Article

The safety of antidepressant use in pregnancy.

The Hospital for Sick Children, The Motherisk Program, Division of Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology, 555 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M5G 1X8, Canada.
Expert Opinion on Drug Safety (Impact Factor: 2.74). 04/2005; 4(2):273-84. DOI: 10.1517/14740338.4.2.273
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Depression during pregnancy affects an estimated 10 - 20% of women, some of whom will require treatment with antidepressants. It is of great importance that the safety of this particular class of drugs is reviewed, to ensure the optimal treatment of the mother while protecting her unborn child. In this review, current safety data on all available antidepressants are discussed in detail, including the pharmacokinetics of the maternal-fetal unit and the epidemiological studies that have been published to date. The classes of antidepressants discussed include: tricyclics, selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors and other antidepressants. After reviewing these studies, it is evident that these drugs appear to be relatively safe to take during pregnancy. This evidence-based information will be helpful to women and their healthcare providers, when the decision of whether or not to treat with anti-depressants during pregnancy must be made.

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    ABSTRACT: The prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) has increased over recent years. Use of antidepressant medications during pregnancy also shows a secular increase in recent decades, prompting concerns that prenatal exposure may contribute to increased risk of ASD. To systematically evaluate whether prenatal exposure to antidepressant medications is associated with increased risk of ASD. Population-based case-control study. Medical records were used to ascertain case children and control children and to derive prospectively recorded information on mothers' use of antidepressant medications, mental health history of mothers, and demographic and medical covariates. The Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program in Northern California. A total of 298 case children with ASD (and their mothers) and 1507 randomly selected control children (and their mothers) drawn from the membership of the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program in Northern California. ASDs. Prenatal exposure to antidepressant medications was reported for 20 case children (6.7%) and 50 control children (3.3%). In adjusted logistic regression models, we found a 2-fold increased risk of ASD associated with treatment with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors by the mother during the year before delivery (adjusted odds ratio, 2.2 [95% confidence interval, 1.2-4.3]), with the strongest effect associated with treatment during the first trimester (adjusted odds ratio, 3.8 [95% confidence interval, 1.8-7.8]). No increase in risk was found for mothers with a history of mental health treatment in the absence of prenatal exposure to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Although the number of children exposed prenatally to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in this population was low, results suggest that exposure, especially during the first trimester, may modestly increase the risk of ASD. The potential risk associated with exposure must be balanced with the risk to the mother or fetus of untreated mental health disorders. Further studies are needed to replicate and extend these findings.
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