October 21, 2014

Can Antidepressants Cause Miscarriage?

depression miscarriage antidepressants

Antidepressants, Depression and Miscarriage

Selective Serotonin Receptor Inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most common medications prescribed to treat depression. SSRIs including Prozac, Celexa, Paxil and Lexapro work by blocking the uptake of Serotonin in the brain causing a sense of well being or mood enhancement. The potential risks of taking these medications during pregnancy are largely unknown but have been considered risky. Whether this risk is due to the medications or to depression itself remains unknown. A common questions is can antidepressants cause miscarriage? A large study in Denmark looking at over one Million women, over 20,000 of which took an SSRI antidepressant found that the risk of miscarriage was nearly the same for women who took antidepressants early in pregnancy as it was for those who discontinued their use before becoming pregnant. These findings suggest that either depression itself or lifestyle factors such as alcohol use, smoking or not taking folic acid supplements might explain the increased likelihood of miscarriage in women with a diagnosis of depression but no causal relationship exists between SSRIs and miscarriage.

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Joseph A. Hill, III, M.D.

Joseph A. Hill, III, M.D. Board-Certified in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility