Antidepressant Use During Pregnancy Linked to Preterm Birth Consumption of antidepressant medications by pregnant women coincides with increased rates of preterm birth, according to a study published March 26 in PloS One. This finding reinforces the notion that antidepressants should not be used by pregnant women in the absence of a clear need that cannot be met through ... Research in Brief
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Research in Brief  |   June 01, 2014
Antidepressant Use During Pregnancy Linked to Preterm Birth
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Special Populations / Genetic & Congenital Disorders / Research in Brief
Research in Brief   |   June 01, 2014
Antidepressant Use During Pregnancy Linked to Preterm Birth
The ASHA Leader, June 2014, Vol. 19, 14. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB1.19062014.14
The ASHA Leader, June 2014, Vol. 19, 14. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB1.19062014.14
Consumption of antidepressant medications by pregnant women coincides with increased rates of preterm birth, according to a study published March 26 in PloS One. This finding reinforces the notion that antidepressants should not be used by pregnant women in the absence of a clear need that cannot be met through alternative approaches.
“Preterm birth is a major clinical problem throughout the world, and rates have been increasing over the past two decades. At the same time, rates of antidepressant use during pregnancy have increased approximately four-fold,” says lead author Krista Huybrechts of the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. “Therefore, it is essential to determine what effects these medications have on pregnancy.”
Huybrechts and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of published studies that evaluated women who took antidepressants during pregnancy and that included the children’s gestational age at birth. In the study of 41 such papers, 39 showed increased rates of preterm birth in patients taking antidepressants. The association was strongest with antidepressant use in the third trimester. There was no evidence of a beneficial effect or reduction in preterm birth rates with antidepressant use.
“The complication of preterm birth did not appear to be due to the maternal depression, but rather it appears likely to be a medication effect,” says senior author Adam Urato, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at Tufts Medical Center and MetroWest Medical Center.
Preterm birth rates have increased over the past two decades. Children born preterm have higher infant mortality rates than full-term babies and surviving infants are at increased risk of health problems ranging from neurodevelopmental disabilities such as cerebral palsy and intellectual delays to other chronic health problems like asthma. Costs to society have been estimated to be as high as $26.2 billion per year in the United States.
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June 2014
Volume 19, Issue 6