Pregnancy: Some epidemiological studies suggest an increased risk of cardiovascular defects associated with the use of fluoxetine during the first trimester. The mechanism is unknown. Overall the data suggest that the risk of having an infant with a cardiovascular defect following maternal fluoxetine exposure is in the region of 2/100 compared with an expected rate for such defects of approximately 1/100 in the general population.
Epidemiological data have suggested that the use of SSRIs in pregnancy, particular in late pregnancy, may increase the risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension in the newborn (PPHN). The observed risk was approximately 5 cases per 1000 pregnancies. In the general population 1 to 2 cases of PPHN per 1000 pregnancies occur.
Fluoxetine should not be used during pregnancy unless the clinical condition of the woman requires treatment with fluoxetine and justifies the potential risk to the foetus. Abrupt discontinuation of therapy should be avoided during pregnancy (see Dosage & Administration). If fluoxetine is used during pregnancy, caution should be exercised, especially during late pregnancy or just prior to the onset of labour since some other effects have been reported in neonates: irritability, tremor, hypotonia, persistent crying, difficulty in sucking or in sleeping. These symptoms may indicate either serotonergic effects or a withdrawal syndrome. The time to occur and the duration of these symptoms may be related to the long half-life of fluoxetine (4-6 days) and its active metabolite, norfluoxetine (4-16 days).
Breast-feeding: Fluoxetine and its metabolite norfluoxetine, are known to be excreted in human breast milk. Adverse events have been reported in breastfeeding infants. If treatment with fluoxetine is considered necessary, discontinuation of breastfeeding should be considered; however, if breastfeeding is continued, the lowest effective dose of fluoxetine should be prescribed.
Fertility: Animal data have shown that fluoxetine may affect sperm quality (see Pharmacology: Toxicology: Preclinical safety data under Actions). Human case reports with some SSRI's have shown that an effect on sperm quality is reversible. Impact on human fertility has not been observed so far.