Antidepressants May Cause High Blood Pressure In Pregnant Women [Study]
Depressing news for pregnant women who are already taking antidepressants: taking antidepressants during pregnancy may increase the risk of hypertension.
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a serious medical condition that can cause harm to the mother and to the baby. Hypertension has also been linked with pre-eclampsia, which is an even more serious pregnancy complication that often necessitates a premature birth.
In a recent study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, researchers discovered a link between the use of serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants and an increased risk of high blood pressure in pregnant women taking the drug.
To determine a link, if any, between antidepressants and hypertension, researchers compared the data of 1,216 women from the Quebec Pregnancy Registry with 12,160 matched controls. All 1,216 of the women had been diagnosed with pregnancy-induced hypertension with or without pre-eclampsia but did not have a history of high blood pressure before pregnancy.
For women taking SSRI antidepressants, the incidence of hypertension increased from about 2% to about 3.2%, which is a relative risk increase of 60%. For the SSRI parozetine (Paxil, Pexeva), the incidence of hypertension increased from the 2% to about 3.6%, which is an increase of 81%.
In other words, pregnant women who were taking antidepressants had a higher incidence of high blood pressure than pregnant woman not on the drugs.
However, it must be noted that a causal link between antidepressants and high blood pressure during pregnancy has not yet been determined.
Senior researcher Dr. Anick Bérard, director of the research unit of medications and pregnancy at CHU Ste-Justine’s Research Center and a professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Montreal, commented on the results of the study:
“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.”
Pregnant women who are taking antidepressants are advised to continue taking their medication until they can discuss the issue with their doctor because discontinuing antidepressants during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of depressive relapses and postpartum depression.
Do you think that the results of this study will affect the ways in which pregnant women suffering from depression are treated?