Newborn infants face doubled risk with SSRIs
Scandinavian data on 1.6 million infants showed 0.3 per cent of those exposed to an SSRI in late pregnancy developed persistent pulmonary hypertension, compared with 0.12 per cent of those never exposed. Newborns exposed to an SSRI only in early pregnancy had a less marked, but still significant, increased risk, with 0.19 per cent experiencing persistent pulmonary hypertension, the study found.
The authors said persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn was a rare disease, with an absolute risk as low as 1-2 per 1,000 infants in the general population.
“However, as the risk in association with treatment in late pregnancy seems to be more than doubled, we recommend caution when treating pregnant women with SSRIs,” they wrote in the BMJ.
“It is essential to plan the treatment and to weigh the risks of persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn when treating women in late pregnancy with those of relapse of depression and neonatal abstinence syndrome if therapy is interrupted.”
The study included data on 11,014 mothers who had filled a prescription for an SSRI during late pregnancy, and 17,053 who filled one during early pregnancy only. Mothers taking SSRIs were generally older and more likely to be smokers than those not on SSRIs.
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