HEADLINE: SSRIs and BIRTH DEFECTS
ANCHOR LEAD: DOES USE OF SOME TYPES OF ANTIDEPRESSANTS DURING PREGNANCY INCREASE THE RISK OF BIRTH DEFECTS? ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Use of SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, may be associated with an increased risk of certain birth defects when taken during pregnancy. This class of medications is also extremely effective at relieving depression, so what should a woman who suffers from depression do? Redonda Miller, an internal medicine expert at Johns Hopkins, offers her opinion.
MILLER: I think you really have to assess the severity of depression in a woman. If a woman has severe depression, there’s no doubt that treating the mother first and making sure that she is healthy and taking care of herself is of paramount importance, and then everything else will fall into place. Most importantly you need to have a discussion with the woman who’s attempting to conceive, and let her know the risks and benefits to continued SSRI use, so that she can also make an informed decision. :25
Women who want to discontinue SSRI use during pregnancy should taper off gradually, perhaps while trying to conceive. I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting.