Pharmaceutical

Systematic review of studies finds numerous problems with SSRI use during pregnancy

Pregnant woman Systematic review of studies finds numerous problems with SSRI use during pregnancyWomen who took antidepressants while pregnant were more likely to miscarry, deliver prematurely, and to give birth to babies with developmental and health problems, according to a new systematic review of studies.

The review focused on selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), the most commonly prescribed antidepressants in the United States. Brand names include Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro and Prozac.

Researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Waltham, Mass., noted that women who took SSRIs while pregnant were more likely to deliver their babies preterm. They were also more likely to develop high blood pressure that can lead to pre-eclampsia, a condition that can be life threatening to both mother and baby. Babies were also more likely to suffer from a serious birth defect known as persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn, and to experience long-term neurobehaviorial effects.

Researchers also listed miscarriage, birth defects, newborn behavioral syndrome, neonatal electrocardiograph changes, and fetal growth effects among other complications found in babies born to women who took SSRIs while pregnant.

Despite these risks, almost all SSRIs are listed as Category C pregnancy drugs. Drugs with this classification are considered relatively safe to take during pregnancy because no studies have proven a risk to developing fetuses. Paxil is the only SSRI at this time to be given a Category D classification, meaning studies have shown the drug can be dangerous to unborn babies.

The study’s authors advise pregnant women or women who are trying to become pregnant should seriously consider the risks of taking SSRIs while pregnant, and weigh them against the potential benefits.

Source: MedPage Today