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No link between antidepressants and birth defects

Université de Montréal and Ste. Justine Hospital study in British Journal of Psychiatry

Expectant mothers can safely use prescribed antidepressants during their first trimester, according to a new study from the Université de Montréal and Ste. Justine Hospital published in the May edition of the British Journal of Psychiatry.

Dr. Anick Bérard and her team found that antidepressants have no effect on foetal development. “This is the first study to investigate the impact of antidepressant use during the first trimester of pregnancy in mothers with psychiatric disorders,” she said. “In terms of birth malformations in this population, we found no difference between women who used antidepressants and those who did not use antidepressants during their first trimester.”

The research team used data from the Quebec Pregnancy Registry, established by their group, to analyze the records of 2,329 new mothers diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder and treated with antidepressants for at least 30 days before pregnancy. Also included in the registry were women who delivered liveborn and stillborn children, while birth defects were considered anything from facial malformations to heart anomalies.

“The duration of antidepressant use in the first trimester of pregnancy was not associated with an increased risk of birth malformations,” explained Dr. Bérard. “We hope these findings help clinicians and women decide whether to continue antidepressant therapy during pregnancy.”

Partners in research:

This study was supported by the Fonds de la Recherche en Santé du Québec (FRSQ), the Réseau Québécois de Recherche sur l’Usage des Médicaments and the Network for the Wellbeing of Children.

On the Web:

About the study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry:

About the Université de Montréal:

About Anick Bérard:

Dr. Bérard is an associate professor and is the Louis-Boivin Family Chair on Medications, Pregnancy and Lactation at the Faculty of Pharmacy of the Université de Montréal and the recipient of a career award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

For more information, please contact:

Sylvain-Jacques Desjardins
International press attaché
Université de Montréal
Telephone: 514-343-7593

Dr. Anick Bérard | EurekAlert!
Further information:

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