A new study adds more weight to the argument that antidepressants should not be used during pregnancy unless the health and well-being of the mother is in jeopardy.
Studies have already shown that using a class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) during pregnancy puts the fetus at risk for birth defects of the heart and lungs. But a new study, conducted by researchers at CHE Ste-Justine’s Research Center in Canada, shows that the drugs can also increase the mother’s blood pressure, which can lead to a serious condition known as pre-eclampsia that can be deadly for both mother and child.
For the study, researchers studied data from 1,216 women in the Quebec Pregnancy Registry who had been diagnosed with hypertension during pregnancy but had not previous history of high blood pressure. The group included both women who did have pre-eclampsia and ones who did not have the condition.
These women were then matched with 12,160 other women. Ten pregnant women were selected from each test group and matched to have babies at the same gestational age. Researchers found that about 2 percent of the women who were not using SSRIs experienced high blood pressure during pregnancy compared to about 3.2 percent of women who had high blood pressure while pregnant and using SSRIs.
This is roughly a 60 percent increase in the number of women who suffered high blood pressure.
SSRIs include the brand name drugs Lexapro, Prozac, Celexa, Zoloft and Paxil. When studied individually, researchers noted that 3.2 percent of the women using Paxil experienced high blood pressure – or 81 percent more than women not taking SSRIs.
Researchers stop short of saying SSRI use caused the women to develop high blood pressure, but did point out that the condition could cause serious problems for both mother and her unborn child. Women who have questions about using SSRIs during pregnancy should talk with their doctors.
Source: Daily Rx