Posts Tagged ‘antidepressant’

Antidepressant use and what it means for pregnant women

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016

Doctor with womanMore than 15% of reproductive-aged women have filled a prescription for an antidepressant medication during the years 2008-2013 according to a new analysis released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

An antidepressant is a medication used to treat depression. Some commonly used antidepressants are sertraline (Zoloft), bupropion (Wellbutrin, Zyban), and citalopram (Celexa).

Why is this important?

There is conflicting evidence about the potential link between some antidepressants and certain birth defects.  Antidepressant medication use during pregnancy has been increasing in the U.S. Given that 50% of all pregnancies are unplanned, antidepressant use may  occur during the first weeks of pregnancy, a critical time for fetal development.

Further research on antidepressant safety during pregnancy is needed so that health care providers can advise women about the potential risks and benefits of using certain antidepressants before, during and between pregnancies.

What is being done?

The CDC’s initiative, Treating for Two: Safer Medication Use in Pregnancy, provides women and their health care providers with reliable and accessible information on common medication used during pregnancy. The CDC aims to expand and accelerate research on prescription antidepressant use during pregnancy so that women have up-to-date information and providers can make informed treatment decisions and prescribe the safest medications.

What can you do?

If you are thinking about pregnancy or are  pregnant, speak with your prenatal care provider about any medications you are taking.

If you’re taking an antidepressant and find out you’re pregnant, don’t stop taking the medicine without talking to your provider first. Not taking your medicine may be harmful to your baby, and it may make your depression come back.

Bottom line

Talk with all of your providers about the benefits and risks of taking an antidepressant during pregnancy and decide together on your treatment plan.

Pregnancy and depression

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

depressionDid you know that as many as 1 out of 5 women have symptoms of depression during pregnancy? For some women, those symptoms are severe. In pregnancy, women who have been depressed before are at higher risk of depression than other women. It’s not always the blissful, blossoming time that we’ve read about or seen in the movies.

Depression is an illness that involves the body, mood and thought. It affects the way a woman feels about herself and the way she thinks about things. Depression is a serious medical condition. It poses risks for both mom and baby. But a range of treatments is available, including therapy, support groups and medications.

It’s usually best for a team of health care professionals to work with a pregnant woman who is depressed or who has a history of depression. Team members include:
• The provider who is caring for her during her pregnancy
• A mental health professional
• The provider who will take care of the baby after birth
Together, the team and the pregnant woman decide what is best for her and her baby.

Often a pregnant woman wonders whether antidepressant drugs, such as Zoloft and Prozac, will harm her baby or herself. There are no simple answers. Each woman and her health care providers must work together to make the best decision for her and her baby. The drugs used to treat depression have both risks and benefits that must be weighed in every individual case.

IMPORTANT: If you are taking an antidepressant and find that you are pregnant, do not stop taking your medication without first talking to your health provider. Call him or her as soon as you discover that you’re expecting. It may be unhealthy to stop taking an antidepressant suddenly.

To learn more, read our article that addresses two types of depression: major depression (a serious illness that interferes with a person’s ability to work, study, sleep, eat and enjoy oneself) and milder forms of depression that are less severe.

Are antidepressant meds safe during pregnancy?

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

depressionDepression is a serious illness and shouldn’t be ignored.  If you are being treated for depression with a medication and are hoping to become pregnant, it’s good to know that most antidepressant medications have not been linked to a higher risk of birth defects in babies. Some antidepressants taken in the last trimester of pregnancy may produce temporary side effects in the baby, however, such as jitteriness, difficulty feeding, sleeping or breathing.  In most cases, these side effects last only a few days.

It’s not a good idea to stop your medication when you get that positive pregnancy test result.  Studies have reported higher rates of miscarriage, low birthweight and babies who are small-for-gestational age when depression is left untreated during pregnancy.  Your provider may want to lower your dosage or change your medication.  Stopping it all together can lead to the return of your symptoms of depression, too.  A relapse of depression during pregnancy could increase the risk of pregnancy complications. Read more.

Some antidepressants have been studied more thoroughly than others.  You can get specific information about your medication by contacting OTIS, the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists.

Talk with your provider about the best way for you to approach pregnancy.  Once you are pregnant, keep in touch so you can make any adjustments that may be necessary to help you have a healthy pregnancy and baby.