What is the role of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in the etiology of persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN)?

Updated: Sep 03, 2019
  • Author: Kate A Tauber, MD; Chief Editor: Howard S Weber, MD, FSCAI  more...
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Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), commonly prescribed antidepressants, have been reported to be associated with PPHN, especially during the third trimester of pregnancy. The prevalence of PPHN in newborns exposed to SSRIs in the second half of pregnancy is increased 6-fold. However, one recent study involving 1104 infants born to mothers who received antidepressants in the third trimester and an equal number of controls failed to demonstrate this association. [18]

Therefore, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stated that it is premature to reach any conclusion about a possible link between SSRI use in pregnancy and PPHN. They are advising healthcare professionals not to alter their current clinical practice of treating depression during pregnancy and to report any adverse events to the FDA MedWatch program. [19]

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