Neurodevelopment of children following prenatal exposure to venlafaxine, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or untreated maternal depression

Irena Nulman, Gideon Koren, Joanne Rovet, Maru Barrera, Ariel Pulver, David Streiner, Brian Feldman
American Journal of Psychiatry 2012, 169 (11): 1165-74

OBJECTIVE: Effects on child neurodevelopment of neurotransmitter reuptake inhibitors used as antidepressants during pregnancy have not been adequately studied. The authors compared the effects of prenatal exposure to venlafaxine (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and maternal depression.

METHOD: A cohort derived from a prospectively collected database included four groups of children born to 1) depressed women who took venlafaxine during pregnancy (N=62), 2) depressed women who took SSRIs during pregnancy (N=62), 3) depressed women who were untreated during pregnancy (N=54), and 4) nondepressed, healthy women (N=62). The children's intelligence and behavior outcomes were evaluated with standardized instruments at one time point between the ages of 3 years and 6 years, 11 months.

RESULTS: The children exposed to venlafaxine, SSRIs, and maternal depression during pregnancy had similar full-scale IQs (105, 105, and 108, respectively). The IQs of the venlafaxine and SSRI groups were significantly lower than that of the children of nondepressed mothers (112). The three groups exposed to maternal depression had consistently, but nonsignificantly, higher rates of most problematic behaviors than the children of nondepressed mothers. Severity of maternal depression in pregnancy and at testing predicted child behavior. Maternal IQ and child sex predicted child IQ. Antidepressant dose and duration during pregnancy did not predict any cognitive or behavioral outcome.

CONCLUSIONS: Factors other than antidepressant exposure during pregnancy strongly predict children's intellect and behavior. Depression during pregnancy is a significant risk factor for postpartum depression. Children of depressed mothers may be at risk of future psychopathology.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"