24th January 15:27
Benefits outweigh risks for pregnant women on anti-depressants: researcher (depression heart withdrawal)
Benefits outweigh risks for pregnant women on anti-depressants: researcher
Last Updated Mon, 02 Feb 2004 11:48:43
HALIFAX - New research in the journal Pediatrics is cautioning pregnant
women that taking anti-depressants known as SSRIs may pose risks to the
nervous systems of their unborn babies.
SSRIs - or selective seratonin re-uptake inhibitors - are not supposed to be
Up to 15 per cent of pregnant women suffer from depression and many of them
are treated with SSRIs, including Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft and Celexa.
The study compared the days-old babies of mothers who took SSRIs while
pregnant with babies of mothers who didn't. It looked at sleeping and waking
patterns, movements and heart rates.
Researcher Philip Zeskind of the University of North Carolina says he found
unusual behaviours in the babies exposed to the drugs, including erratic
heart rate changes and a tendency to startle easily.
But a prominent Canadian researcher says those effects don't pose a
long-term risk for babies. Gideon Koren runs the Motherrisk program at
Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children. He's concerned Zeskind's study will
frighten pregnant women unneccesarily.
"We see a lot of sad stories of women who stop cold turkey with their drugs
because they think something bad will happen to their baby...often with very
severe cost to them and to their baby."
Koren says untreated depression is associated with more miscarriages,
stillbirths and premature births, and can lead to suicide. He says the
nervous system changes in the newborn babies are signs of withdrawal from
the drugs they received through the mother's bloodstream.
That withdrawal can be difficult, but Koren says it's temporary and can be
treated, or alleviated with breastfeeding.
Don't you wish there were a knob on the TV to turn up the intelligence?
There's one marked 'Brightness,' but it doesn't work.