Monthly Archives: September 2010

Clinical Update 2010: Use of Stimulant Medications in Pregnancy

Approximately 4% of the adult population suffers from ADHD. Attention and executive functioning difficulties also occur in those with mood and psychotic disorders and require treatment strategies similar to those used to address ADHD symptoms. First line medications most often used to treat ADHD in adults are Dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine, Adderall) and Methylphenidate (Concerta, Ritalin, Metadate).

Discontinuation of Antidepressants: Slower is Better

About half of all pregnancies are unplanned.  In this situation, many women who conceive while on psychotropic medications decide to abruptly stop their medications when they discover they are pregnant.  While this may seem like the safest option, in terms of protecting the developing fetus, we have data demonstrating high rates of relapse in women who discontinue antidepressant medications or mood stabilizers proximate to conception.  We now have data (from several studies in non-pregnant populations) to indicate that the rate of medication discontinuation (abrupt vs. gradual) may also affect risk of relapse.

Should SSRIs Be Tapered Prior To Delivery?

Increased muscle tone, jitteriness, sleep disturbance, irritability, feeding problems, mild respiratory distress and myoclonus have been reported as symptoms of a potential neonatal distress syndrome related to exposure to SSRIs in late pregnancy.  The average duration of symptoms reported is 48 hours.  It is estimated that between 25-30% of SSRI-exposed infants are at risk for this syndrome.  No treatment intervention is required.  Reassuringly, follow-up studies have shown that at 2, 4, 6, and 8 months SSRI-exposed infants are indistinguishable from control infants without known exposure.