Monthly Archives: December 2005

Reviewing the Safety of SSRI’s in Pregnancy

Over the past 15 years, multiple studies have addressed the reproductive safety of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Data on the overall teratogenicity of SSRIs come from relatively small cohort studies and larger international programs, and they have cumulatively supported the reproductive safety of fluoxetine (Prozac) and certain other SSRIs. However, several recent studies have raised concerns regarding the use of SSRIs during pregnancy.

Escitalopram for Menopause-Related Depression and Vasomotor Symptoms

Every year more than 1.7 million women in the United States enter into menopause. During this time of hormonal fluctuations it is typical for women to experience hot flashes, night sweats and sleep disturbance. More recently, studies have identified an association between menopausal transition and an increased risk for developing depressive symptoms (Harlow et al., 2003; Freeman et al., 2004). It is not clear how physicians and patients should deal with menopause-related physical and emotional symptoms. While hormone therapy effectively treats insomnia and hot flashes, the results have been mixed in treating mood and anxiety symptoms. Moreover, the safety of long-term use of hormone therapy is not known.

Atypical Antipsychotics during Pregnancy: What are the Risks?

Although primarily used to treat schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, the newer “atypical” antipsychotic agents are now used widely to treat a spectrum of psychiatric disorders, including major depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD and other anxiety disorders. While the reproductive safety of the older typical antipsychotic drugs, such as haloperidol (Haldol) and perphenazine (Trilafon), is supported by data accumulated over the past 40 years, we have far less data on the newer atypical agents: olanzapine (Zyprexa), risperidone (Risperdal), quetiapine (Seroquel), aripiprazole (Abilify), ziprasidone (Geodon), and clozapine (Clozaril).