Neonatal and Childhood Outcomes in Offspring of Pregnant Women Using Antidepressant Medications: A Critical Review of Current Meta-Analyses

Faruk Uguz
Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 2020 August 24
This article reviewed the results of 21 recent meta-analyses examining the relationship between maternal use of antidepressants during pregnancy and negative outcomes in newborns and children. PubMed was searched for meta-analyses published in English between January 1, 2011, and November 30, 2019, by using combinations of the keywords pregnancy, antidepressants, review, meta-analysis, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, selective serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, tricyclic antidepressants, neonatal outcomes, autism spectrum disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), preterm birth, low birth weight, spontaneous abortion, persistent pulmonary hypertension, infant, newborn, children, and offspring. The present review included a total of 21 relevant meta-analyses that met the inclusion criteria. Most of the meta-analyses reported that compared to non-users, the risks of preterm birth, low birth weight, spontaneous abortion, persistent pulmonary hypertension, autism spectrum disorders, and ADHD in offspring of antidepressant users were significantly higher. Some meta-analyses also noted that the elevated risks were no longer statistically significant when pregnant women with psychiatric diagnoses treated with an antidepressant were compared with control patients who remained untreated. Although this review of current meta-analyses suggests a moderately increased risk of neonatal and childhood outcomes assessed with maternal use of antidepressants, it is difficult to ascertain whether these outcomes are independent of underlying maternal psychiatric disorders.

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