Generic Name: Duloxetine
Brand Names: • Cymbalta • Ariclaim • Xeristar • Yentreve
• Duzela • Dulane
Class: Antidepressant, Serotonin/Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor
Updated: July 2014
What Is It?
CYMBALTA (DULOXETINE) is an antidepressant drug of the serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor type. Cymbalta is a registered trademark of Eli Lilly and Company, Marketed by Lilly USA, LLC.
What Does It Treat?
Cymbalta is indicated and approved by the FDA for the treatment of:
• major depressive disorder
• generalized anxiety disorder
• diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain
• chronic musculoskeletal pain
Off-label uses include the treatment of:
• stress urinary incontinence in women
• bulimia purging type
• smoking cessation
The efficacy of Cymbalta was established in four short-term and one maintenance trial in adults. Some people have thoughts about suicide when first taking an antidepressant. Your doctor will need to check your progress at regular visits while you are using Cymbalta. Your family or other caregivers should also be alert to changes in your mood or symptoms.
This medication guide does not take the place of talking to your healthcare provider about your medical condition or treatment. Talk with your healthcare provider if there is something you do not understand or want to learn more about.
Do not start or stop any medicine while taking Cymbalta without talking to your healthcare provider first.
Who Should Not Take Cymbalta?
Do not take Cymbalta if you: 1) are allergic to duloxetine or any of the ingredients in Cymbalta. See the end of this section for a complete list of ingredients in Cymbalta; 2) have uncontrolled narrow-angle glaucoma; 3) take a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) or have taken an MAOI in the past 14 days. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist if you are not sure if you take an MAOI, including the antibiotic linezolid. Do not take an MAOI within 2 weeks of stopping Cymbalta unless directed to do so by your physician. Do not start Cymbalta if you stopped taking an MAOI in the last 2 weeks unless directed to do so by your physician. MAOIs include Parnate (Tranylcypromine), Nardil (Phenelzine), Emsam (Selegiline transdermal), and Marplan (Isocarboxazid).
Safety and effectiveness in the pediatric population have not been established. Do not give Cymbalta to anyone younger than 18 years old without the advice of a doctor.
Before Starting Cymbalta
Tell your healthcare provider about: 1) any medical conditions you have, including seizure, cardiac, liver, kidney, or blood disease; 2) current pregnancy or plans to become pregnant; 3) current breastfeeding or plans to breastfeed; 4) any and all medications and supplements you are taking; 5) any thoughts or feelings of suicide. Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor, such as: mood or behavior changes, anxiety, panic attacks, trouble sleeping, or if you feel impulsive, irritable, agitated, hostile, aggressive, restless, hyperactive (mentally or physically), more depressed, or have thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself.
Patients should be told that the concomitant use of Cymbalta and alcohol is not advised. 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. Patients should inform their physician if they are taking, or plan to take, any prescription or over-the-counter drugs, as there is a potential for interactions. Patients should notify their physician if they become pregnant or intend to become pregnant during therapy. Patients should notify their physician if they are breast feeding an infant. While patients may notice improvement with Cymbalta therapy, they should be advised to continue therapy as directed.
Ingredients of CYMBALTA:
Active ingredient: duloxetine hydrochloride. Inactive ingredients: Delayed Release Capsules: FD&C Blue No. 2, gelatin, hypromellose, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose acetate succinate, sodium lauryl sulfate, sucrose, sugar spheres, talc, titanium dioxide, and triethyl citrate. The 20 and 60 mg capsules also contain iron oxide yellow.
Indications and Usage
Major Depressive Disorder
Cymbalta is indicated for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD). The efficacy of Cymbalta was established in four short-term and one maintenance trial in adults. A major depressive episode (DSM-IV) implies a prominent and relatively persistent (nearly every day for at least 2 weeks) depressed or dysphoric mood that usually interferes with daily functioning, and includes at least 5 of the following 9 symptoms: depressed mood, loss of interest in usual activities, significant change in weight and/or appetite, insomnia or hypersomnia, psychomotor agitation or retardation, increased fatigue, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, slowed thinking or impaired concentration, or a suicide attempt or suicidal ideation.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Cymbalta is indicated for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). The efficacy of Cymbalta was established in three short-term trials and one maintenance trial in adults. Generalized anxiety disorder is defined by the DSM-IV as excessive anxiety and worry, present more days than not, for at least 6 months. The excessive anxiety and worry must be difficult to control and must cause significant distress or impairment in normal functioning. It must be associated with at least 3 of the following 6 symptoms: restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge, being easily fatigued, difficulty concentrating or mind going blank, irritability, muscle tension, and/or sleep disturbance.
Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathic Pain
Cymbalta is indicated for the management of neuropathic pain (DPNP) associated with diabetic peripheral neuropathy.
Cymbalta is indicated for the management of fibromyalgia (FM).
Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain
Cymbalta is indicated for the management of chronic musculoskeletal pain. This has been established in studies in patients with chronic low back pain (CLBP) and chronic pain due to osteoarthritis.
Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)
The use of MAOIs intended to treat psychiatric disorders with Cymbalta or within 5 days of stopping treatment with Cymbalta is contraindicated because of an increased risk of serotonin syndrome. The use of Cymbalta within 14 days of stopping an MAOI intended to treat psychiatric disorders is also contraindicated. Starting Cymbalta in a patient who is being treated with MAOIs such as linezolid or intravenous methylene blue is also contraindicated because of an increased risk of serotonin syndrome.
Uncontrolled Narrow-Angle Glaucoma
In clinical trials, Cymbalta use was associated with an increased risk of mydriasis; therefore, its use should be avoided in patients with uncontrolled narrow-angle glaucoma.
Common Side Effects
Dermatologic: Diaphoresis (7% )
Gastrointestinal: Constipation (10% ), Decrease in appetite (8% ), Diarrhea (9%), Nausea (24% ), Xerostomia (13% )
Neurologic: Dizziness (10% .), Headache (14% ), Insomnia (10% ), Somnolence (10% )
Other: Fatigue (10% )
Serious Side Effects
Cardiovascular: Hypertensive crisis, Myocardial infarction (0.01% to 0.001%)
Dermatologic: Stevens-Johnson syndrome
Gastrointestinal: Gastrointestinal hemorrhage
Hematologic: Bleeding, Abnormal
Hepatic: Liver failure
Psychiatric: Suicidal thoughts
Other: Serotonin syndrome, Withdrawal sign or symptom (1% or greater )
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: skin rash or hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Suicidality and Antidepressant Drugs
Antidepressants increased the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior in children, adolescents, and young adults in short-term studies. These studies did not show an increase in the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior with antidepressant use in patients over age 24; there was a reduction in risk with antidepressant use in patients aged 65 and older. In patients of all ages who are started on antidepressant therapy, monitor closely for worsening, and for emergence of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Advise families and caregivers of the need for close observation and communication with the prescriber. Cymbalta is not approved for use in pediatric patients.
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.
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. 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.
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 is not approved for use in treating bipolar depression.
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. 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.
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% (92/34,756) 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 1.25% (144/11,496) of Cymbalta-treated patients compared to 0.45% (39/8716) 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 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.
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.
Activation of Mania/Hypomania
In placebo-controlled trials in patients with major depressive disorder, activation of mania or hypomania was reported in 0.1% (4/3779) of duloxetine-treated patients and 0.04% (1/2536) 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.
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 0.02% (3/12,722) of patients treated with duloxetine and 0.01% (1/9513) 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 0.3 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.
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. 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.
Hepatic Insufficiency — Cymbalta should ordinarily not be used in patients with hepatic insufficiency.
Severe Renal Impairment — Cymbalta should ordinarily not be used in patients with end-stage renal disease or severe renal impairment (creatinine clearance
Controlled Narrow-Angle Glaucoma — In clinical trials, Cymbalta was associated with an increased risk of mydriasis; therefore, it should be used cautiously in patients with controlled narrow-angle glaucoma.
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.
In postmarketing experience, fatal outcomes have been reported for acute overdoses, primarily with mixed overdoses, but also with duloxetine only, at doses as low as 1000 mg. Signs and symptoms of overdose (duloxetine alone or with mixed drugs) included somnolence, coma, serotonin syndrome, seizures, syncope, tachycardia, hypotension, hypertension, and vomiting.
Call 911 or the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222 for all suspected overdose cases.
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.
Nonteratogenic Effects — 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. 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.
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 7 μg/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.
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
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. 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 Cymbalta-treated patients trended toward recovery to their expected baseline weight percentile based on population data from age- and 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 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 Cymbalta have been associated with cases of clinically significant hyponatremia in elderly patients, who may be at greater risk for this adverse event. In a subgroup analysis of patients 65 years of age and older (N=3278) from all placebo-controlled trials, 1.1% of patients treated with duloxetine reported one or more falls, compared with 0.4% of patients treated with placebo. While many patients with falls had underlying potential risk factors for falls (e.g., medications; medical comorbidities; gait disturbances), the impact of these factors on falls is unclear. Fall with serious consequences including bone fractures and hospitalizations have been reported. 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.
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.
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.
Cymbalta® (Duloxetine Delayed-Release Capsules) is a selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SSNRI) for oral administration. Its chemical designation is (+)-(S)-N-methyl-γ-(1-naphthyloxy)-2-thiophenepropylamine hydrochloride. The empirical formula is C18H19NOS•HCl, which corresponds to a molecular weight of 333.88. Duloxetine hydrochloride is a white to slightly brownish white solid, which is slightly soluble in water. Each capsule contains enteric-coated pellets of 22.4, 33.7, or 67.3 mg of duloxetine hydrochloride equivalent to 20, 30, or 60 mg of duloxetine, respectively. These enteric-coated pellets are designed to prevent degradation of the drug in the acidic environment of the stomach. Inactive ingredients include FD&C Blue No. 2, gelatin, hypromellose, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose acetate succinate, sodium lauryl sulfate, sucrose, sugar spheres, talc, titanium dioxide, and triethyl citrate. The 20 and 60 mg capsules also contain iron oxide yellow.
Mechanism of Action
Although the exact mechanisms of the antidepressant, central pain inhibitory and anxiolytic actions of duloxetine in humans are unknown, these actions are believed to be related to its potentiation of serotonergic and noradrenergic activity in the CNS.
Preclinical studies have shown that duloxetine is a potent inhibitor of neuronal serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake and a less potent inhibitor of dopamine reuptake. Duloxetine has no significant affinity for dopaminergic, adrenergic, cholinergic, histaminergic, opioid, glutamate, and GABA receptors in vitro. Duloxetine does not inhibit monoamine oxidase (MAO). 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.
Duloxetine has an elimination half-life of about 12 hours (range 8 to 17 hours) and its pharmacokinetics are dose proportional over the therapeutic range. Steady-state plasma concentrations are typically achieved after 3 days of dosing. Elimination of duloxetine is mainly through hepatic metabolism involving two P450 isozymes, CYP1A2 and CYP2D6.
Absorption and Distribution — Orally administered duloxetine hydrochloride is well absorbed. There is a median 2 hour lag until absorption begins (Tlag), with maximal plasma concentrations (Cmax) of duloxetine occurring 6 hours post dose. Food does not affect the Cmax of duloxetine, but delays the time to reach peak concentration from 6 to 10 hours and it marginally decreases the extent of absorption (AUC) by about 10%. There is a 3 hour delay in absorption and a one-third increase in apparent clearance of duloxetine after an evening dose as compared to a morning dose. The apparent volume of distribution averages about 1640 L. Duloxetine is highly bound (>90%) to proteins in human plasma, binding primarily to albumin and α1-acid glycoprotein. The interaction between duloxetine and other highly protein bound drugs has not been fully evaluated. Plasma protein binding of duloxetine is not affected by renal or hepatic impairment.
Metabolism and Elimination — Biotransformation and disposition of duloxetine in humans have been determined following oral administration of 14C-labeled duloxetine. Duloxetine comprises about 3% of the total radiolabeled material in the plasma, indicating that it undergoes extensive metabolism to numerous metabolites. The major biotransformation pathways for duloxetine involve oxidation of the naphthyl ring followed by conjugation and further oxidation. Both CYP1A2 and CYP2D6 catalyze the oxidation of the naphthyl ring in vitro. Metabolites found in plasma include 4-hydroxy duloxetine glucuronide and 5-hydroxy, 6-methoxy duloxetine sulfate. Many additional metabolites have been identified in urine, some representing only minor pathways of elimination. Only trace (<1% of the dose) amounts of unchanged duloxetine are present in the urine. Most (about 70%) of the duloxetine dose appears in the urine as metabolites of duloxetine; about 20% is excreted in the feces. Duloxetine undergoes extensive metabolism, but the major circulating metabolites have not been shown to contribute significantly to the pharmacologic activity of duloxetine.
Dosage and Administration
Dosage Forms and Strengths
Cymbalta is available as delayed release capsules:
• 20 mg opaque green capsules imprinted with “Lilly 3235 20mg”
• 30 mg opaque white and blue capsules imprinted with “Lilly 3240 30mg”
• 60 mg opaque green and blue capsules imprinted with “Lilly 3270 60mg”
Major Depressive Disorder — Cymbalta should be administered at a total dose of 40 mg/day (given as 20 mg twice daily) to 60 mg/day (given either once daily or as 30 mg twice daily). For some patients, it may be desirable to start at 30 mg once daily for 1 week, to allow patients to adjust to the medication before increasing to 60 mg once daily. While a 120 mg/day dose was shown to be effective, there is no evidence that doses greater than 60 mg/day confer any additional benefits. The safety of doses above 120 mg/day has not been adequately evaluated.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder — For most patients, the recommended starting dose for Cymbalta is 60 mg administered once daily. For some patients, it may be desirable to start at 30 mg once daily for 1 week, to allow patients to adjust to the medication before increasing to 60 mg once daily. While a 120 mg once daily dose was shown to be effective, there is no evidence that doses greater than 60 mg/day confer additional benefit. Nevertheless, if a decision is made to increase the dose beyond 60 mg once daily, dose increases should be in increments of 30 mg once daily. The safety of doses above 120 mg once daily has not been adequately evaluated.
Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathic Pain — The recommended dose for Cymbalta is 60 mg administered once daily. There is no evidence that doses higher than 60 mg confer additional significant benefit and the higher dose is clearly less well tolerated. For patients for whom tolerability is a concern, a lower starting dose may be considered.
Since diabetes is frequently complicated by renal disease, a lower starting dose and gradual increase in dose should be considered for patients with renal impairment.
Fibromyalgia — The recommended dose for Cymbalta is 60 mg administered once daily. Treatment should begin at 30 mg once daily for 1 week, to allow patients to adjust to the medication before increasing to 60 mg once daily. Some patients may respond to the starting dose. There is no evidence that doses greater than 60 mg/day confer additional benefit, even in patients who do not respond to a 60 mg dose, and higher doses are associated with a higher rate of adverse reactions.
Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain — The recommended dose for Cymbalta is 60 mg once daily. Dosing may be started at 30 mg for one week, to allow patients to adjust to the medication before increasing to 60 mg once daily. There is no evidence that higher doses confer additional benefit, even in patients who do not respond to a 60 mg dose, and higher doses are associated with a higher rate of adverse reactions.
Major Depressive Disorder — It is generally agreed that acute episodes of major depression require several months or longer of sustained pharmacologic therapy. Maintenance of efficacy in MDD was demonstrated with Cymbalta as monotherapy. Cymbalta should be administered at a total dose of 60 mg once daily. Patients should be periodically reassessed to determine the need for maintenance treatment and the appropriate dose for such treatment.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder — It is generally agreed that episodes of generalized anxiety disorder require several months or longer of sustained pharmacological therapy. Maintenance of efficacy in GAD was demonstrated with Cymbalta as monotherapy. Cymbalta should be administered in a dose range of 60-120 mg once daily. Patients should be periodically reassessed to determine the continued need for maintenance treatment and the appropriate dose for such treatment.
Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathic Pain — As the progression of diabetic peripheral neuropathy is highly variable and management of pain is empirical, the effectiveness of Cymbalta must be assessed individually. Efficacy beyond 12 weeks has not been systematically studied in placebo-controlled trials.
Fibromyalgia — Fibromyalgia is recognized as a chronic condition. The efficacy of Cymbalta in the management of fibromyalgia has been demonstrated in placebo-controlled studies up to 3 months. The efficacy of Cymbalta was not demonstrated in longer studies; however, continued treatment should be based on individual patient response.
Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain — The efficacy of Cymbalta has not been established in placebo-controlled studies beyond 13 weeks.
Dosing in Special Populations
Hepatic Insufficiency — It is recommended that Cymbalta should ordinarily not be administered to patients with any hepatic insufficiency.
Severe Renal Impairment — Cymbalta is not recommended for patients with end-stage renal disease or severe renal impairment (estimated creatinine clearance
Elderly Patients — No dose adjustment is recommended for elderly patients on the basis of age. As with any drug, caution should be exercised in treating the elderly. When individualizing the dosage in elderly patients, extra care should be taken when increasing the dose.
Pregnant Women — There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women; therefore, Cymbalta should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus. 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
Nursing Mothers — Because the safety of duloxetine in infants is not known, nursing while on Cymbalta is not recommended