Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor exposure during early pregnancy and the risk of birth defects
Article first published online: 25 JAN 2011
© 2011 John Wiley & Sons A/S
Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica
Volume 123, Issue 4, pages 266–275, April 2011
How to Cite
Gentile, S. (2011), Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor exposure during early pregnancy and the risk of birth defects. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 123: 266–275. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0447.2011.01673.x
- Issue published online: 6 MAR 2011
- Article first published online: 25 JAN 2011
- Accepted for publication December 21, 2010
- selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors;
- review of the literature
Gentile S. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor exposure during early pregnancy and the risk of birth defects.
Objective: To assess the methodological value of studies that signaled one or more selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) as teratogenic agents.
Method: Medical literature, published in English (1980–November 2010), was searched using MEDLINE/PubMed, TOXNET, EMBASE, and The Cochrane Library to identify all articles, reporting primary data that suggested any increased rate of congenital malformations following prenatal exposure to SSRIs as a group or single SSRI agents.
Results: Reviewed studies showed some severe methodological limitations, such as data coming from retrospective studies and incomplete information available with reference to timing of exposure and dosages. Further, data continue to be extrapolated from automated databases that do not declare whether the women reported actually used the prescribed medication. Further, it should be noted the distinct lack of research analysis available with reference to the potential impact of non-iatrogenic confounders on pregnancy.
Conclusion: In light of such considerations, the hypothesized teratogenicity of SSRIs remains undemonstrated. Hence, further, well-designed research is needed to differentiate definitively the detrimental impact of depression on pregnancy outcomes from potential iatrogenic events.