Monthly Archives: March 2013

L-Methylfolate for the Treatment of Depression: Can We Use it During Pregnancy?

Last summer, we posted a blog about using folate to treat (and perhaps prevent) depression in women of childbearing age.  Supporting that recommendation are the several reports indicating that people with lower folate levels are at higher risk of major depression or may experience more severe depressive symptoms.  Other studies have indicated that in folate-deficient patients, antidepressants may be less effective or may take longer to take effect.

Postpartum Depression in New Fathers: Being Younger is A Risk Factor

While postpartum depression (PPD) is typically considered to be a woman’s illness, a number of studies have suggested that, although men do not experience any of the dramatic physiologic or hormonal changes that go along with pregnancy, new fathers may also suffer from PPD.  Several recent studies yield information on how to better identify new fathers at risk for depression.

Using the EPDS to Screen for Anxiety Disorders: Conceptual and Methodological Considerations

The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) was designed to screen women for postnatal depression.  Cox and Holden (2003) state that the EPDS was not designed to measure anxiety.  However, recent emphasis on the importance of recognizing symptoms of perinatal anxiety disorders, coupled with findings in research, have led to the suggestion that the EPDS may be used as a multidimensional tool to screen for anxiety disorders in addition to depression during the perinatal period (Matthey et al, 2012).

Exposure to Valproic Acid and Increased Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorders

There have long been concerns regarding the use of the anticonvulsant valproate (Depakote, VPA) during pregnancy. First trimester use of valproate has been associated with a 3-5% risk of neural tube defects, as well as an increased risk of other malformations affecting the heart and other organ systems.  Multiple reports have also indicated that in utero exposure to valproate may also negatively affect cognitive development.

Antidepressants and Pregnancy: A Meta-Analysis Puts the Risks into a Larger Context

While some studies have shown an association between in utero exposure to antidepressants and various pregnancy outcomes, including preterm delivery, low birth weight, and lower Apgar scores, these outcomes have also been linked to untreated maternal depression. Thus, it has been difficult to determine if there is a causal relationship between antidepressant exposure and negative pregnancy outcomes or whether maternal depression is itself responsible for these negative outcomes.