Antidepressants could be risk to unborn babies

The British National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) reports that women who take popular antidepressant medications during the early stages of pregnancy may be putting their unborn children at risk.  According to Professor Stephen Pilling of NICE, popular SSRI inhibitors could double the risk of a child being born with a heart defect.  He warns that for women with mild to moderate depression, it may not be worth taking the medications, given the potential risks.

According to the report, one in six British women of child-bearing age takes the commonly used type of depression medication.  However, prescription guidelines specifically warn against only the use of one SSRI drug – paroxetine. The risk of a child being born with a heart defect jumps from two in 100 to four in 100 when the mother took any SSRI in early pregnancy.

Pilling said that the risks of these medications is not appropriately discussed with patients.  “We make a quite a lot of effort really to discourage women from smoking or drinking even small amounts of alcohol in pregnancy, and yet we're perhaps not yet saying the same about antidepressant medication, which is going to be carrying similar - if not greater - risks," he said.

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Sourced from: BBC News, Antidepressants 'could be risk to unborn babies'