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Antidepressants during pregnancy linked to preterm birth
Date:3/27/2014

ession during pregnancy is complex and that there are many factors to consider. Pregnant women and their providers need to weigh many issues," says Urato. "It is crucial, though, that the public gets accurate information on this topic."

Rates of preterm birth have been increasing over the past two decades and it is a major public health concern. 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 US.

Of the 41 studies which the authors reviewed, the majority showed increased rates of preterm birth in patients taking antidepressants. The association was strongest with use in the third trimester. There was no evidence of a beneficial effect or reduction in preterm birth with antidepressant use.

"Preterm birth is the leading cause of infant death and it is also a major contributor to both short and long-term illness," says Urato. "While very preterm infants have the highest risk, we now know that even later preterm birth is associated with significant increases in neonatal morbidity and mortality."

"Pregnant women with depression need proper treatment and our results should not be seen as an argument to ignore depression in these patients," says Huybrechts. "These drugs may be necessary in some pregnant women with severe depression in whom other approaches are inadequate. However, for many others, non-drug treatments, such as psychotherapy, will help, and aren't associated with complications like preterm birth."


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Contact: Jeremy Lechan
jlechan@tuftsmedicalcenter.org
617-636-0104
Tufts Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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