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Antidepressants associated with increased risk of miscarriage

By Nigel Praities

Pregnant women taking antidepressants have a significantly increased risk of miscarriage, reveal Canadian researchers.

Their study compared the antidepressant use of over 5,100 women who had a spontaneous abortion, and matched them with an equivalent number of women with successful pregnancies.

They found 5.5% of the women who had a miscarriage had at least one prescription for an antidepressant during their pregnancy. This compared with 2.7% in the control group.

After adjusting for potential confounding factors, the researchers found a 68% increased risk of miscarriage associated with antidepressant prescription.

Of the antidepressants used, paroxetine and venlafaxine use alone were associated with an increased risk of spontaneous abortion.

The study follows a UK prescribing data analysis published earlier this year showing a dramatic increase in antidepressant use in pregnant women.

Lead author Dr Anick Bérard, director of the University of Montreal's Research Unit on Medications and Pregnancy, writes: ‘In light of our results, physicians who have patients of child-bearing age taking antidepressants or have pregnant patients who require antidepressant therapy early in pregnancy may wish to discuss the risks and benefits with them.'

Canadian Medical Association Journal online 31 May

Antidepressants associated with increased risk of miscarriage

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