High blood pressure linked to SSRI use during pregnancy

blood cells1 High blood pressure linked to SSRI use during pregnancyStudies have revealed how dangerous antidepressants can be to fetuses exposed to the medication in utero, but there has been little research into how the drugs affect the mother’s health. A new study, published in The British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, shows that antidepressant use during pregnancy may also put the mother’s health at risk.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, are the most prescribed class of antidepressants in the country and include the brand names Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, Lexparo and Prozac. Recent studies have shown using the drugs while pregnant increases a woman’s chance of delivering a baby with birth defects, including heart, lung, brain and spine defects. The drugs have also been tied to autism and developmental delays in children.

The latest study turned the spotlight on women’s health and found that using antidepressants – SSRIs, in particular – while pregnant increased the likelihood that she would be diagnosed with hypertension, or high blood pressure, which can lead to pre-eclampsia, a potentially deadly condition for both mother and baby.

The new study, conducted by researchers at Ste. Justine’s Hospital in Montreal, Canada, looked at more than 13,000 pregnant women, 1,200 of whom had pregnancy-induced hypertension with no history of the condition prior to becoming pregnant. Women who took antidepressants of any kind while pregnant had a 53 percent chance of developing high blood pressure. Those who took the SSRI Paxil had an 81 percent risk.

Researchers say the incidence of high blood pressure in women using SSRIs while pregnant is relatively low and that women should consult with their doctors if they have any questions or concerns.

Source: NY Times