Pregnancy Category C
Risk Summary — There are no adequate and well-controlled studies of duloxetine administration in pregnant women. In animal studies with duloxetine, fetal weights were decreased but there was no evidence of teratogenicity in pregnant rats and rabbits at oral doses administered during the period of organogenesis up to 4 and 7 times the maximum recommended human dose (MRHD) of 120 mg/day, respectively. When duloxetine was administered orally to pregnant rats throughout gestation and lactation, pup weights at birth and pup survival to 1 day postpartum were decreased at a dose 2 times the MRHD. At this dose, pup behaviors consistent with increased reactivity, such as increased startle response to noise and decreased habituation of locomotor activity were observed. Post-weaning growth was not adversely affected. Duloxetine should be used in pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
Fetal/Neonatal Adverse Reaction — Neonates exposed during pregnancy to serotonin — norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have developed complications requiring prolonged hospitalization, respiratory support, and tube feeding which can arise immediately upon delivery. Reported clinical findings have included respiratory distress, cyanosis, apnea, seizures, temperature instability, feeding difficulty, vomiting, hypoglycemia, hypotonia, hypertonia, hyperreflexia, tremor, jitteriness, irritability, and constant crying. These features are consistent with either a direct toxic effect of the SNRIs or SSRIs, or possibly, a drug discontinuation syndrome. It should be noted that, in some cases, the clinical picture is consistent with serotonin syndrome [see Warnings and Precautions (5.4)].
Animal Data — In animal reproduction studies, duloxetine has been shown to have adverse effects on embryo/fetal and postnatal development.
When duloxetine was administered orally to pregnant rats and rabbits during the period of organogenesis, there was no evidence of teratogenicity at doses up to 45 mg/kg/day (4 times the maximum recommended human dose (MRHD) of 120 mg/day on a mg/m2 basis, in rat; 7 times the MRHD in rabbit). However, fetal weights were decreased at this dose, with a no-effect dose of 10 mg/kg/day approximately equal to the MRHD in rats; 2 times the MRHD in rabbits).
When duloxetine was administered orally to pregnant rats throughout gestation and lactation, the survival of pups to 1 day postpartum and pup body weights at birth and during the lactation period were decreased at a dose of 30 mg/kg/day (2 times the MRHD); the no-effect dose was 10 mg/kg/day. Furthermore, behaviors consistent with increased reactivity, such as increased startle response to noise and decreased habituation of locomotor activity, were observed in pups following maternal exposure to 30 mg/kg/day. Post-weaning growth and reproductive performance of the progeny were not affected adversely by maternal duloxetine treatment.
Duloxetine is present in human milk. In a published study, lactating women who were weaning their infants were given duloxetine. At steady state, the concentration of duloxetine in breast milk was approximately 25% that of maternal plasma. The estimated daily infant dose was approximately 0.14% of the maternal dose. The developmental and health benefits of human milk feeding should be considered along with the mother’s clinical need for duloxetine and any potential adverse effects on the milk-fed child from the drug or from the underlying maternal condition. Exercise caution when duloxetine is administered to a nursing woman.
The disposition of duloxetine was studied in 6 lactating women who were at least 12 weeks postpartum and had elected to wean their infants. The women were given 40 mg of duloxetine twice daily for 3.5 days. The peak concentration measured in breast milk occurred at a median of 3 hours after the dose. The amount of duloxetine in breast milk was approximately 7 mcg/day while on that dose; the estimated daily infant dose was approximately 2 mcg/kg/day. The presence of duloxetine metabolites in breast milk was not examined.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder — In pediatric patients aged 7 to 17 years, efficacy was demonstrated in one 10-week, placebo-controlled trial. The study included 272 pediatric patients with GAD of which 47% were 7 to 11 years of age. Duloxetine demonstrated superiority over placebo as measured by greater improvement in the Pediatric Anxiety Rating Scale (PARS) for GAD severity score [see Clinical Studies (14.2)]. The safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients less than 7 years of age have not been established.
Major Depressive Disorder — Efficacy was not demonstrated in two 10-week, placebo-controlled trials with 800 pediatric patients with MDD, age 7 to 17. Neither duloxetine nor an active control (indicated for treatment of pediatric depression) was superior to placebo. The safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients less than 7 years of age have not been established.
The most frequently observed adverse reactions in the clinical trials included nausea, headache, decreased weight, and abdominal pain. Decreased appetite and weight loss have been observed in association with the use of SSRIs and SNRIs. Perform regular monitoring of weight and growth in children and adolescents treated with an SNRI such as duloxetine [see Adverse Reactions (6.11)].
Use of duloxetine in a child or adolescent must balance the potential risks with the clinical need [see Boxed Warning and Warnings and Precautions (5.1)].
Animal Data — Duloxetine administration to young rats from post-natal day 21 (weaning) through post-natal day 90 (adult) resulted in decreased body weights that persisted into adulthood, but recovered when drug treatment was discontinued; slightly delayed (~1.5 days) sexual maturation in females, without any effect on fertility; and a delay in learning a complex task in adulthood, which was not observed after drug treatment was discontinued. These effects were observed at the high dose of 45 mg/kg/day (2 times the MRHD, for a child); the no-effect-level was 20 mg/kg/day (≈1 times the MRHD, for a child).
Of the 2,418 patients in premarketing clinical studies of duloxetine for MDD, 5.9% (143) were 65 years of age or over. Of the 1041 patients in CLBP premarketing studies, 21.2% (221) were 65 years of age or over. Of the 487 patients in OA premarketing studies, 40.5% (197) were 65 years of age or over. Of the 1,074 patients in the DPNP premarketing studies, 33% (357) were 65 years of age or over. In the MDD, GAD, DPNP, OA, CLBP and other studies, no overall differences in safety or effectiveness were generally observed between these subjects and younger subjects, and other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients, but greater sensitivity of some older individuals cannot be ruled out. SSRIs and SNRIs, including duloxetine has been associated with cases of clinically significant hyponatremia in elderly patients, who may be at greater risk for this adverse event [see Warnings and Precautions (5.13)].
In an analysis of data from all placebo-controlled-trials, patients treated with duloxetine reported a higher rate of falls compared to patients treated with placebo. The increased risk appears to be proportional to a patient’s underlying risk for falls. Underlying risk appears to increase steadily with age. As elderly patients tend to have a higher prevalence of risk factors for falls such as medications, medical comorbidities and gait disturbances, the impact of increasing age by itself on falls during treatment with duloxetine is unclear. Falls with serious consequences including bone fractures and hospitalizations have been reported [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3) and Adverse Reactions (6.10)].
Duloxetine’s half-life is similar in men and women. Dosage adjustment based on gender is not necessary.
Duloxetine bioavailability (AUC) appears to be reduced by about one-third in smokers. Dosage modifications are not recommended for smokers.
No specific pharmacokinetic study was conducted to investigate the effects of race.
Patients with clinically evident hepatic impairment have decreased duloxetine metabolism and elimination. After a single 20 mg dose of duloxetine, 6 cirrhotic patients with moderate liver impairment (Child-Pugh Class B) had a mean plasma duloxetine clearance about 15% that of age- and gender-matched healthy subjects, with a 5-fold increase in mean exposure (AUC). Although Cmax was similar to normals in the cirrhotic patients, the half-life was about 3 times longer [see Dosage and Administration (2.6) and Warnings and Precautions (5.14)].
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