Study Finds No Link To Autism, ADHD In Offspring From Antidepressant Use In Pregnancy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Simone Vigod, MD, MSc, FRCPC Psychiatrist and Lead, Reproductive Life Stages Program Women’s Mental Health Program Women’s College Hospital Toronto, ON

Dr. Vigod

Simone Vigod, MD, MSc, FRCPC
Psychiatrist and Lead, Reproductive Life Stages Program
Women’s Mental Health Program
Women’s College Hospital
Toronto, ON

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Depression is one of the most common problems that can complicate a pregnancy. Untreated, or incompletely treated, it can be associated with significant harm to mother and child. While psychotherapies alone may be effective for women with mild (or even moderate) severity symptoms, sometimes antidepressant medication is required. In these cases, the benefits of treatment must be weighed against potential risks. Previous research suggested that there may be an increased risk for autism in children exposed to antidepressant medication during pregnancy. However, previous studies were limited in their ability to account for other potential causes of autism in their analyses. In our study, we used several different strategies to try to compare children whose pregnancy exposures were very similar, except for exposure to an antidepressant.

The main finding was that after using these strategies, there was no longer a statistically significant association between in-utero antidepressant exposure and autism.

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Review of Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders According to Period of Prenatal Antidepressant Exposure:

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Florence Gressier MD PhD

Insermk Department of psychiatry
CHU de Bicêtrem Le Kremlin Bicêtre
France

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Results from recent studies have suggested an increased risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) in children exposed to antidepressants in utero.

We performed a systematic review of and a meta-analysis of published studies to assess the association between ASDs and fetal exposure to antidepressants during pregnancy for each trimester of pregnancy and preconception.

Our systematic review and meta-analysis suggests a significant association between increased ASD risk and maternal use of antidepressants during pregnancy; however, it appears to be more consistent during the preconception period than during each trimester. In addition, the association was weaker when controlled for past maternal mental illness. Maternal psychiatric disorders in treatment before pregnancy rather than antenatal exposure to antidepressants could have a major role in the risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders.

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Link Between Antidepressants During Pregnancy and Birth Defects

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Anick Bérard PhD FISPE

Research chair FRQ-S on Medications and Pregnancy and
Director, Réseau Québécois de recherche sur le médicament (RQRM)
and Professor, Research Chair on Medications, Pregnancy and Lactation
Faculty of Pharmacy University of Montreal and
Director, Research Unit on Medications and Pregnancy
Research Center CHU Ste-Justine 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We have over 20 years of research showing that antidepressant use during the first trimester of pregnancy increases the risk of major congenital malformations. However, it still remains that controversies exist because we are not sure which of this increased risk is due to maternal depression. Therefore, we have only studied depressed pregnant women – some of them did not take antidepressant during pregnancy.

We were able to show that among depressed pregnant women, those who took antidepressants were at increased risk of having children with malformations – especially those taking citalopram. We were also able to show that many SSRIs, SNRI and tricyclic antidepressants put women at increased risk of having children with various malformations due to their similar mechanism of action (serotonin inhibition in utero).

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Depression is a serious condition that requires medical attention during pregnancy. However, given that up to 85% of depressed pregnant women have mild to moderate depression – other treatment (other than antidepressants) options need to be considered. If a woman finds out she is pregnant and is taking antidepressants however, no abrupt discontinuation is suggested and a discussion with a health care provider is advised.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Very few data on the benefits of antidepressant use during pregnancy is available within depressed pregnant women with mild to moderate depression. Our study results taken together with all the body of literature on this topic should lead to other research on the benefits and risks of other forms of treatment for depression such as psychotherapy.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation:

Anick Bérard, Jinping Zhao and Odile Sheehy. Antidepressant use during pregnancy and the risk of major congenital malformations in a cohort of depressed pregnant women: An updated analysis of the Quebec Pregnancy Cohort. BMJ Open, January 2017 DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-01337

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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More Hip Fractures in Elderly on Antidepressants

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Sanna Torvinen-Kiiskinen MSc (Pharm.), PhD student, Kuopio Research Centre of Geriatric Care and School of Pharmacy University of Eastern Finland

Sanna Torvinen-Kiiskinen

Sanna Torvinen-Kiiskinen
MSc (Pharm.), PhD student,
Kuopio Research Centre of Geriatric Care and School of Pharmacy
University of Eastern Finland

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Antidepressants are widely used among elderly persons, especially persons with Alzheimer’s disease. They are used not only for treatment for major depression, but for treatment of anxiety, insomnia and chronic pain as well as behavioral symptoms caused by dementia.

However, antidepressants, as well as other psychotropic drugs, may cause sedation, confusion, orthostatic hypotension and hyponatremia, which increase the risk of falling and fractures. Because of changes in pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics due to aging, older persons are at the higher risk of those adverse events.

The aim of our study was to investigate whether antidepressant use is associated with an increased risk of hip fracture among community-dwelling persons with and without Alzheimer’s disease.

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Long-Term Bone Loss Linked to Antidepressants May Be Ameliorated By Beta Blockers

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Patricia Ducy, PhD Associate Professor Department of Pathology & Cell Biology Columbia University New York, NY 10032

Dr. Patricia Ducy

Patricia Ducy, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Pathology & Cell Biology
Columbia University
New York, NY 10032

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: In the past few years, several large clinical studies have reported an association between the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and an increased risk of bone fractures. Yet, a few studies conducted on small cohorts using these drugs for a short time showed a decrease in bone resorption parameters and thus minor bone gain.

To understand this paradox and to define how the deleterious effect of SSRIs could be prevented we conducted a series of studies in mice treated with fluoxetine, the active molecule of the widely prescribed SSRI Prozac.

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SSRIs for Depression: Initial Dosing Important For Suicide Risk

A001_C001_03160QMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Philippe Courtet MD PhD
Centre Hospitalier Régional Universitaire de Montpellier, Institut National de la Santé et de la Récherche Médicale ,
Université Montpellier, Montpellier, France
Fondation Fondamental, Créteil, France

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Courtet: Depressed outpatients who are beginning the treatment with a SSRI at higher dose than recommended present an increased risk (x2) of worsening of suicidal ideation during the first 6 weeks of treatment.

This is consistent with the study by Miller et al published in the same journal few weeks ago, reporting a double risk of suicide attempt in young subjects (<24 yrs) who are begun an SSRI at higher dose than recommended.

Our results showed that the increased suicide risk with the high dose of SSRI is not restricted to youngsters and is independent of the severity of the depression.

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Do Antidepressants During Pregnancy Promote Cardiac Birth Defects?

Dr. Krista Huybrechts MD PhD Brigham & Women’s Hospital Department of Medicine Division of Pharmacoepidemiology & Pharmacoeconomics Boston, MA 02120MedicalResearch.com Interview Invitation
Dr. Krista Huybrechts MD PhD
Brigham & Women’s Hospital
Department of Medicine
Division of Pharmacoepidemiology & Pharmacoeconomics
Boston, MA 02120

MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Huybrechts: In this cohort study including 949,504 pregnant women enrolled in Medicaid, we examined whether the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and other antidepressants during the first trimester of pregnancy is associated with increased risks for congenital cardiac defects. In order to control for potential confounding by depression and associated factors, we restricted the cohort to women with a depression diagnosis and used propensity score adjustment to control for depression severity and other potential confounders. We found no substantial increased risk of cardiac malformations attributable to SSRIs. Relative risks for any cardiac defect were 1.25 (95%CI, 1.13-1.38) unadjusted, 1.12 (1.00-1.26) depression-restricted, and 1.06 (0.93-1.22) depression-restricted and fully-adjusted. We found no significant associations between the use of paroxetine and right ventricular outflow tract obstruction (1.07, 0.59-1.93), or the use of sertraline and ventricular septal defects (1.04, 0.76-1.41); two potential associations that had been of particular concern based on previous research findings.
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