[SSRIs and pregnancy: a review of the literature].


PubMedID: 21130237

Soufia M, Aoun J, Gorsane MA, Krebs MO. [SSRIs and pregnancy: a review of the literature]. Encephale. 2010;36(6):513-6.
A review of the consequences of maternal depression on fetal and infant development and the risk and benefits of SSRI use.

We have reviewed the literature published on PubMed between January 1980 and February 2009 using the following keywords: SSRI, depression, pregnancy, abnormality, teratogenic effect.

Pregnancies complicated by the onset or recurrence of a major depressive disorder constitute a complex medical situation. The management of such situations is based on the principle of avoiding, as far as possible, the exposure of the developing foetus to both the maternal illness and the potential teratogenic effects of psychotropic drugs. Epidemiological studies show that maternal depression is a very frequent disease: 10 to 16% of pregnant women fulfill major depressive disorder diagnostic criteria and 15% suffer from postpartum depression. The consequences of such exposure on fetal and infant development are so harmful that a pharmacological treatment is highly recommended. Nowadays, the information available on the safety of SSRI use in pregnancy is abundant and these molecules are probably the most studied drugs in pregnant women. Their beneficial effects largely prevail over their potential fetal/neonatal risks and it is unlikely that any marked teratogenic effect occurs, with the possible exception of an increased risk for cardiovascular defects after maternal use of paroxetine. However, transient neonatal symptoms are common after SSRI use in late pregnancy. These include transient autonomic, gastrointestinal, somatic, and clinical respiratory manifestations in the immediate neonatal period.

Treatment of maternal depression during pregnancy and immediate neonatal period is uniformly recommended despite the potential side effects on the fetus and newborn. With a possible exception for paroxetine, maternal treatment with SSRIs during pregnancy is not associated with significantly increased risks of congenital defects.