Antidepressants in pregnancy do not harm baby’s development, study says

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Pregnant women who take many common antidepressants no longer need to worry that the medication could impair their children’s future behavioral or cognitive neurodevelopment, according to a new study of more than 145,000 women and their children in the United States followed. for up to 14 years.

“The results of previous studies on this topic showed conflicting results. Due to our large population size and careful study design, we believe that our study provides clarity that can help patients and providers make treatment decisions in pregnancy,” said lead author Elizabeth Suarez, instructor at the Center for Pharmacoepidemiology and Treatment Sciences in Pregnancy. Rutgers University and the Institute of Health, Health Policy and Aging Research.

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Use of antidepressants during pregnancy has not been associated with autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), behavioral disorders, speech and language development, learning and coordination disorders, or intellectual disabilities, according to research published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

“We believe these results are reassuring when it comes to concerns about potential effects on neurodevelopmental outcomes in children, especially for diagnoses that may be of greater concern to prospective parents, such as autism spectrum disorder,” Suarez said by email. mail.

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“This is really an important role. Women and healthcare professionals are often concerned about antidepressants in pregnancy and sometimes decide to suddenly stop these drugs as soon as the pregnancy becomes known,” said Carmine Pariante, professor of biological psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience from King’s College London, in a statement.

Instead, women with depression and other mental conditions for which antidepressants are prescribed should be told that the risk in pregnancy “is not as high as previously thought,” said Pariante, who was not involved in the study.

“I am grateful for this study,” he told CNN by email to Dr. Tiffany Moore Simas, member of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Clinical Practice Guidelines Committee in Obstetrics.

“One in 5 perinatal individuals will experience a mental health condition,” said Moore Simas, who was not involved in the study. “We must stop shaming them for doing what is necessary to take care of themselves. Healthy babies need healthy mothers.”

a controversial topic

Numerous studies over the decades have found associations between antidepressant use during pregnancy and developmental problems in children, predominantly autism and ADHD. But more recent research has questioned the quality of that earlier research.

Much older research was observational in nature and often failed to control for contributing factors such as obesity and other health conditions, environmental toxins, inflammation, and even maternal stress.

Older research also did not consider the impact on a developing fetus carried by a mother with uncontrolled depression, anxiety or another psychiatric disorder. Not treating the mother’s mental disorder has also been linked to “stillbirths, preterm birth, growth restriction and birth weight problems, impaired bonding, adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes, and increased risk for the mental health of the offspring,” said Moore Simas. .

Depressed women may also miss antenatal appointments, skip meals, abuse alcohol or cigarettes, and generally fail to care for their growing fetus as they don’t care for themselves, experts say.

A very small number of antidepressants have been linked to an increased risk of birth defects, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so pregnant women should discuss their medication with their doctors.

“We did not consider other potential adverse outcomes in our study. Our results for neurodevelopmental disorders must be weighed against the risk of other outcomes — such as a small potential increase in the risk of preterm birth — and the benefits of treatment,” said Suarez.

Despite advancing knowledge showing little or no impact from most common antidepressants, many doctors and mothers-to-be are still wary of their use, said Moore Simas.

Consultations between pregnant women and their doctors about antidepressant use are often “framed in the context of the drug’s risk — despite the general data being reassuring,” she said. “Conversations about using mental health medications in pregnancy or otherwise need to take into account the risk of untreated illness.”

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists meets regularly to update guidance on safe medications to use during pregnancy, a spokesperson told CNN and will review recent research such as this new study.

Source: CNN Brasil

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