cmax occurring 6 hours post dose.
Duloxetine is administered as a single enantiomer. Duloxetine is extensively metabolised by oxidative enzymes (CYP1A2 and the polymorphic CYP2D6), followed by conjugation. The pharmacokinetics of duloxetine demonstrate large intersubject variability (generally 50-60%), partly due to gender, age, smoking status, and CYP2D6 metaboliser status.
Absorption: Duloxetine is well absorbed after oral administration, with a Cmax occurring 6 hours post- dose. The absolute oral bioavailability of duloxetine ranged from 32% to 80% (mean of 50%). Food delays the time to reach the peak concentration from 6 to 10 hours and it marginally decreases the extent of absorption (approximately 11%). These changes do not have any clinical significance.
Distribution: Duloxetine is approximately 96% bound to human plasma proteins. Duloxetine binds to both albumin and alpha1-acid glycoprotein. Protein binding is not affected by renal or hepatic impairment.
Biotransformation: Duloxetine is extensively metabolised and the metabolites are excreted principally in urine. Both cytochromes P450-2D6 and 1A2 catalyse the formation of the two major metabolites, glucuronide conjugate of 4-hydroxy duloxetine and sulfate conjugate of 5-hydroxy, 6-methoxy duloxetine. Based upon in vitro studies, the circulating metabolites of duloxetine are considered pharmacologically inactive. The pharmacokinetics of duloxetine in patients who are poor metabolisers with respect to CYP2D6 has not been specifically investigated. Limited data suggest that the plasma levels of duloxetine are higher in these patients.
Elimination: The elimination half-life of duloxetine ranges from 8 to 17 hours (mean of 12 hours). After an intravenous dose the plasma clearance of duloxetine ranges from 22 l/hr to 46 l/hr (mean of 36 l/hr). After an oral dose the apparent plasma clearance of duloxetine ranges from 33 to 261 l/hr (mean 101 l/hr).
Gender: Pharmacokinetic differences have been identified between males and females (apparent plasma clearance is approximately 50% lower in females). Based upon the overlap in the range of clearance, gender-based pharmacokinetic differences do not justify the recommendation for using a lower dose for female patients.
Age: Pharmacokinetic differences have been identified between younger and elderly females (≥65 years) (AUC increases by about 25% and half-life is about 25% longer in the elderly), although the magnitude of these changes is not sufficient to justify adjustments to the dose. As a general recommendation, caution should be exercised when treating the elderly.
Renal impairment: End stage renal disease (ESRD) patients receiving dialysis had 2-fold higher duloxetine Cmax and AUC values compared with healthy subjects. Pharmacokinetic data on duloxetine is limited in patients with mild or moderate renal impairment.
Hepatic impairment: Moderate liver disease (Child-Pugh Class B) affected the pharmacokinetics of duloxetine. Compared with healthy subjects, the apparent plasma clearance of duloxetine was 79% lower, the apparent terminal half-life was 2.3-times longer, and the AUC was 3.7-times higher in patients with moderate liver disease. The pharmacokinetics of duloxetine and its metabolites have not been studied in patients with mild or severe hepatic insufficiency.
Breast-feeding mothers: The disposition of duloxetine was studied in 6 lactating women who were at least 12-weeks postpartum. Duloxetine is detected in breast milk, and steady-state concentrations in breast milk are about one-fourth those in plasma. The amount of duloxetine in breast milk is approximately 7µg/day while on 40 mg twice-daily dosing. Lactation did not influence duloxetine pharmacokinetics.
Paediatric population: Pharmacokinetics of duloxetine in paediatric patients aged 7 to 17 years with major depressive disorder following oral administration of 20 to 120 mg once daily dosing regimen was characterized using population modelling analyses based on data from 3 studies. The model-predicted duloxetine steady-state plasma concentrations in paediatric patients were mostly within the concentration range observed in adult patients.
Cymbalta [Summary of Product Characteristics]. Utrecht, The Netherlands: Eli Lilly Nederland B.V.
Date of Last Review: 14 December 2021