Nav: Home

Researchers find link between antidepressant use and congenital anomalies or stillbirths

December 02, 2016

Academics at Swansea University have carried out a dose-response analysis which suggests that pregnant women who take a specific type of antidepressant in early pregnancy have a small but significantly greater risk of having babies with major congenital anomalies (sometimes referred to as birth defects) or stillbirths compared with those who did not take these antidepressants.

Professor Sue Jordan, of the College of Human and Health Sciences led the international research team1 of academics from the UK, Denmark and Norway. The study published in the PLOS ONE journal, analysed data from more than 500,000 infants in Wales, Norway and Denmark and found that women who had been prescribed selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, known as SSRIs, in the first trimester of pregnancy or 3 months before pregnancy were at a small but significantly greater risk of having infants with congenital anomalies, particularly severe heart defects or stillbirths compared with those who did not take SSRIs.

The study found that where SSRIs were not prescribed, 6 in 200 pregnancies had an adverse outcome of stillbirth or a baby with a major congenital anomaly, but when SSRIs were prescribed this rose to 7 in 200. The team say this risk is of public health importance due to the severity of the outcome and because SSRIs are prescribed to 5.5% of pregnant women in Wales, 2.1% in Denmark and 1.6% in Norway.

Now, the researchers are calling on health care professionals to take the following action:-
  • review all women requesting SSRI prescriptions and not just those who are planning pregnancy.
  • consider women who misuse substances or alcohol as being at higher risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes when prescribed SSRIs
  • evaluate pre-pregnancy care when SSRIs are prescribed
  • consider offering at-risk women enhanced scans to detect serious heart defects
  • ensure that appropriate levels of neonatal care are available to at-risk women at birth
Professor Jordan said: "To our knowledge, this is the first dose-response analysis that shows the link between SSRI doses and congenital anomalies and stillbirths. While this extra risk may seem small, in my view, the outcomes are as serious as they can be.

"Women should not stop taking SSRIs without consulting their doctors, and we are not saying stop all medicines, but our message is that we want our health care professionals to be very mindful of this link and to take the appropriate action to ensure that women are given the right type of care before, during and after pregnancy to minimise the risks of congenital anomalies and stillbirths linked to SSRIs."

Professor Helen Dolk, who led the EUROmediCAT project, said: "Women should not stop taking SSRIs without discussing with their doctor the benefits and risks of SSRIs and alternative nonpharmacological therapies, since good mental health is important for both mother and child".
-end-
Read the research here: http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0165122,

Notes to editors 1
  • Swansea University, Swansea, UK
  • Queen Mary University of London, London UK
  • Public Health Wales, Swansea, UK
  • Hospital Lillebaelt, Kolding, Denmark
  • Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway.
  • Medical Birth Registry of Norway, Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Bergen Norway
  • Department of Pharmacoepidemiology, Norwegian Institute of Public Health
  • Ulster University, Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, Northern Ireland, UK
EUROmediCAT

EUROmediCAT is a research project, conducted within the European Union's 7th Framework Program. Financial support for the study was provided by the European Union under the 7th Framework Program (grant agreement HEALTH-F5-2011-260598). Start date: 1 March 2011. Duration: 48 months. EUROmediCAT is currently seeking further funding. Its aim is to build a European system for the evaluation of safety of medication use in pregnancy in relation to the risk of congenital anomalies.

The central aim of EUROMEDICAT is to build a European system for reproductive safety evaluation, which enables us to identify systematically and comprehensively the possible adverse effects in pregnancy of a drug in humans at the earliest stage post marketing, and enables us to monitor and evaluate safety measures undertaken in Europe.

Funding

Financial support for the EUROmediCAT study was provided by the European Union under the 7th Framework Program (grant agreement HEALTH-F5-2011-260598). Start date: 1 March 2011. Duration: 48 months. Coordinator Prof. Helen Dolk, University of Ulster, UK Email: h.dolk@ulster.ac.uk.

Further information can be found at: http://www.euromedicat.eu/whatiseuromedicat

More information on the congenital anomalies' registers can be found:

For Wales: CARIS: http://www.wales.nhs.uk/caris

For Norway: The Medical Birth Registry: https://www.fhi.no/en/hn/health-registries/medical-birth-registry-of-norway/

The Prescription Database: http://norpd.no/

For Denmark: http://sundhedsdatastyrelsen.dk/da/registre-og-services/om-de-nationale-sundhedsregistre/graviditet-foedsler-og-boern/foedselsregisteret

Swansea University is a world-class, research-led, dual campus university. The University was established in 1920 and was the first campus university in the UK. It currently offers around 350 undergraduate courses and 350 postgraduate courses to circa 20,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students.

The University's 46-acre Singleton Park Campus is located in beautiful parkland with views across Swansea Bay. The University's 65-acre science and innovation Bay Campus, which opened in September 2015, is located a few miles away on the eastern approach to the city. It has the distinction of having direct access to a beach and its own seafront promenade. Both campuses are close to the Gower Peninsula, the UK's first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Swansea is ranked the top university in Wales and is currently The Times and The Sunday Times 'Welsh University of the Year'. It is also ranked within the top 350 best universities in the world in the Times Higher Education World University rankings.

The results of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 showed the University has achieved its ambition to be a top 30 research University, soaring up the league table to 26th in the UK, with the 'biggest leap among research-intensive institutions' (Times Higher Education, December 2014) in the UK.

The University has ambitious expansion plans as it moves towards its centenary in 2020, as it continues to extend its global reach and realising its domestic and international ambitions.

Swansea University is a registered charity. No.1138342. Visit http://www.swansea.ac.uk

Swansea University

Related Pregnancy Articles:

Going to sleep on your back in late pregnancy
This study looked at whether going to sleep on your back in the third trimester of pregnancy was associated with average lower birth weights.
Opioid use disorder in pregnancy: 5 things to know
Opioid use is increasing in pregnancy as well as the general population.
Medical imaging rates during pregnancy
Researchers looked at rates of medical imaging (CT, MRI, conventional x-rays, angiography, fluoroscopy and nuclear medicine) during pregnancy in this observational study that included nearly 3.5 million pregnant women in the United States and Canada from 1996 to 2016.
New research on diet and supplements during pregnancy and beyond
The foods and nutrients a woman consumes while pregnant have important health implications for her and her baby.
Obesity in early pregnancy linked to pregnancy complications
In a prospective study published in Obesity of 18,481 pregnant women in China who had never given birth before, obesity in early pregnancy was linked to higher risks of spontaneous abortion, preterm birth, and large birth weight in newborns.
Possible link between autism and antidepressants use during pregnancy
An international team led by Duke-NUS Medical School has found a potential link between autistic-like behaviour in adult mice and exposure to a common antidepressant in the womb.
Immigrant women more likely to be overweight during pregnancy
A new study in the Journal of Public Health finds that women in Norway from immigrant backgrounds are more likely to be overweight during pregnancy.
Stillbirths more likely if diabetes in pregnancy not diagnosed
Women who develop diabetes in pregnancy but are not diagnosed are much more likely to experience stillbirth than women without the condition, according to new research.
Do economic conditions affect pregnancy outcomes?
Economic downturn during early pregnancy was linked with modest increases in preterm birth in a Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology analysis.
Birthweight and early pregnancy body mass index may risk pregnancy complications
Women who were born with a low birthweight are at increased risk of pregnancy complications, according to a new Obesity study.
More Pregnancy News and Pregnancy Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#538 Nobels and Astrophysics
This week we start with this year's physics Nobel Prize awarded to Jim Peebles, Michel Mayor, and Didier Queloz and finish with a discussion of the Nobel Prizes as a way to award and highlight important science. Are they still relevant? When science breakthroughs are built on the backs of hundreds -- and sometimes thousands -- of people's hard work, how do you pick just three to highlight? Join host Rachelle Saunders and astrophysicist, author, and science communicator Ethan Siegel for their chat about astrophysics and Nobel Prizes.