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Researchers: Pregnant women should avoid antidepressants

Researchers are recommending that pregnant women with past episodes of mild to moderate depression stay away from a class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

An article in the Boston Globe cites a review of more than 100 studies that researchers from Boston IVF and Tufts University School of Medicine published in the journal Human Reproduction. According to the story, the researchers concluded that “there is no evidence of improved pregnancy outcomes with antidepressant use.”

But there are established risks to the use of SSRI antidepressants, the researchers concluded. They include an increased risk of miscarriage, preterm birth, and behavioral problems in newborns. A number of studies have also linked SSRI antidepressants with potentially deadly heart and lung defects in newborns.

SSRI antidepressants, which are among the most widely prescribed prescription medications in the United States, include Prozac and Zoloft.

According to the Boston Globe, almost a third of babies born to mothers who took antidepressants develop a condition called “newborn behavioral syndrome.” Symptoms of that condition include feeding problems, jitteriness, and excessive crying during the first few days or weeks after birth.

The story also mentions a joint statement from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and American Psychiatric Association three years ago, which advised women who experienced mild or no symptoms of depression for at least six months to consider tapering off antidepressants before they become pregnant.

Patients should consult their doctors before making any changes in their medication. A consultation with an SSRI lawyer is also important if there are significant injuries from SSRIs.

See the story here: