"Indeed a survey of women initiated on either valproate or carbamazepine in the psychiatric department of three teaching hospitals over a twelve month period in England and Wales found that “standards of documentation regarding child bearing issues in this representative sample (was) poor” . Given recent estimates that 50% of pregnancies in the UK are unplanned [20,21] (and it is likely that rates of unplanned pregnancies in the psychiatric population are above population norms ) the issues of contraception, teratogenicity counselling and the importance of documenting these discussions, are particularly pertinent to psychiatrists. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Anticonvulsants have been used to manage psychiatric conditions for over 50 years. It is recognised that some, particularly valproate, carbamazepine and lamotrigine, are human teratogens, while others including topiramate require further investigation. We aimed to appraise the documentation of this risk by psychiatrists and review discussion around contraceptive issues.
A retrospective review of prescribing patterns of four anticonvulsants (valproate, carbamazepine, lamotrigine and topiramate) in women of child bearing age was undertaken. Documented evidence of discussion surrounding teratogenicity and contraceptive issues was sought.
Valproate was most commonly prescribed (n=67). Evidence of teratogenic risk counselling at medication initiation was sub-optimal -- 40% of individuals prescribed carbamazepine and 22% of valproate. Documentation surrounding contraceptive issues was also low- 17% of individuals prescribed carbamazepine and 13% of valproate.
We found both low rates of teratogenic risk counselling and low rates of contraception advice in our cohort. Given the high rates of unplanned pregnancies combined with the relatively high risk of major congenital malformations, it is essential that a detailed appraisal of the risks and benefits associated with anticonvulsant medication occurs and is documented within patients' psychiatric notes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fertility rates among adolescents have decreased substantially in recent years, yet fertility rates among adolescent girls with mental illness have not been studied. We examined temporal trends in fertility rates among adolescent girls with major mental illness.
We conducted a repeated annual cross-sectional study of fertility rates among girls aged 15 to 19 years in Ontario, Canada (1999-2009). Girls with major mental illness were identified through administrative health data indicating the presence of a psychotic, bipolar, or major depressive disorder within 5 years preceding pregnancy (60 228 person-years). The remaining girls were classified into the comparison group (4 496 317 person-years). The age-specific fertility rate (number of live births per 1000 girls) was calculated annually and by using 3-year moving averages for both groups.
The incidence of births to girls with major mental illness was 1 in 25. The age-specific fertility rate for girls with major mental illness was 44.9 per 1000 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 43.3-46.7) compared with 15.2 per 1000 (95% CI: 15.1-15.3) in unaffected girls (rate ratio: 2.95; 95% CI: 2.84-3.07). Over time, girls with major mental illness had a smaller reduction in fertility rate (relative rate: 0.86; 95% CI: 0.78-0.96) than did unaffected girls (relative rate: 0.78; 95% CI: 0.76-0.79).
These results have key clinical and public policy implications. Our findings highlight the importance of considering major mental illness in the design and implementation of pregnancy prevention programs as well as in targeted antenatal and postnatal programs to ensure maternal and child well-being.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Treating pregnant women with bipolar disorder is among the most challenging clinical endeavors. Patients and clinicians are faced with difficult choices at every turn, and no approach is without risk. Stopping effective pharmacotherapy during pregnancy exposes the patient and her baby to potential harms related to bipolar relapses and residual mood symptom-related dysfunction. Continuing effective pharmacotherapy during pregnancy may prevent these occurrences for many; however, some of the most effective pharmacotherapies (such as valproate) have been associated with the occurrence of congenital malformations or other adverse neonatal effects in offspring. Very little is known about the reproductive safety profile and clinical effectiveness of atypical antipsychotic drugs when used to treat bipolar disorder during pregnancy. In this paper, we provide a clinically focused review of the available information on potential maternal and fetal risks of untreated or undertreated maternal bipolar disorder during pregnancy, the effectiveness of interventions for bipolar disorder management during pregnancy, and potential obstetric, fetal, and neonatal risks associated with core foundational pharmacotherapies for bipolar disorder.
Drug, Healthcare and Patient Safety 01/2015; 7:7-29. DOI:10.2147/DHPS.S50556
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