What are the possible adverse effects of SSRIs during pregnancy for the treatment of major depressive disorder (clinical depression)?

Updated: Aug 06, 2020
  • Author: Jerry L Halverson, MD; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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Conflicting evidence exists regarding the use of SSRIs during pregnancy and an increased risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). An initial Public Health Advisory in 2006 was based on a single retrospective study. Since then, studies have yielded conflicting findings, with 3 trials suggesting risk and 3 trials finding no risk of PPHN associated with antidepressants. [195, 196]

In a December 2011 review, the FDA concluded that, given the conflicting results from different studies, it is premature to reach any conclusion about a possible link between SSRI use in pregnancy and PPHN. The FDA advises health care professionals not to alter their current clinical practice of treating depression during pregnancy and to report any adverse events to the FDA MedWatch program. [197]

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