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Late Pregnancy SSRI Exposure May Up Newborn Pulmonary HTN
Review shows significantly increased risk, although absolute risk remains low

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 15, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Exposure to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in late pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn, although the absolute risks are small, according to a review published online Jan. 14 in BMJ.

Sophie Grigoriadis, M.D., Ph.D., from the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to examine the risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn associated with antenatal antidepressant exposure. Data were included for seven studies; quantitative analysis was only possible for SSRIs.

The researchers found that the risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn was not increased with SSRI exposure in early pregnancy (odds ratio, 1.23; P = 0.58) but was increased with exposure in late pregnancy (odds ratio, 2.50; P = 0.005). After exposure to SSRIs in late pregnancy, the absolute risk difference for development of persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn was 2.9 to 3.5 per 1,000 infants; for an average of one additional case, an estimated 286 to 351 women would need to be treated with an SSRI.

"Although the statistical association was significant, clinically the absolute risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn remained low even in the context of late exposure to SSRIs," the authors write.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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