Monthly Archives: April 2013

Research from the CWMH: Duloxetine for Menopausal Symptoms

A substantial proportion of women transitioning into menopause experience a new onset or recurrence of depressive symptoms.  A new study from the Center for Women’s Mental Health indicates that duloxetine (Cymbalta) is effective for the treatment of depression and may also have a beneficial effect on vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes and night sweats).

SSRI Exposure During Pregnancy Does Not Appear to Affect Infant Growth

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; however, these outcomes have also been observed in infants born to depressed mothers who are not taking medication. Thus, it has been difficult to determine if there is a causal relationship between antidepressant exposure and these negative pregnancy outcomes or if untreated maternal depression is itself responsible for these negative outcomes. 

Gabapentin (Neurontin) and Pregnancy

Despite the fact that gabapentin (Neurontin) is now used in a wide variety of clinical settings -- for epilepsy, pain management, anxiety, sleep disturbance – there is relatively little information regarding its reproductive safety.  A prospective study from researchers at the Motherisk program reports on the outcomes of 223 pregnancies exposed to gabapentin and 223 unexposed pregnancies.

FDA Announces Approval of a New (Old) Medication for Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy

The combination of doxylamine succinate and pyridoxine hydrochloride (vitamin B6), to be marketed as Diclegis, has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. A similar combination was previously sold under the name Bendectin but was pulled from the market in 1983 because there were concerns regarding its reproductive safety.  (Bendectin originally contained dicyclomine which was later removed due to lack of efficacy.)

Hormonal Treatments for Breast Cancer: Do They Cause Depression?

Aromatase inhibitors (AIs) are the preferred hormonal therapy for postmenopausal women with estrogen sensitive breast cancer.  While the selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), such as tamoxifen and raloxifene, are used in premenopausal women with estrogen sensitive breast cancer, the aromatase inhibitors (e.g., anastrozole, letrozole, and exemestane) have been shown to be more effective and safer than the SERMs in postmenopausal women. 

Screening for Postpartum Depression: New Data on the EPDS

For women the postpartum period is a time of increased vulnerability to mood disorders.  Recent estimates indicate that about 20% of women will suffer from significant depressive symptoms during the year after the birth of a child.  Despite a significant push over the last decade to identify and effectively treat women with mood disorders during pregnancy and the postpartum period, treatment rates in this population remain unacceptably low.  Furthermore, questions still remain regarding the optimal timing of screening and the best instruments to be used in this setting.