Washington, March 28: Researchers have linked antidepressant medications taken by pregnant women with increased rates of preterm birth.
Lead author Krista Huybrechts, MS PhD, from the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, said 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.
Huybrechts and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of published studies that evaluated women who took antidepressants during pregnancy and had information on gestational age at birth.
Senior author Adam Urato, MD, a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist at Tufts Medical Center and MetroWest Medical Center, said that they studied 41 papers on this topic and found that the available scientific evidence is becoming clearer that antidepressant use in pregnancy is associated with preterm birth.
He said that 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.
Reesha Shah Sanghani MD, MPH, from Vanderbilt University said several of the studies in this review controlled for maternal depression and these studies continued to show increased rates of preterm birth in the antidepressant exposed pregnancies.
The results have been published online in the journal PLOS ONE. (ANI)