High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy Linked to Antidepressants

Another disturbing adverse reaction has now been linked to taking antidepressants during pregnancy.  Based on a new study, common selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as Paxil, Zoloft, Lexapro, Prozac and Celexa, have been linked to high blood pressure during pregnancy, called pregnancy induced hypertension.

Pregnancy induced hypertension is sometimes linked with pre-eclampsia, a serious condition that can harm pregnant women and their unborn babies.   If left untreated, preeclampsia can lead to serious, even fatal, complications for both mother and baby.

The case-control study was conducted by Canadian researchers.. According to Pulse today it utilized data from the Quebec Pregnancy Registry.  The case revealed an increased risk of gestational hypertension of up to 80% in pregnant women. The data involved 61,000 women who were 15 years of age or older when they became pregnant.

The issue is particularly important given that antidepressants are one of the most commonly used medications during pregnancy. Up to 20% of pregnant women are affected by depression and anywhere between 4% and 14% of pregnant women frequently use anti-depressants.

The message, however, is not as simple as telling pregnant women to stop taking antidepressants, because once a woman is using them, discontinuation during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of depressive relapses and post-partum depression. “Individual decisions have to be made one woman at a time, and risks and benefits have to be evaluated carefully in consultation with a doctor; there is no ‘risk zero’,” says Dr Bérard.y.



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