Use of duloxetine in pregnancy and lactation

Ann Pharmacother. 2009 Nov;43(11):1898-902. doi: 10.1345/aph.1M317. Epub 2009 Oct 6.


Objective: To report a case of a woman who used duloxetine during pregnancy and breast-feeding.

Case summary: A 29-year-old woman was treated with duloxetine for depression during the second half of an uncomplicated gestation. She gave birth at term to a healthy female infant. A cord blood sample was obtained at birth. The mother continued the antidepressant while exclusively breast-feeding her infant. One month later, we collected blood and milk samples from the mother and a single blood sample from the infant. All samples were analyzed for the presence and concentrations of duloxetine.

Discussion: Duloxetine crosses the placenta at term and is excreted into breast milk. No evidence of developmental or other type of toxicity was observed in the infant at birth or during the first 32 days after birth. The published literature detailing human pregnancy experience with this antidepressant is limited to 11 cases in which women became pregnant while taking duloxetine. In 10 cases, the drug was discontinued when pregnancy was diagnosed and no outcome data were reported. In the eleventh case, an infant exposed to duloxetine 90 mg/day developed neonatal behavioral syndrome. One study examined the excretion of duloxetine into breast milk, but the mothers discontinued nursing for the study. In the present case, no adverse effects from exposure to the drug in milk were noted in the exclusively breast-fed infant. The possibility of functional/neurobehavioral deficits appearing later in life cannot be excluded because long-term follow-up has not been conducted in infants exposed to duloxetine in utero or during nursing.

Conclusions: No developmental toxicity or other signs of toxicity were observed in an infant exposed to duloxetine during the second half of gestation and during breast-feeding in the first 32 days after birth. However, the possibility of functional/neurobehavioral deficits appearing later in life cannot be excluded.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Duloxetine Hydrochloride
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Lactation / blood*
  • Lactation / drug effects
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange / drug effects
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange / physiology*
  • Milk, Human / chemistry
  • Milk, Human / drug effects
  • Milk, Human / metabolism*
  • Pregnancy
  • Thiophenes / blood*
  • Thiophenes / therapeutic use


  • Thiophenes
  • Duloxetine Hydrochloride