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Pharmacotherapy. 2007 Apr;27(4):546-52.

Safety of newer antidepressants in pregnancy.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacy, The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.


Pharmacotherapy for depression is often necessary during pregnancy. The information available about use of the newer antidepressants in pregnant women is limited by trial design and lack of long-term follow-up of exposed infants. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are not generally thought to be major teratogens. Some recent studies, however, have suggested that paroxetine may be associated with a small increase in risk of congenital abnormalities, particularly cardiac defects. Data on the effect of SSRIs on the incidence of preterm birth, spontaneous abortion, and fetal death are conflicting. Third-trimester exposure to newer antidepressants, including SSRIs and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (e.g., venlafaxine), has been associated with a poor neonatal adaptation syndrome. In addition, SSRI use may be associated with an increased risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn. Preliminary evidence suggests that SSRI exposure in utero does not have significant long-term effects on cognition or behavior. Based on limited information, mirtazapine, bupropion, and venlafaxine do not appear to be major teratogens. Little or no information is available on duloxetine.

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