10 Jul CDC Study Finds Variable Risk of Antidepressants During Pregnancy and Birth Defects
Medical Research: What is the background for this study?
Dr. Reefhuis: There are previous reports on the link between birth defects and SSRIs. However, the results across some of these studies conflicted. It is not clear whether one SSRI might be safer than other SSRIs.
Medical Research: What are the main findings?
Dr. Reefhuis: Reassuringly, we found that the five earlier reported links between specific birth defects and sertraline were not found again. We did find that some birth defects occur two to three times more frequently among babies born to mothers who took paroxetine and fluoxetine in early pregnancy.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Reefhuis: Depression can be very serious and women should not suddenly stop taking their medications. Women should talk to their health care providers about available options, ideally before planning a pregnancy, since early pregnancy is a critical time for the development of a baby’s organs.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Reefhuis: Research needs to continue to focus on individual SSRIs and specific birth defects, so that we can hopefully provide the safest options to women who need treatment for depression before and during pregnancy.
Jennita Reefhuis, PhD, & Epidemiologist with CDC (2015). CDC Study Finds Variable Risk of Antidepressants During Pregnancy and Birth Defects