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Common Antidepressants Too Risky During Pregnancy, Researchers Say
Date:10/31/2012

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 31 (HealthDay News) -- Women who take a popular class of antidepressants during pregnancy may be risking the health of their developing fetus, and the risk may outweigh any benefit to the mother, a new review of data suggests.

According to new research, use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) -- which include Celexa, Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft -- while pregnant can increase the risk of miscarriage, preterm birth, pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia and neurobehavioral problems such as autism later in life.

"There is clear and concerning evidence of risk when pregnant women use these medications," said Dr. Adam Urato, senior author of a study appearing in the Oct. 31 online edition of Human Reproduction.

On the other hand, he said, there is no clear evidence that SSRI antidepressants actually benefit the mother in terms of alleviating mild-to-moderate depression.

Not everyone agreed with the researchers' conclusions, however. Dr. Beatriz Currier is associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

She said there is no blanket recommendation as to how best to treat depression during pregnancy and "every woman who presents to a clinician has to undergo a case-by-case analysis of the benefits and risks of antidepressant therapy."

Currier also said that there is "no conclusive data about an increased risk of miscarriage being associated with antidepressants." Nor is there any reason to conclude the rate of preeclampsia or birth defects is higher, she said, although there is some evidence that antidepressant use may be associated with low birth weight babies.

According to background information in the study, antidepressants are the most widely prescribed medications among adults aged 18 to 44. Up to 13 percent of pregnant women take an antidepressa
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