Warburton W, Hertzman C, Oberlander TF. A register study of the impact of stopping third trimester selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor exposure on neonatal health.
Objective: To determine whether risk for adverse neonatal outcomes are reduced by stopping SSRI use before the end of pregnancy.
Method: Using population health data, maternal health and prenatal SSRI prescriptions were linked to neonatal birth records (N = 119 547) (1998–2001). Neonates SSRI-exposed in the last 14 days (L14) of gestation were compared with infants who had gestational exposure, but not during the last 14 days (NL14). Propensity score matching was used to control for potential confounders (total exposure, maternal health characteristics).
Results: Increased risk for neonatal respiratory distress was present where L14 exposure occurred compared with risk where exposure stopped before L14. However, controlling for potential maternal and neonatal confounders, differences disappeared.
Conclusion: Controlling for maternal illness severity, reducing exposure to SSRI’s at the end of pregnancy had no significant clinical effect on improving neonatal health. These findings raise the possibility that some adverse neonatal outcomes may not be an acute pharmacological condition such as toxicity or withdrawal.