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Antidepressant can result in hypertension in pregnant women

New Delhi, Thu, 22 Mar 2012 NI Wire

Antidepressant can result in hypertension in pregnant women

A new study has revealed that use of selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants during pregnancy can increase the risk of high blood pressure or “Hypertension” in pregnant women.

Though a causal link has still not been established but the researchers carrying the study has warned that pregnant woman should stop taking such medications and should consult a doctor.

Hypertension during pregnancy can be dangerous as it can lead to a condition linked to pre-eclampsia, a serious condition that can harm pregnant women and as well as their unborn babies.
Out of 1,216 pregnant women under observation during the research, the case of hypertension in women taking SSRIs was observed to increase from about 2 percent to about 3.2 percent i.e. a relative risk increase of 60 percent. Moreover, paroxetine, a specific SSRI, was seen to increase in incidence of hypertension to about 3.6 percent i.e. 81 percent increase.

"These results are an early indicator of risk attributable to antidepressant drug treatment above that which may be attributed to depression or anxiety disorders in the absence of drug treatment," said Dr Anick Berard, Director of the research unit of medications and pregnancy at CHU Ste-Justine's Research Center, and professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
It is to be noted that use of antidepressants is quite common during pregnancy. Approximately 20 percent of pregnant woman are susceptible to depression and 4 to 14 percent of pregnant woman are known to use antidepressants frequently.

The research took the data from the Quebec Pregnancy Registry and matched 1,216 women who were diagnosed with pregnancy-induced high blood pressure with or without pre-eclampsia and with no history of hypertension before pregnancy, with 12,160 matched controls.

"Pregnancy induced hypertension is a serious condition that can directly affect the mother and her unborn baby. Although a few other studies on the same topic have been performed before, our study is the only one that looks at the class and type of antidepressant and the risk of pregnancy induced hypertension," stated Dr Berard.

It is highly recommended for the women to stop using antidepressant as once it is started in continuation it can be very harmful to discontinue during pregnancy phase. This can lead to an increased risk of depressive relapses and post-partum depression.

"Individual decisions have to be made one woman at a time, and risks and benefits have to be evaluated carefully in consultation with a doctor; there is no 'risk zero,'" Dr Berard said.

"This research adds another piece of evidence and shows the importance of fully assessing the risks and the benefits of antidepressant use during pregnancy for the mother and child,” he added.

The details of the research have been published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

-With inputs from ANI.

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