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SSRIs linked with gestational hypertension

Women who use antidepressants during pregnancy have an increased risk of gestational hypertension of up to 80%, a case-control study has found.

Canadian researchers used data from the Quebec Pregnancy Registry, and included 61,000 women who were 15 years or older at the start of their pregnancy.

They excluded those who had a diagnostic code for hypertension in the 12 months before pregnancy and during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy as they were considered to have chronic hypertension. Matched controls were also selected from the Quebec Pregnancy Registry.

They found a 53% increased risk of pregnancy-induced hypertension associated with antidepressant use during pregnancy. Serotonin-specific reuptake inhibitors were significantly associated with the risk of pregnancy-induced hypertension, with use of paroxetine linked with an 81% increased risk.

Study lead Dr Mary De Vera, post-doctoral fellow at Montréal University, said: ‘These findings provide clinically relevant information on the risks of antidepressant use during pregnancy from the mother's perspective and highlight the importance of future research evaluating the impact of gestational medication use on maternal outcomes.'

British Journal of Pharmacology 2012, online 21 March


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