Monthly Archives: December 2012

Dr. Lee Cohen: Using SSRIs in Pregnancy

Over the last decade, attention in the medical literature has gathered logarithmically to focus on potentially efficacious treatments for perinatal depression. Studies of relevant databases, editorials, and various reviews have addressed the reproductive safety concerns of antidepressant treatments, particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) on one hand, and the impact of untreated maternal psychiatric illness on fetal and maternal well-being on the other.

Brief Scales for Identifying Postpartum Depression and Anxiety

While most agree that there is a need for improved detection of anxiety and mood disorders in pregnant and postpartum women, there remain questions regarding the best instruments to use for screening.  The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (a questionnaire consisting of 10 items) has long been used to screen women for postpartum depression (PPD); however, it is unclear how well these questions could be incorporated into larger surveillance programs, such as the CDC-sponsored Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) which was designed to assess health behaviors and to screen for health problems, including depression and anxiety, in pregnant and postpartum women.

Breastfeeding and Postpartum Depression: What’s the Connection?

In our clinic, we often see women who come in for the treatment of depression and/or anxiety after the cessation of breastfeeding.  Many question if breastfeeding may protect against postpartum depression and if the cessation of breastfeeding is a trigger for postpartum depression and/or anxiety. However, the research examining the association between postpartum depression and breastfeeding has been somewhat difficult to interpret.

SSRIs and Pregnancy: Putting the Risks and Benefits into Perspective

Prozac hit the market in 1988, the first selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant approved by the FDA for the treatment of depression.  Because it was safer and more tolerable than the antidepressants that preceded it, Prozac was soon the most commonly prescribed antidepressant in the United States.