Anti-Depressant Drugs Could Threaten Health of Fetus


Should women who are trying to get pregnant and experiencing depression on account of it be prescribed anti-depressants from the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) class?

Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Tufts Medical Center and MetroWest Medical Center say probably not.

The reason? According to their work, published online in the journal Human Reproduction, taking SSRIs raises the risk of having a miscarriage and preterm birth, as well as raising the risk of neonatal health complications and even neurobehavioral abnormalities like autism.

Say researchers:

"Depression and infertility are two complicated conditions that more often than not go hand in hand. And there are no definitive guidelines for treatment. We hope to provide a useful analysis of available data to better inform decisions made by women and the providers who care for them."

An estimated one in ten women undergoing fertility treatments has reported being prescribed an SSRI, making this a potentially serious problem.

Researchers assert that SSRIs should only be prescribed 'with great caution' and after complete counseling for women having depression while trying to get pregnant.

Senior author Adam Urato, MD, Chairman of Obstetrics and Gynecology at MetroWest Medical Center:

"There are three main points that stand out from our review of the scientific studies on this topic. First, there is clear and concerning evidence of risk with the use of the SSRI antidepressants by pregnant women, evidence that these drugs lead to worsened pregnancy outcomes. Second, there is no evidence of benefit, no evidence that these drugs lead to better outcomes for moms and babies. And third, we feel strongly that patients, obstetrical providers, and the public need to be fully aware of this information."

Source: MNT


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