Number of Pregnant Women Taking Antidepressants Down

Findings seen in large, population-based study in Denmark from 1997 to 2016

THURSDAY, Nov. 21, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- There has been a significant decrease in the use of antidepressants by pregnant women in Denmark, with consumption falling by more than 33 percent since 2011, according to a study published in the November issue of Brain and Behavior.

Yuelian Sun, M.D., Ph.D., from Aarhus University in Denmark, and colleagues analyzed data from 1,232,233 pregnancies leading to live births in Denmark between 1997 and 2016, as well as antidepressant prescriptions filled from the Danish National Prescription Register.

The researchers found that 2.4 percent of pregnancies had at least one antidepressant prescription during pregnancy. In 94 percent of the antidepressant-exposed pregnancies, the estimated duration of treatment was one month or longer. From 1997 to 2011, prescription of antidepressants during pregnancy increased steadily from 0.4 percent to 4.6 percent but decreased to 3.1 percent in 2016. Trends in antidepressant prescriptions in the years before and after pregnancy were similar to the trend during pregnancy. A decrease in the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, especially citalopram, drove the decreased use of antidepressants during pregnancy after 2011.

"More research is needed to find the explanation for the decreasing trend in recent years and the influence of the increasing and decreasing use of antidepressants during pregnancy for the health of pregnant women and their offspring," the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to UCB Nordic and Eisai AB.

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