"What are antidepressants and how do they work?
Antidepressants are a class of drugs that reduce symptoms of depressive disorders by correcting chemical imbalances of neurotransmitters in the brain. Chemical imbalances may be respo"...
Suicidal Thoughts And Behaviors In Adolescents And Young Adults
Patients with major depressive disorder (MDD), both adult and pediatric, may experience worsening of their depression and/or the emergence of suicidal ideation and behavior (suicidality) or unusual changes in behavior, whether or not they are taking antidepressant medications, and this risk may persist until significant remission occurs. Suicide is a known risk of depression and certain other psychiatric disorders, and these disorders themselves are the strongest predictors of suicide. There has been a long-standing concern, however, that antidepressants may have a role in inducing worsening of depression and the emergence of suicidality in certain patients during the early phases of treatment.
Pooled analyses of short-term placebo-controlled trials of antidepressant drugs (SSRIs and others) showed that these drugs increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children, adolescents, and young adults (ages 18-24) with major depressive disorder (MDD) and other psychiatric disorders. Short-term studies did not show an increase in the risk of suicidality with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults beyond age 24; there was a reduction with antidepressants compared to placebo in adults aged 65 and older.
The pooled analyses of placebo-controlled trials in children and adolescents with MDD, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), or other psychiatric disorders included a total of 24 short-term trials of 9 antidepressant drugs in over 4400 patients. The pooled analyses of placebo-controlled trials in adults with MDD or other psychiatric disorders included a total of 295 short-term trials (median duration of 2 months) of 11 antidepressant drugs in over 77,000 patients. There was considerable variation in risk of suicidality among drugs, but a tendency toward an increase in the younger patients for almost all drugs studied. There were differences in absolute risk of suicidality across the different indications, with the highest incidence in MDD. The risk of differences (drug vs placebo), however, were relatively stable within age strata and across indications. These risk differences (drug-placebo difference in the number of cases of suicidality per 1000 patients treated) are provided in Table 1.
|Age Range||Drug-Placebo Difference in Number of Cases of Suicidality per 1000 Patients Treated|
|Increases Compared to Placebo|
|< 18||14 additional cases|
|18-24||5 additional cases|
|Decreases Compared to Placebo|
|25-64||1 fewer case|
|≥ 65||6 fewer cases|
No suicides occurred in any of the pediatric trials. There were suicides in the adult trials, but the number was not sufficient to reach any conclusion about drug effect on suicide.
It is unknown whether the suicidality risk extends to longer-term use, i.e., beyond several months. However, there is substantial evidence from placebo-controlled maintenance trials in adults with depression that the use of antidepressants can delay the recurrence of depression.
All patients being treated with antidepressants for any indication should be monitored appropriately and observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, and unusual changes in behavior, especially during the initial few months of a course of drug therapy, or at times of dose changes, either increases or decreases.
The following symptoms, anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, akathisia (psychomotor restlessness), hypomania, and mania, have been reported in adult and pediatric patients being treated with antidepressants for major depressive disorder as well as for other indications, both psychiatric and nonpsychiatric. Although a causal link between the emergence of such symptoms and either the worsening of depression and/or the emergence of suicidal impulses has not been established, there is concern that such symptoms may represent precursors to emerging suicidality.
Consideration should be given to changing the therapeutic regimen, including possibly discontinuing the medication, in patients whose depression is persistently worse, or who are experiencing emergent suicidality or symptoms that might be precursors to worsening depression or suicidality, especially if these symptoms are severe, abrupt in onset, or were not part of the patient's presenting symptoms.
If the decision has been made to discontinue treatment, medication should be tapered, as rapidly as is feasible, but with recognition that discontinuation can be associated with certain symptoms [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION and Discontinuation of Treatment with Cymbalta for descriptions of the risks of discontinuation of Cymbalta].
Families and caregivers of patients being treated with antidepressants for major depressive disorder or other indications, both psychiatric and nonpsychiatric, should be alerted about the need to monitor patients for the emergence of agitation, irritability, unusual changes in behavior, and the other symptoms described above, as well as the emergence of suicidality, and to report such symptoms immediately to health care providers. Such monitoring should include daily observation by families and caregivers. Prescriptions for Cymbalta should be written for the smallest quantity of capsules consistent with good patient management, in order to reduce the risk of overdose.
Screening Patients for Bipolar Disorder
A major depressive episode may be the initial presentation of bipolar disorder. It is generally believed (though not established in controlled trials) that treating such an episode with an antidepressant alone may increase the likelihood of precipitation of a mixed/manic episode in patients at risk for bipolar disorder. Whether any of the symptoms described above represent such a conversion is unknown. However, prior to initiating treatment with an antidepressant, patients with depressive symptoms should be adequately screened to determine if they are at risk for bipolar disorder; such screening should include a detailed psychiatric history, including a family history of suicide, bipolar disorder, and depression. It should be noted that Cymbalta (duloxetine) is not approved for use in treating bipolar depression.
There have been reports of hepatic failure, sometimes fatal, in patients treated with Cymbalta. These cases have presented as hepatitis with abdominal pain, hepatomegaly, and elevation of transaminase levels to more than twenty times the upper limit of normal with or without jaundice, reflecting a mixed or hepatocellular pattern of liver injury. Cymbalta should be discontinued in patients who develop jaundice or other evidence of clinically significant liver dysfunction and should not be resumed unless another cause can be established.
Cases of cholestatic jaundice with minimal elevation of transaminase levels have also been reported. Other postmarketing reports indicate that elevated transaminases, bilirubin, and alkaline phosphatase have occurred in patients with chronic liver disease or cirrhosis.
Cymbalta increased the risk of elevation of serum transaminase levels in development program clinical trials. Liver transaminase elevations resulted in the discontinuation of 0.3% (89/29,435) of Cymbalta-treated patients. In most patients, the median time to detection of the transaminase elevation was about two months. In placebo-controlled trials in any indication, for patients with normal and abnormal baseline ALT values, elevation of ALT > 3 times the upper limit of normal occurred in 1.37% (132/9611) of Cymbalta-treated patients compared to 0.49% (35/7182) of placebo-treated patients. In placebo-controlled studies using a fixed dose design, there was evidence of a dose response relationship for ALT and AST elevation of > 3 times the upper limit of normal and > 5 times the upper limit of normal, respectively.
Because it is possible that duloxetine and alcohol may interact to cause liver injury or that duloxetine may aggravate pre-existing liver disease, Cymbalta should not be prescribed to patients with substantial alcohol use or evidence of chronic liver disease.
Orthostatic Hypotension And Syncope
Orthostatic hypotension and syncope have been reported with therapeutic doses of duloxetine. Syncope and orthostatic hypotension tend to occur within the first week of therapy but can occur at any time during duloxetine treatment, particularly after dose increases.
The risk of blood pressure decreases may be greater in patients taking concomitant medications that induce orthostatic hypotension (such as antihypertensives) or are potent CYP1A2 inhibitors [see Clinically Important Drug Interactions and DRUG INTERACTIONS] and in patients taking duloxetine at doses above 60 mg daily. Consideration should be given to discontinuing duloxetine in patients who experience symptomatic orthostatic hypotension and/or syncope during duloxetine therapy.
The development of a potentially life-threatening serotonin syndrome has been reported with SNRIs and SSRIs, including Cymbalta, alone but particularly with concomitant use of other serotonergic drugs (including triptans, tricyclic antidepressants, fentanyl, lithium, tramadol, tryptophan, buspirone, and St. John's Wort) and with drugs that impair metabolism of serotonin (in particular, MAOIs, both those intended to treat psychiatric disorders and also others, such as linezolid and intravenous methylene blue).
Serotonin syndrome symptoms may include mental status changes (e.g., agitation, hallucinations, delirium, and coma), autonomic instability (e.g., tachycardia, labile blood pressure, dizziness, diaphoresis, flushing, hyperthermia), neuromuscular symptoms (e.g., tremor, rigidity, myoclonus, hyperreflexia, incoordination), seizures, and/or gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g., nausea, vomiting, diarrhea). Patients should be monitored for the emergence of serotonin syndrome.
The concomitant use of Cymbalta with MAOIs intended to treat psychiatric disorders is contraindicated. Cymbalta should also not be started in a patient who is being treated with MAOIs such as linezolid or intravenous methylene blue. All reports with methylene blue that provided information on the route of administration involved intravenous administration in the dose range of 1 mg/kg to 8 mg/kg. No reports involved the administration of methylene blue by other routes (such as oral tablets or local tissue injection) or at lower doses. There may be circumstances when it is necessary to initiate treatment with an MAOI such as linezolid or intravenous methylene blue in a patient taking Cymbalta. Cymbalta should be discontinued before initiating treatment with the MAOI [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, and CONTRAINDICATIONS].
If concomitant use of Cymbalta with other serotonergic drugs including triptans, tricyclic antidepressants, fentanyl, lithium, tramadol, buspirone, tryptophan and St. John's Wort is clinically warranted, patients should be made aware of a potential increased risk for serotonin syndrome, particularly during treatment initiation and dose increases. Treatment with Cymbalta and any concomitant serotonergic agents, should be discontinued immediately if the above events occur and supportive symptomatic treatment should be initiated.
SSRIs and SNRIs, including duloxetine, may increase the risk of bleeding events. Concomitant use of aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, warfarin, and other anti-coagulants may add to this risk. Case reports and epidemiological studies (case-control and cohort design) have demonstrated an association between use of drugs that interfere with serotonin reuptake and the occurrence of gastrointestinal bleeding. Bleeding events related to SSRIs and SNRIs use have ranged from ecchymoses, hematomas, epistaxis, and petechiae to life-threatening hemorrhages.
Patients should be cautioned about the risk of bleeding associated with the concomitant use of duloxetine and NSAIDs, aspirin, or other drugs that affect coagulation.
Severe Skin Reactions
Severe skin reactions, including erythema multiforme and Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS), can occur with Cymbalta. The reporting rate of SJS associated with Cymbalta use exceeds the general population background incidence rate for this serious skin reaction (1 to 2 cases per million person years). The reporting rate is generally accepted to be an underestimate due to underreporting.
Cymbalta should be discontinued at the first appearance of blisters, peeling rash, mucosal erosions, or any other sign of hypersensitivity if no other etiology can be identified.
Discontinuation Of Treatment With Cymbalta
Discontinuation symptoms have been systematically evaluated in patients taking duloxetine. Following abrupt or tapered discontinuation in placebo-controlled clinical trials, the following symptoms occurred at 1% or greater and at a significantly higher rate in duloxetine-treated patients compared to those discontinuing from placebo: dizziness, headache, nausea, diarrhea, paresthesia, irritability, vomiting, insomnia, anxiety, hyperhidrosis, and fatigue.
During marketing of other SSRIs and SNRIs (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors), there have been spontaneous reports of adverse events occurring upon discontinuation of these drugs, particularly when abrupt, including the following: dysphoric mood, irritability, agitation, dizziness, sensory disturbances (e.g., paresthesias such as electric shock sensations), anxiety, confusion, headache, lethargy, emotional lability, insomnia, hypomania, tinnitus, and seizures. Although these events are generally self-limiting, some have been reported to be severe.
Patients should be monitored for these symptoms when discontinuing treatment with Cymbalta. A gradual reduction in the dose rather than abrupt cessation is recommended whenever possible. If intolerable symptoms occur following a decrease in the dose or upon discontinuation of treatment, then resuming the previously prescribed dose may be considered. Subsequently, the physician may continue decreasing the dose but at a more gradual rate [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].
Activation Of Mania/Hypomania
In placebo-controlled trials in patients with major depressive disorder, activation of mania or hypomania was reported in 0.1% (2/2489) of duloxetine-treated patients and 0.1% (1/1625)of placebo-treated patients. No activation of mania or hypomania was reported in GAD, fibromyalgia, or chronic musculoskeletal pain placebo-controlled trials. Activation of mania or hypomania has been reported in a small proportion of patients with mood disorders who were treated with other marketed drugs effective in the treatment of major depressive disorder. As with these other agents, Cymbalta should be used cautiously in patients with a history of mania.
The pupillary dilation that occurs following use of many antidepressant drugs including Cymbalta may trigger an angle closure attack in a patient with anatomically narrow angles who does not have a patent iridectomy.
Duloxetine has not been systematically evaluated in patients with a seizure disorder, and such patients were excluded from clinical studies. In placebo-controlled clinical trials, seizures/convulsions occurred in 0.03% (3/10,524) of patients treated with duloxetine and 0.01% (1/7699) of patients treated with placebo. Cymbalta should be prescribed with care in patients with a history of a seizure disorder.
Effect On Blood Pressure
In placebo-controlled clinical trials across indications from baseline to endpoint, duloxetine treatment was associated with mean increases of 0.5 mm Hg in systolic blood pressure and 0.8 mm Hg in diastolic blood pressure compared to mean decreases of 0.6 mm Hg systolic and 0.4 mm Hg diastolic in placebo-treated patients. There was no significant difference in the frequency of sustained (3 consecutive visits) elevated blood pressure. In a clinical pharmacology study designed to evaluate the effects of duloxetine on various parameters, including blood pressure at supratherapeutic doses with an accelerated dose titration, there was evidence of increases in supine blood pressure at doses up to 200 mg twice daily. At the highest 200 mg twice daily dose, the increase in mean pulse rate was 5.0 to 6.8 beats and increases in mean blood pressure were 4.7 to 6.8 mm Hg (systolic) and 4.5 to 7 mm Hg (diastolic) up to 12 hours after dosing.
Blood pressure should be measured prior to initiating treatment and periodically measured throughout treatment [see ADVERSE REACTIONS].
Clinically Important Drug Interactions
Both CYP1A2 and CYP2D6 are responsible for duloxetine metabolism.
Potential for Other Drugs to Affect Cymbalta
CYP1A2 Inhibitors — Co-administration of Cymbalta with potent CYP1A2 inhibitors should be avoided [see DRUG INTERACTIONS].
CYP2D6 Inhibitors — Because CYP2D6 is involved in duloxetine metabolism, concomitant use of duloxetine with potent inhibitors of CYP2D6 would be expected to, and does, result in higher concentrations (on average of 60%) of duloxetine [see DRUG INTERACTIONS].
Potential for Cymbalta to Affect Other Drugs
Drugs Metabolized by CYP2D6 — Co-administration of Cymbalta with drugs that are extensively metabolized by CYP2D6 and that have a narrow therapeutic index, including certain antidepressants (tricyclic antidepressants [TCAs], such as nortriptyline, amitriptyline, and imipramine), phenothiazines and Type 1C antiarrhythmics (e.g., propafenone, flecainide), should be approached with caution. Plasma TCA concentrations may need to be monitored and the dose of the TCA may need to be reduced if a TCA is co-administered with Cymbalta. Because of the risk of serious ventricular arrhythmias and sudden death potentially associated with elevated plasma levels of thioridazine, Cymbalta and thioridazine should not be co-administered [see DRUG INTERACTIONS].
Other Clinically Important Drug Interactions
Alcohol — Use of Cymbalta concomitantly with heavy alcohol intake may be associated with severe liver injury. For this reason, Cymbalta should not be prescribed for patients with substantial alcohol use [see Hepatotoxicity and DRUG INTERACTIONS].
CNS Acting Drugs — Given the primary CNS effects of Cymbalta, it should be used with caution when it is taken in combination with or substituted for other centrally acting drugs, including those with a similar mechanism of action [see Clinically Important Drug Interactions and DRUG INTERACTIONS].
Hyponatremia may occur as a result of treatment with SSRIs and SNRIs, including Cymbalta. In many cases, this hyponatremia appears to be the result of the syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH). Cases with serum sodium lower than 110 mmol/L have been reported and appeared to be reversible when Cymbalta was discontinued. Elderly patients may be at greater risk of developing hyponatremia with SSRIs and SNRIs. Also, patients taking diuretics or who are otherwise volume depleted may be at greater risk [see Use In Specific Populations]. Discontinuation of Cymbalta should be considered in patients with symptomatic hyponatremia and appropriate medical intervention should be instituted.
Signs and symptoms of hyponatremia include headache, difficulty concentrating, memory impairment, confusion, weakness, and unsteadiness, which may lead to falls. More severe and/or acute cases have been associated with hallucination, syncope, seizure, coma, respiratory arrest, and death.
Use In Patients With Concomitant Illness
Clinical experience with Cymbalta in patients with concomitant systemic illnesses is limited. There is no information on the effect that alterations in gastric motility may have on the stability of Cymbalta's enteric coating. In extremely acidic conditions, Cymbalta, unprotected by the enteric coating, may undergo hydrolysis to form naphthol. Caution is advised in using Cymbalta in patients with conditions that may slow gastric emptying (e.g., some diabetics).
Cymbalta has not been systematically evaluated in patients with a recent history of myocardial infarction or unstable coronary artery disease. Patients with these diagnoses were generally excluded from clinical studies during the product's premarketing testing.
Severe Renal Impairment
Cymbalta should ordinarily not be used in patients with end-stage renal disease or severe renal impairment (creatinine clearance < 30 mL/min). Increased plasma concentration of duloxetine, and especially of its metabolites, occur in patients with end-stage renal disease (requiring dialysis) [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION and Use in Specific Populations].
Glycemic Control in Patients with Diabetes
As observed in DPNP trials, Cymbalta treatment worsens glycemic control in some patients with diabetes. In three clinical trials of Cymbalta for the management of neuropathic pain associated with diabetic peripheral neuropathy, the mean duration of diabetes was approximately 12 years, the mean baseline fasting blood glucose was 176 mg/dL, and the mean baseline hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) was 7.8%. In the 12-week acute treatment phase of these studies, Cymbalta was associated with a small increase in mean fasting blood glucose as compared to placebo. In the extension phase of these studies, which lasted up to 52 weeks, mean fasting blood glucose increased by 12 mg/dL in the Cymbalta group and decreased by 11.5 mg/dL in the routine care group. HbA1c increased by 0.5% in the Cymbalta and by 0.2% in the routine care groups.
Urinary Hesitation and Retention
Cymbalta is in a class of drugs known to affect urethral resistance. If symptoms of urinary hesitation develop during treatment with Cymbalta, consideration should be given to the possibility that they might be drug-related. In post marketing experience, cases of urinary retention have been observed. In some instances of urinary retention associated with duloxetine use, hospitalization and/or catheterization has been needed.
No specific laboratory tests are recommended.
Patient Counseling Information
See FDA-approved patient labeling (Medication Guide).
Information On Medication Guide
Prescribers or other health professionals should inform patients, their families, and their caregivers about the benefits and risks associated with treatment with Cymbalta and should counsel them in its appropriate use. A patient Medication Guide is available for Cymbalta. The prescriber or health professional should instruct patients, their families, and their caregivers to read the Medication Guide before starting Cymbalta and each time their prescription is renewed, and should assist them in understanding its contents. Patients should be given the opportunity to discuss the contents of the Medication Guide and to obtain answers to any questions they may have. The complete text of the Medication Guide is reprinted at the end of this document.
Patients should be advised of the following issues and asked to alert their prescriber if these occur while taking Cymbalta.
Suicidal Thoughts And Behaviors
Patients, their families, and their caregivers should be encouraged to be alert to the emergence of anxiety, agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness, impulsivity, akathisia (psychomotor restlessness), hypomania, mania, other unusual changes in behavior, worsening of depression, and suicidal ideation, especially early during antidepressant treatment and when the dose is adjusted up or down. Families and caregivers of patients should be advised to observe for the emergence of such symptoms on a day-to-day basis, since changes may be abrupt. Such symptoms should be reported to the patient's prescriber or health professional, especially if they are severe, abrupt in onset, or were not part of the patient's presenting symptoms. Symptoms such as these may be associated with an increased risk for suicidal thinking and behavior and indicate a need for very close monitoring and possibly changes in the medication [see BOXED WARNING, and WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Cymbalta should be swallowed whole and should not be chewed or crushed, nor should the capsule be opened and its contents be sprinkled on food or mixed with liquids. All of these might affect the enteric coating.
Continuing The Therapy Prescribed
While patients may notice improvement with Cymbalta therapy in 1 to 4 weeks, they should be advised to continue therapy as directed.
Patients should be informed that severe liver problems, sometimes fatal, have been reported in patients treated with Cymbalta. Patients should be instructed to talk to their healthcare provider if they develop itching, right upper belly pain, dark urine, or yellow skin/eyes while taking Cymbalta, which may be signs of liver problems. Patients should talk to their healthcare provider about their alcohol consumption. Use of Cymbalta with heavy alcohol intake may be associated with severe liver injury [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Although Cymbalta does not increase the impairment of mental and motor skills caused by alcohol, use of Cymbalta concomitantly with heavy alcohol intake may be associated with severe liver injury. For this reason, Cymbalta should not be prescribed for patients with substantial alcohol use [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS and DRUG INTERACTIONS].
Orthostatic Hypotension And Syncope
Patients should be advised of the risk of orthostatic hypotension and syncope, especially during the period of initial use and subsequent dose escalation, and in association with the use of concomitant drugs that might potentiate the orthostatic effect of duloxetine [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Patients should be cautioned about the risk of serotonin syndrome with the concomitant use of Cymbalta and other serotonergic agents including triptans, tricyclic antidepressants, fentanyl, lithium, tramadol, buspirone, tryptophan and St. John's Wort [see CONTRAINDICATIONS, WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS, and DRUG INTERACTIONS].
Patients should be advised of the signs and symptoms associated with serotonin syndrome that may include mental status changes (e.g., agitation, hallucinations, delirium, and coma), autonomic instability (e.g., tachycardia, labile blood pressure, dizziness, diaphoresis, flushing, hyperthermia), neuromuscular changes (e.g., tremor, rigidity, myoclonus, hyperreflexia, incoordination), seizures, and/or gastrointestinal symptoms (e.g., nausea, vomiting, diarrhea). Patients should be cautioned to seek medical care immediately if they experience these symptoms.
Patients should be cautioned about the concomitant use of duloxetine and NSAIDs, aspirin, warfarin, or other drugs that affect coagulation since combined use of psychotropic drugs that interfere with serotonin reuptake and these agents has been associated with an increased risk of bleeding [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Severe Skin Reactions
Patients should be cautioned that Cymbalta may cause serious skin reactions. This may need to be treated in a hospital and may be life-threatening. Patients should be counseled to call their doctor right away or get emergency help if they have skin blisters, peeling rash, sores in their mouth, hives, or any other allergic reactions [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Discontinuation Of Treatment
Patients should be instructed that discontinuation of Cymbalta may be associated with symptoms such as dizziness, headache, nausea, diarrhea, paresthesia, irritability, vomiting, insomnia, anxiety, hyperhidrosis, and fatigue, and should be advised not to alter their dosing regimen, or stop taking Cymbalta without consulting their physician [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Activation Of Mania Or Hypomania
Patients with depressive symptoms should be adequately screened for risk of bipolar disorder (e.g. family history of suicide, bipolar disorder, and depression) prior to initiating treatment with Cymbalta. Patients should be advised to report any signs or symptoms of a manic reaction such as greatly increased energy, severe trouble sleeping, racing thoughts, reckless behavior, talking more or faster than usual, unusually grand ideas, and excessive happiness or irritability [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Patients should be advised that taking Cymbalta can cause mild pupillary dilation, which in susceptible individuals, can lead to an episode of angle-closure glaucoma. Pre-existing glaucoma is almost always open-angle glaucoma because angle-closure glaucoma, when diagnosed, can be treated definitively with iridectomy. Open-angle glaucoma is not a risk factor for angle-closure glaucoma. Patients may wish to be examined to determine whether they are susceptible to angle-closure, and have a prophylactic procedure (e.g., iridectomy), if they are susceptible. [See WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS]
Patients should be advised to inform their physician if they have a history of seizure disorder [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Effects On Blood Pressure
Patients should be cautioned that Cymbalta may cause an increase in blood pressure [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Patients should be advised to inform their physicians if they are taking, or plan to take, any prescription or overthe- counter medications, since there is a potential for interactions [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION, CONTRAINDICATIONS, WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS, and DRUG INTERACTIONS].
Patients should be advised that hyponatremia has been reported as a result of treatment with SNRIs and SSRIs, including Cymbalta. Patients should be advised of the signs and symptoms of hyponatremia [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Patients should be advised to inform their physicians about all of their medical conditions [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Urinary Hesitancy And Retention
Cymbalta is in a class of medicines that may affect urination. Patients should be instructed to consult with their healthcare provider if they develop any problems with urine flow [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Pregnancy And Breast Feeding
Patients should be advised to notify their physician if they
- become pregnant during therapy
- intend to become pregnant during therapy
- are breast feeding [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION and Use In Specific Populations].
Lilly maintains a pregnancy registry to monitor the pregnancy outcomes of women exposed to Cymbalta while pregnant. Healthcare providers are encouraged to register any patient who is exposed to Cymbalta during pregnancy by calling the Cymbalta Pregnancy Registry at 1-866-814-6975 or by visiting www.cymbaltapregnancyregistry.com.
Interference With Psychomotor Performance
Any psychoactive drug may impair judgment, thinking, or motor skills. Although in controlled studies Cymbalta has not been shown to impair psychomotor performance, cognitive function, or memory, it may be associated with sedation and dizziness. Therefore, patients should be cautioned about operating hazardous machinery including automobiles, until they are reasonably certain that Cymbalta therapy does not affect their ability to engage in such activities.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility
Duloxetine was administered in the diet to mice and rats for 2 years.
In female mice receiving duloxetine at 140 mg/kg/day (11 times the maximum recommended human dose [MRHD, 60 mg/day] and 6 times the human dose of 120 mg/day on a mg/m² basis), there was an increased incidence of hepatocellular adenomas and carcinomas. The no-effect dose was 50 mg/kg/day (4 times the MRHD and 2 times the human dose of 120 mg/day on a mg/m² basis). Tumor incidence was not increased in male mice receiving duloxetine at doses up to 100 mg/kg/day (8 times the MRHD and 4 times the human dose of 120 mg/day on a mg/m² basis).
In rats, dietary doses of duloxetine up to 27 mg/kg/day in females (4 times the MRHD and 2 times the human dose of 120 mg/day on a mg/m² basis) and up to 36 mg/kg/day in males (6 times the MRHD and 3 times the human dose of 120 mg/day on a mg/m² basis) did not increase the incidence of tumors.
Duloxetine was not mutagenic in the in vitro bacterial reverse mutation assay (Ames test) and was not clastogenic in an in vivo chromosomal aberration test in mouse bone marrow cells. Additionally, duloxetine was not genotoxic in an in vitro mammalian forward gene mutation assay in mouse lymphoma cells or in an in vitro unscheduled DNA synthesis (UDS) assay in primary rat hepatocytes, and did not induce sister chromatid exchange in Chinese hamster bone marrow in vivo.
Impairment of Fertility
Duloxetine administered orally to either male or female rats prior to and throughout mating at doses up to 45 mg/kg/day (7 times the maximum recommended human dose of 60 mg/day and 4 times the human dose of 120 mg/day on a mg/m² basis) did not alter mating or fertility.
Use In Specific Populations
Pregnancy Category C
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 (7 times the maximum recommended human dose [MRHD, 60 mg/day] and 4 times the human dose of 120 mg/day on a mg/m² basis, in rat; 15 times the MRHD and 7 times the human dose of 120 mg/day on a mg/m² basis in rabbit). However, fetal weights were decreased at this dose, with a no-effect dose of 10 mg/kg/day (2 times the MRHD and =1 times the human dose of 120 mg/day on a mg/m² basis in rats; 3 times the MRHD and 2 times the human dose of 120 mg/day on a mg/m² basis 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 (5 times the MRHD and 2 times the human dose of 120 mg/day on a mg/m² basis); 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.
There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women; therefore, duloxetine should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
Neonates exposed to SSRIs or serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), late in the third trimester have developed complications requiring prolonged hospitalization, respiratory support, and tube feeding. Such complications 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 SSRIs and SNRIs 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].
When treating pregnant women with Cymbalta during the third trimester, the physician should carefully consider the potential risks and benefits of treatment. The physician may consider tapering Cymbalta in the third trimester [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].
Lilly maintains a pregnancy registry to monitor the pregnancy outcomes of women exposed to Cymbalta while pregnant. Healthcare providers are encouraged to register any patient who is exposed to Cymbalta during pregnancy by calling the Cymbalta Pregnancy Registry at 1-866-814-6975 or by visiting www.cymbaltapregnancyregistry.com
Labor And Delivery
The effect of duloxetine on labor and delivery in humans is unknown. Duloxetine should be used during labor and delivery only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
Duloxetine is excreted into the milk of lactating women. The estimated daily infant dose on a mg/kg basis is approximately 0.14% of the maternal dose. Because the safety of duloxetine in infants is not known, nursing while on Cymbalta is not recommended. However, if the physician determines that the benefit of duloxetine therapy for the mother outweighs any potential risk to the infant, no dosage adjustment is required as lactation did not influence duloxetine pharmacokinetics.
The disposition of duloxetine was studied in 6 lactating women who were at least 12 weeks postpartum. Duloxetine 40 mg twice daily was given for 3.5 days. Like many other drugs, 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 BID dosing. The excretion of duloxetine metabolites into breast milk was not examined. Because the safety of duloxetine in infants is not known, nursing while on Cymbalta is not recommended [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].
Efficacy was not demonstrated in two 10-week, placebo-controlled trials with 800 pediatric patients with MDD, age 7-17. Neither Cymbalta nor the active control (indicated for treatment of pediatric depression) statistically separated from placebo. Duloxetine steady state plasma concentration was comparable in children (7 - 12 years), adolescents (13 – 17 years) and adults. Cymbalta has not been studied in patients under the age of 7. Thus, safety and effectiveness in the pediatric population has not been established [see BOXED WARNING and WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Decreased appetite and weight loss have been observed in association with the use of SSRIs and SNRIs. Pediatric patients treated with Cymbalta in MDD clinical trials experienced a 0.2 kg mean decrease in weight at 10-weeks, compared with a mean weight gain of approximately 0.6 kg in placebo-treated patients. The proportion of patients who experienced a clinically significant decrease in weight ( > 3.5%) was greater in the Cymbalta group than in the placebo group (11% and 6%, respectively). Subsequently, over the six-month uncontrolled extension period, most Cymbaltatreated patients trended toward recovery to their expected baseline weight percentile based on population data from ageand gender-matched peers. Perform regular monitoring of weight and growth in children and adolescents treated with an SNRI such as Cymbalta.
In the 2 pediatric MDD studies, the safety findings were consistent with the known safety and tolerability profile for Cymbalta.
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; the no-effect-level was 20 mg/kg/day.
Of the 2,418 patients in premarketing clinical studies of Cymbalta 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. Of the 1,761 patients in FM premarketing studies, 7.9% (140) were 65 years of age or over. Premarketing clinical studies of GAD did not include sufficient numbers of subjects age 65 or over to determine whether they respond differently from younger subjects. In the MDD, DPNP, FM, OA, and CLBP studies, no overall differences in safety or effectiveness were 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 Cymbalta have 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].
The pharmacokinetics of duloxetine after a single dose of 40 mg were compared in healthy elderly females (65 to 77 years) and healthy middle-age females (32 to 50 years). There was no difference in the Cmax, but the AUC of duloxetine was somewhat (about 25%) higher and the half-life about 4 hours longer in the elderly females. Population pharmacokinetic analyses suggest that the typical values for clearance decrease by approximately 1% for each year of age between 25 to 75 years of age; but age as a predictive factor only accounts for a small percentage of between-patient variability. Dosage adjustment based on the age of the patient is not necessary [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].
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 insufficiency have decreased duloxetine metabolism and elimination. After a single 20 mg dose of Cymbalta, 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 and WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Severe Renal Impairment
Limited data are available on the effects of duloxetine in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). After a single 60 mg dose of duloxetine, Cmax and AUC values were approximately 100% greater in patients with end-stage renal disease receiving chronic intermittent hemodialysis than in subjects with normal renal function. The elimination half-life, however, was similar in both groups. The AUCs of the major circulating metabolites, 4-hydroxy duloxetine glucuronide and 5-hydroxy, 6-methoxy duloxetine sulfate, largely excreted in urine, were approximately 7- to 9-fold higher and would be expected to increase further with multiple dosing. Population PK analyses suggest that mild to moderate degrees of renal dysfunction (estimated CrCl 30-80 mL/min) have no significant effect on duloxetine apparent clearance [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION and WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].
Last reviewed on RxList: 8/11/2014
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Additional Cymbalta Information
Cymbalta - User Reviews
Cymbalta User Reviews
Now you can gain knowledge and insight about a drug treatment with Patient Discussions.
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Chronic Pain/Back Pain
Find tips and advances in treatment.