Does antidepressant use attenuate the risk of a major depressive episode in pregnancy?
BACKGROUND: Many women become pregnant while undergoing antidepressant treatment and are concerned about continuing antidepressant medication. However, antidepressant discontinuation may increase the risk of a new episode of major depressive disorder. We sought to estimate differences in the risk of developing a new major depressive episode among pregnant and postpartum women with recurrent illness who either did or did not use antidepressants. METHODS: Participants were recruited from obstetrical settings; we analyzed a subgroup of 778 women with a history of a depressive disorder. Diagnoses were determined by the Composite International Diagnostic Interview administered twice in pregnancy and once after delivery. We used Cox Regression to model onset of a major depressive episode with a time-dependent predictor of antidepressant use. RESULTS: There was no clear difference in risk of a major depressive episode between women who took antidepressants and women who did not (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.88; 95% CI = 0.51-1.50). After accounting for antidepressant use, clearly hazardous factors included 4 or more depressive episodes before pregnancy (HR = 1.97; 95% CI = 1.09-3.57), black race (HR = 3.69; 95% CI = 2.16-6.30), and Hispanic ethnicity (HR = 2.33; 95% CI = 1.47-3.69). CONCLUSIONS: Failure to use or discontinuation of antidepressants in pregnancy did not have a strong effect on the development of a major depressive episode. Women with 4 or more episodes before pregnancy were at high risk of a major depressive episode, independent of antidepressant use. Black and Hispanic women also were at high risk of a major depressive episode, but it is possible that this effect is attributable to unmeasured factors.
Yonkers KA, Gotman N, Smith MV, Forray A, Belanger K, Brunetto WL, Lin H, Burkman RT, Zelop CM, Lockwood CJ. Does antidepressant use attenuate the risk of a major depressive episode in pregnancy? Epidemiology 2011 Nov;22(6):848-54.