To determine the prevalence of persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN) among infants whose mothers were exposed to antidepressants in the third trimester of pregnancy compared to the prevalence among infants whose mothers were not exposed to antidepressants in the third trimester.
A retrospective study was conducted using the automated databases of four health plans participating in the HMO Research Network Center for Education and Research on Therapeutics. Women who delivered an infant in a hospital from 1 January 1996 through 31 December 2000 were identified. The administrative databases were used to identify full-term infants whose mothers received an antidepressant during the third trimester of pregnancy and unexposed infants whose mothers did not receive an antidepressant during the third trimester. Hospitalization data were used to identify diagnoses or procedure codes potentially indicative of PPHN.
Among 1104 infants exposed to antidepressants in the third trimester and a matched sample of 1104 unexposed infants, five infants were classified by the expert reviewers as having PPHN. Among those infants whose mothers were exposed to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in the third trimester, the prevalence of PPHN was 2.14 per 1000 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.26, 7.74), while the prevalence among infants whose mothers were not exposed was 2.72 per 1000 (95%CI 0.56, 7.93).
We did not find an association between SSRI use in late pregnancy and PPHN. Limitations of the present study, including the small number of confirmed cases, suggest further research in this area may be warranted. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.