Stopping meds during pregnancy does not increase risk of depression

By Bill Hathaway

(Medical Xpress) -- Women who discontinue using antidepressants during pregnancy do not appear to have greater risk of having a depressive episode during and after term than those who continue using medications, a new Yale University study shows.

The new study published online September 8 and scheduled to appear in the November print issue of the journal Epidemiology followed a group of women who were seeking , through and into the . A sub-group of 778 women had a history of depression and decided individually whether to continue or discontinue antidepressant medication.  The researchers found that generally, there was no difference in the risk of having a major between women who continued taking medication and those who did not.

"Women often know if they can discontinue medication because they have intimate experience of what happens when they stop treatment.  We think that the women who felt they could stop treatment, temporarily did so and generally remained well," said Kimberly Yonkers, professor of psychiatry and obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences, and lead author of the report.

On the other hand, women who had suffered four or more major depressive episodes prior to their pregnancy were likely to experience depression during pregnancy whether or not they were taking .

"Those women should carefully consider their options. There were women with severe illness who felt they could not stop medication, and they continued treatment in pregnancy.  This group had a high rate of relapse into depression but it might have been even higher if they stopped their treatment," Yonkers said.

The Yale team is currently analyzing effects of antidepressant use on the health of babies born to depressed mothers.

Related Stories

No link between antidepressants and birth defects

May 22, 2008

Expectant mothers can safely use prescribed antidepressants during their first trimester, according to a new study from the Université de Montréal and Ste. Justine Hospital published in the May edition of the British Jo ...

Recommended for you

Electronic health records tied to shorter time in ER

5 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Length of emergency room stay for trauma patients is shorter with the use of electronic health records, according to a study published in the September issue of the Journal of Emergency Nursing.

CDC: Almost everyone needs a flu shot

10 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Less than half of all Americans got a flu shot last year, so U.S. health officials on Thursday urged that everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated for the coming flu season. "It's really unfortunate ...

User comments