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Antidepressants associated with specific birth defects

Posted on August 5, 2020

Certain antidepressants are associated with specific birth defects, with venlafaxine associated with more than others, according to a study.

In this case-control study of 30 630 mothers of infants with birth defects and 11 478 control mothers, use of antidepressant in early pregnancy was reported by 5.1% of case mothers and 4.1% of control mothers. Elevated adjusted odds ratios were noted for individual selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and selected congenital heart defects (CHD). This pattern was observed for many SSRI-CHD combinations.

After partially accounting for underlying conditions, the association between SSRIs and non-CHD birth defects often persisted or strengthened. Use of venlafaxine was associated with multiple defects that that persisted after partially accounting for underlying conditions, such as, anencephaly and craniorachischisis.

The authors cautioned that further confirmation studies are needed.

Reference
Anderson KN, Lind JN, Simeone RM, et al. Maternal Use of Specific Antidepressant Medications During Early Pregnancy and the Risk of Selected Birth Defects. JAMA Psychiatry. Published online August 05, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.2453

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