Cymbalta Side Effects And Warnings

Learn About Cymbalta and its Side Effects

Cymbalta for Pregnant and/or Breastfeeding Women

Cymbalta for Pregnant and/or Breastfeeding Women

There is not a prescription drug on the market that does not come with a warning of some kind for women who are pregnant and/or breastfeeding. What happens is that the medication moves through the bloodstream of the woman, passing directly to the growing fetus or breast milk. While great for treating anxiety, depression, and pain, Cymbalta for pregnant and/or breastfeeding women is a prime example of the potential for serious risk.

Common Side Effects

Today, Cymbalta is commonly prescribed for an assortment of conditions and while effective, there are risks. Keep in mind that a growing fetus or live baby will not only be exposed to many of the same side effects as woman are but could face life-long debilitating effects. We first want to list some of the more common side effects associated with this medication that could have a greater effect on a woman who is pregnant or breastfeeding.

  • Decreased Appetite - This can prove to be a problem for anyone being treated with Cymbalta but for a pregnant or breastfeeding woman a decreased appetite poses more risk. For instance, a pregnant women needs to consume a greater number of calories derived from healthy foods to aid in the development of a healthy child. The same is true for a woman who is breastfeeding in that proper diet helps with the production of nutritionally sound milk.
  • Diarrhea and/or Constipation - This is another common problem, which again when using Cymbalta for pregnant and/or breastfeeding women can be more serious. One problem is the risk of becoming dehydrated, but also abdominal cramping and excess fatigue.
  • Digestive Problems - One known side effect of taking Cymbalta is problems with the digestive system. Obviously, the last thing a pregnant woman needs is additional queasiness on top of existing morning sickness. Another risk relating to the digestive system when using Cymbalta for pregnant and breastfeeding women is that it can lead to stomach cramping, loss of appetite, reduced weight, and fatigue.
  • Pain - Interestingly, one of the reasons that doctors prescribe Cymbalta is to treat pain yet this is also a common side effect. This includes headache, muscle cramping, sore throat, and generalized pain that can be hard to deal with for anyone but especially difficult for a pregnant or nursing woman.

Treating Depression

During pregnancy, hormones fluctuate dramatically. Due to the increased level of hormones, many women go through periods of depression but for those who already struggle with anxiety or depression, symptoms usually intensify. To reduce the effects, doctors will prescribe antidepressant medication to include Cymbalta.

Because there is concern of using Cymbalta for pregnant and breastfeeding women, a tremendous amount of research has been done. Multiple studies and clinical trials show this to be a viable treatment option although proper dosage and frequency must be monitored closely by a qualified medical professional.

While this drug has helped women deal with anxiety and depression during pregnancy, there remains unanswered questions and concerns specific to the effects on a growing fetus and live child who breastfeeds. For this reason, many doctors will suggest trying alternative treatment options first such as sticking to a well-balanced diet, getting daily exercise, meditating, avoiding stress, and so on.

Meeting the Criteria

The decision to treat a pregnant or nursing woman with this medication is on a patient-by-patient basis. Because every person and situation is unique, the doctor will look at multiple factors to determine if this drug is or is not a viable solution. For example, a woman with a high-risk pregnancy would probably be a poor candidate for Cymbalta.

In other words, this particular medication will not simply be prescribed because a pregnant or nursing woman has anxiety or depression. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule but in general, a doctor will decide to use Cymbalta for pregnant and/or breastfeeding women for the following conditions.

  • Major Depressive Disorder
  • Pain associated with Fibromyalgia, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, Multiple Sclerosis, and other like illnesses
  • Neuropathic pain linked to Diabetes
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), which is defined as being excessive worry and anxiety existing for a minimum of six months

Risks to the Fetus or Growing Baby

As mentioned, using Cymbalta for pregnant and/or Breastfeeding women who live with anxiety, depression, or pain does pose risks but the primary focus is how this medication affects a fetus or live baby. According to the latest information, this medication poses the least amount of risk during the first and second trimester whereas level of risk is much higher during the third trimester.

Something else to consider is the long-term effects this drug may or may not have on a child. Again, numerous studies have been performed to better understand the effects of this medication and while there is some controversy surrounding the findings, data suggests the following:

  • Constant or frequent crying
  • Difficulty with feeding, especially breastfeeding
  • Hyper-Reflexia, which consists of over-responsive or over-active reflexes such as spasms and twitching
  • Irritability

One study in particular that involved the use of test animals showed that Cymbalta caused the development of toxicity resulting in restricted growth, compromised behavior, and even death. The way this relates to damage caused to a growing fetus or live child has not yet been determined but because of these findings, it is obvious that the use of Cymbalta for pregnant and/or breastfeeding women is potentially risky to the women but also children.