SSRIs and Neonatal Outcomes: A Population-Based Study from Finland

Literature accumulated over the last decade supports the use of certain selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and the older tricyclic antidepressants during pregnancy, indicating no increased risk of congenital malformation in children exposed to these medications during the first trimester of pregnancy. Still, questions remain regarding the purported risk for "toxicity" in newborns exposed to antidepressants around the time of labor and delivery. Several recent studies have suggested that exposure to SSRIs at the time of delivery may be associated with poor perinatal outcomes (Casper 2003, Laine 2003, Simon 2002, Zeskind and Stephens 2004) and prompted the FDA to include warnings in the packaging inserts regarding the use of certain antidepressants, including the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and venlafaxine (Effexor), during pregnancy. These studies have been reviewed previously on the CWMH website (Newsletters Fall 2004 and Spring 2005).