Duloxetine: Package Insert and Label Information (Page 5 of 8)

8.5 Geriatric Use

Geriatric Exposure in Premarketing Clinical Trials of Duloxetine

  • Of the 2,418 patients in MDD trials, 6% (143) were 65 years of age or over.
  • Of the 1041 patients in CLBP trials, 21% (221) were 65 years of age or over.
  • Of the 487 patients in OA trials, 41% (197) were 65 years of age or over.
  • Of the 1,074 patients in the DPNP trials, 33% (357) were 65 years of age or over.
  • Of the 1,761 patients in FM trials, 8% (140) were 65 years of age or over.

In the MDD, GAD, DPNP, FM, OA, and CLBP studies, no overall differences in safety or effectiveness were generally observed between these patients and younger adult patients, and other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between these geriatric and younger adult patients, but greater sensitivity of some older patients cannot be ruled out.

SSRIs and SNRIs, including duloxetine have been associated with clinically significant hyponatremia in geriatric patients, who may be at greater risk for this adverse reaction [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.13)] .

In an analysis of data from all placebo-controlled-trials, duloxetine -treated patients reported a higher rate of falls compared to placebo-treated patients. The increased risk appears to be proportional to a patient’s underlying risk for falls. Underlying risk appears to increase steadily with age. As geriatric 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 duloxetine treatment is unclear. Falls with serious consequences including bone fractures and hospitalizations have been reported with duloxetine use [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.3) and Adverse Reactions ( 6.1)] .

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 C max , 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 adult patient is not necessary.

8.6 Gender

Duloxetine’s half-life is similar in men and women. Dosage adjustment based on gender is not necessary.

8.7 Smoking Status

Duloxetine bioavailability (AUC) appears to be reduced by about one-third in smokers. Dosage modifications are not recommended for smokers.

8.8 Race

No specific pharmacokinetic study was conducted to investigate the effects of race.

8.9 Hepatic Impairment

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 C max was similar to normals in the cirrhotic patients, the half-life was about 3 times longer [see Dosage and Administration ( 2.7) and Warnings and Precautions ( 5.14)] .

8.10 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, C max and AUC values were approximately 100% greater in patients with ESRD 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 impairment (estimated CrCl 30 to 80 mL/min) have no significant effect on duloxetine apparent clearance [see Dosage and Administration ( 2.7) and Warnings and Precautions ( 5.14)] .


9.2 Abuse

In animal studies, duloxetine did not demonstrate barbiturate-like (depressant) abuse potential.

While duloxetine has not been systematically studied in humans for its potential for abuse, there was no indication of drug-seeking behavior in the clinical trials. However, it is not possible to predict on the basis of premarketing experience the extent to which a CNS active drug will be misused, diverted, and/or abused once marketed. Consequently, physicians should carefully evaluate patients for a history of drug abuse and follow such patients closely, observing them for signs of misuse or abuse of duloxetine (e.g., development of tolerance, incrementation of dose, drug-seeking behavior).

9.3 Dependence

In drug dependence studies, duloxetine did not demonstrate dependence-producing potential in rats.


10.1 Signs and Symptoms

In postmarketing experience, fatal outcomes have been reported for acute overdoses, primarily with mixed overdoses, but also with duloxetine only, including 1000 mg of duloxetine (approximately 8.3 times the maximum recommended dosage). Signs and symptoms of overdose (duloxetine alone or with mixed drugs) included somnolence, coma, serotonin syndrome, seizures, syncope, tachycardia, hypotension, hypertension, and vomiting.

10.2 Management of Overdose

There is no specific antidote to a duloxetine overdosage, but if serotonin syndrome ensues, specific treatment (such as with cyproheptadine and/or temperature control) may be considered.

In case of acute overdose with duloxetine, treatment should consist of those general measures employed in the management of overdose with any drug, such as assuring an adequate airway, oxygenation, and ventilation and monitoring cardiac rhythm and vital signs. Gastric lavage with a large-bore orogastric tube with appropriate airway protection, if needed, may be indicated if performed soon after ingestion or in symptomatic patients. Induction of emesis is not recommended.

Activated charcoal may be useful in limiting absorption of duloxetine from the gastrointestinal tract. Administration of activated charcoal has been shown to decrease AUC and C max by an average of one-third, although some patients had a limited effect of activated charcoal. Due to the large volume of distribution of duloxetine, forced diuresis, dialysis, hemoperfusion, and exchange transfusion are unlikely to be beneficial.

In managing overdose, the possibility of multiple drug involvement should be considered. A specific caution involves patients who overdose with duloxetine and tricyclic antidepressants. In such a case, decreased clearance of the parent tricyclic and/or its active metabolite may increase the possibility of clinically significant sequelae and extend the time needed for close medical observation [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.4) and Drug Interactions ( 7)] .

Consider contacting a poison control center (1-800-222-1222 or www.poison.org) for additional information on the treatment of overdosage.


Duloxetine hydrochloride USP is a selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) for oral administration. Its chemical designation is (+)-( S)- N -methyl-γ-(1-naphthyloxy)-2-thiophenepropylamine hydrochloride. The molecular formula is C 18 H 19 NOS•HCl, which corresponds to a molecular weight of 333.88. The structural formula is:


Duloxetine hydrochloride USP is a white to brownish-white solid, which is slightly soluble in water.

Each capsule contains enteric-coated pellets of 20, 30, 40 or 60 mg of duloxetine hydrochloride USP (equivalent to 22.4, 33.7, 44.9 or 67.3 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 sugar spheres, hypromellose, sucrose, talc, methacrylic acid copolymer dispersion, and triethyl citrate.

The capsule shell contains gelatin, FD&C Red No. 3 (40 mg), FD&C Blue No. 1 (40 mg), FD&C Blue No. 2 (20 mg, 30 mg, 60 mg), titanium dioxide, and sodium lauryl sulfate.

For 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg (body & cap) and 60 mg (body only) strengths, imprinting black ink contains shellac, dehydrated alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, butyl alcohol, propylene glycol, strong ammonia solution, black iron oxide, potassium hydroxide and purified water.

For 60 mg (cap only) strength, imprinting white ink contains shellac, dehydrated alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, butyl alcohol, propylene glycol, strong ammonia solution, purified water, potassium hydroxide, and titanium dioxide.

USP Assay & Organic Impurities test pending.


12.1 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.

12.2 Pharmacodynamics

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).

Duloxetine is in a class of drugs known to affect urethral resistance. [see Warnings and Precautions ( 5.15)] .

Cardiac Electrophysiology

The effect of duloxetine 160 mg and 200 mg administered twice daily (2.7 and 3.3 times the maximum recommended dosage, respectively) to steady state was evaluated in a randomized, double-blinded, two-way crossover study in 117 healthy female adult subjects. No QT interval prolongation was detected. Duloxetine appears to be associated with concentration-dependent but not clinically meaningful QT shortening.

12.3 Pharmacokinetics

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.


After oral duloxetine administration duloxetine hydrochloride is well absorbed. There is a median 2 hour lag until absorption begins (T lag ), with maximal plasma concentrations (C max ) of duloxetine occurring 6 hours post dose. 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.

Effect of Food: Food does not affect the C max 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%.


The apparent volume of distribution averages about 1640 L. Duloxetine is highly bound (>90%) to proteins in human plasma, binding primarily to albumin and α 1 -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.



Biotransformation and disposition of duloxetine in humans have been determined following oral administration of 14 C-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.

Specific Populations

Pediatric Patients

Duloxetine steady-state plasma concentration was comparable in pediatric patients 7 to 17 years of age and adult patients. The average steady-state duloxetine concentration was approximately 30% lower in this pediatric population relative to adult patients. The model-predicted duloxetine steady state plasma concentrations in pediatric patients 7 to 17 years of age were mostly within the concentration range observed in adult patients and did not exceed the concentration range in adults.


13.1 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 (3 times the maximum recommended human dose (MRHD) of 120 mg/day given to children on a mg/m 2 basis), there was an increased incidence of hepatocellular adenomas and carcinomas. The no-effect dose was 50 mg/kg/day (1 time the MRHD given to children). Tumor incidence was not increased in male mice receiving duloxetine at doses up to 100 mg/kg/day (2 times the MRHD given to children).

In rats, dietary doses of duloxetine up to 27 mg/kg/day in females (1 times the MRHDgiven to children) and up to 36 mg/kg/day in males (1.4 times the MRHD given to children) 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 (3 times the MRHD given to adolescents on a mg/m 2 basis) did not alter mating or fertility.


14.1 Overview of the Clinical Trials

The efficacy of duloxetine has been established in the following populations in adequate and well-controlled trials:

  • Major Depressive Disorder (MDD): 4 short-term (Studies MDD-1, MDD-2, MDD-3, and MDD-4) and 1 maintenance trial (Study MDD-5) in adults [see Clinical Studies ( 14.2)] .
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD): 3 short-term trials in adults (Studies GAD-1, GAD-2, and GAD-3), 1 maintenance trial in adults (Study GAD-4), 1 short-term trial in geriatric patients (Study GAD-5), and 1 short-term trial in pediatric patients 7 to 17 years of age (Study GAD-6) [see Clinical Studies ( 14.3)] .
  • Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathic Pain (DPNP): Two 12-week trials in adults (Studies DPNP-1 and DPNP-2) [see Clinical Studies ( 14.4)] .
  • Fibromyalgia (FM): Two trials in adults (one of 3 months duration and one of 6 months duration) (Studies FM-1 and FM-2) [see Clinical Studies ( 14.5)] .
  • Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain: Two 12- to 13-week trials in adult patients with chronic low back pain (CLBP) (Studies CLBP-1 and CLBP-3) and one 13-week trial in adult patients with chronic pain due to osteoarthritis (OA) (Study OA-1) [see Clinical Studies ( 14.6)]

Additionally, a summary of the following trials that did not demonstrate efficacy are presented below: Study FM-3 (a 16-week trial in adult patients with fibromyalgia), Study CLBP-2 (a 13-week trial in adult patients with CLBP), and Study OA-2 (a 13-week trial in adult patients with chronic pain due to OA).

Additional pediatric use information is approved for Eli Lilly and Company, Inc.’s CYMBALTA (duloxetine) delayed-release capsules. However, due to Eli Lilly and Company Inc.’s marketing exclusivity rights, this drug product is not labeled with that pediatric information.

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