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SSRI use not related to increased risk of infant mortality (Sweden)

January 10, 2013

A large study involving nearly 30,000 women and 1.6 million single births in Nordic countries, found that use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) during pregnancy did not have a significant association with stillbirth, neonatal death or postnatal death. Researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden reviewed data on pregnant women from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden and their neonatal and postnatal outcomes in the period 1996 to 2007.

Maternal depression is related to poorer infant outcomes, including increased risk of premature delivery and postnatal mortality. According to the study authors, use of SSRI antidepressants has been associated in the past with congenital abnormalities, neonatal withdrawal symptoms, and pulmonary hypertension, but the risk of stillbirth and infant mortality was not well understood until this point.

According to researchers, any increased rates of mortality associated with SSRI exposure during a mother’s pregnancy were not related to the medication as much as underlying psychiatric disease and unhealthy maternal behaviours such as smoking.

This information is available in an online abstract, “Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors During Pregnancy and Risk of Stillbirth and Infant Mortality” on the Journal of the American Medical Associationwebsite. Full text is available to JAMA members.

Alternatively you can read, “Use of Antidepressants during pregnancy not linked with increased risk of stillbirth, infant death, Study suggests” on the Science Daily website.

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