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Cymbalta and Pregnancy


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The antidepressant medication Cymbalta (duloxetine) has been associated with a possible increased risk of birth defects and life-threatening complications at birth. However, our lawyers are concerned that Eli Lilly & Co. has not done enough to warn women and doctors about the risks of Cymbalta and pregnancy.

Free Cymbalta Birth Defect Lawsuit Evaluation: If you or your loved one took Cymbalta while pregnant and had a baby with a birth defect, contact our law firm immediately for a free case consultation. If you file a lawsuit, you could receive compensation for your child’s injury, medical expenses, and more.

What is Cymbalta?

Cymbalta (duloxetine) is an antidepressant medication in the SNRI (serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor) class. It treats severe mood disorders, including major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder, by influencing levels of neurotransmitters in the brain. It is manufactured by Eli Lilly & Co. and was approved by the FDA to treat depression in 2004.

Cymbalta and Pregnancy

Depression is a serious mental illness that does not go away during pregnancy. This is why at least 6-13% of women take antidepressants during pregnancy every year. Most experts recommend using Cymbalta during pregnancy if the potential risk of relapsing into depression is more serious than the potential harm to a fetus.

Unfortunately, many birth defects (especially heart defects and neural tube defects) occur during the first trimester, before most women are even aware of a pregnancy. Other birth defects and complications (such as Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn or fetal withdrawal syndrome) occur when antidepressants are taking during the last three months of pregnancy.

Studies of Cymbalta and Pregnancy

In February 2013, the International Journal of Medical Sciences published a study of Cymbalta and pregnancy. Researchers found that Cymbalta was associated with the following pregnancy complications:

  • Congenital abnormalities (birth defects)
  • Spontaneous abortion
  • Premature or post-term birth
  • Fetal death
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Neurobehavioral defects

Cymbalta Prescribing Information Pregnancy Warning

According to the Prescribing Information for Cymbalta, “nursing while on Cymbalta is not recommended.” They also warn about Cymbalta and pregnancy:

“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.”

Cymbalta Pregnancy Category

Cymbalta has been assigned Pregnancy Category C by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This is because animal studies have shown possible fetal side effects of Cymbalta and pregnancy. When pregnant rabbits were given very high doses of Cymbalta, it decreased the weight of fetuses. Rats who were given 2-times the human dose had pups with low birth weight and neurological side effects.

Cymbalta and Fetal Withdrawal Syndrome

Cymbalta passes through the placenta and a fetus’s blood-brain barrier. Doctors know this because fetal withdrawal syndrome (or “serotonin syndrome”) affects up to 30% of newborns exposed to antidepressants during the third trimester. Although withdrawal is not usually life-threatening, complications may require prolonged hospitalization, tube feeding, and respiratory support.

Symptoms of fetal withdrawal from Cymbalta:

  • Respiratory distress
  • Seizures
  • Cyanosis (“blue baby syndrome”) caused by low oxygen in the blood
  • Temperature instability
  • Feeding difficulty
  • Vomiting
  • Low blood-sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Tremors
  • Jitteriness
  • Constant crying (high-pitched for 3 hours or more)
  • And more

Cymbalta Birth Defects

Schmidt & Clark, LLP provides free case evaluations for women who took Cymbalta before or during pregnancy and had a baby with a birth defect. We are currently evaluating claims involving the following birth defects:

  • Atrial Septal Defects
  • Coarctation of the Aorta
  • Gastroschisis – abdominal wall defect
  • Anencephaly
  • Cleft Palate
  • Ventricular Septal Defects
  • Ebstein’s Anomaly
  • Mitral Valve Defects
  • Transposition of the Great Arteries
  • Tetralogy of Fallot
  • Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS)
  • Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome (HRHS)
  • Tricuspid Valve Stenosis
  • Tricuspid Atresia
  • Aortic Stenosis
  • Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA)
  • Truncus Arteriosus
  • Heart Murmur
  • Pulmonary Stenosis
  • Pulmonary Atresia
  • Esophageal Stenosis
  • Esophageal Atresia
  • Clubfoot
  • Anal Atresia
  • Spina Bifida
  • Heart Malformations
  • Neural Tube Defects
  • Hypoplasia
  • Hydranencephaly
  • Hand Deformations
  • Cleft Lip
  • Growth Restriction
  • Iniencephaly
  • Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN)
  • Craniosynostosis
  • Hypospadias
  • Mental Retardation
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Omphalocele
  • Encephalocele
  • Down’s Syndrome
  • Dandy Walker Syndrome
  • Undescended Testicles
  • Cloacal Exstrophy
  • Hydronephrosis

Do I have a Cymbalta Birth Defect Lawsuit?

The Product Liability & Defective Drug Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Cymbalta birth defect lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new cases in all 50 states.

Free Cymbalta Birth Defect Lawsuit Evaluation: Again, if you took Cymbalta while pregnant and had a baby with a birth defect, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a Cymbalta birth defect lawsuit, and our lawyers can help.

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