Duloxetine, which may be recognized by the name Cymbalta, is a selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SSNRI). The medication works to affect chemicals in the brain that may be unbalanced in people with depression. The drug is effective in adults with major depressive disorder and can be utilized as a pain reliever in those diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

Common duloxetine side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased sweating

Some individuals who use duloxetine report severe side effects, including suicidal behavior. These include:

  • Feeling lightheaded or like you may pass out
  • Pounding heartbeat or fluttering in the chest
  • Changes in vision
  • Unusual bleeding or easy bruising
  • Difficult or painful urination
  • Impotence or sexual dysfunction
  • Liver problems
  • Low sodium levels
  • Manic episodes

Can Pregnant Women Take Duloxetine?

A common question among women who manage depression is if medications like duloxetine are safe to take should they become pregnant. While antidepressants are a primary treatment option for most types of depression, pregnant women with the disorder are advised that using duloxetine during pregnancy comes with risks. Drugs.com writes, “This drug should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefit outweighs the risk to the fetus.”

A woman’s mental health during pregnancy is essential because she may not seek optimal prenatal care or eat the right food their baby needs. Severe depression during pregnancy is associated with increased risks of premature birth.

Data on Duloxetine and Pregnancy Limited

Depression is a challenge to keep under control for anyone, but it is especially challenging for someone pregnant. It can interfere with exercise and eating well-balanced meals, which are vital to your baby’s health.

Hormones also increase significantly during pregnancy, and these hormonal changes can trigger depression or worsen the condition. Dramatic changes during pregnancy also can affect a woman’s mood.

Unfortunately, data is limited when it comes to treating depression with duloxetine in pregnant women. Doctors likely will tell you to avoid consuming the medication while you’re pregnant.

If you are experiencing depression during pregnancy, you must work closely with your primary care physician to manage your symptoms. No studies are currently available that provide information about the effects duloxetine can have on your unborn child. Fortunately, there are natural methods that are safer for you and your unborn child.

Alternatives to Antidepressants During Pregnancy

Almost 13 percent of women meet the criteria for depression during pregnancy, and up to 37 percent say they have depressive symptoms at some time, according to What To Expect, a respected source for expecting parents. For some with depression, medication may be the only option. Unfortunately, it can harm the fetus, and alternative options must be sought out.

Medical experts suggest these alternatives for depression while pregnant:

  • Psychotherapy: Cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown to help many women with depression. While no research on which psychotherapy will be the best option is available, clinicians may advise their patients to make a choice based on clinical experience and personal preference.
  • Acupuncture & Massage: Acupuncture could be an option to treat prenatal depression, and massage may also be helpful. It can help reduce levels of anxiety, depression, and back pain.
  • Bright Light Therapy: Bright light therapy will help adjust your circadian rhythm, which affects mood and sleep. It has been proven as a safe alternative and an excellent option for treating prenatal depression.
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