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Antidepressants linked to hypertension

Posted: 23 March 2012 by Rob Dabrowski

Use of certain antidepressants during pregnancy may be linked to hypertension, according to new research.

Antidepression pills
A study of 1216 women indicates that selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants may make the condition more likely.

But the authors stress that pregnant women should not stop taking their prescribed medication.

Stopping taking antidepressants during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of depressive relapses and post-partum depression.

They recommend, instead, that women should seek a consultation with their doctor, if they are concerned.

The study results show incidence of hypertension in women taking SSRIs appeared to increase from 2% to 3.2% – a relative risk increase of 60%.

One specific SSRI, paroxetine, was associated with an increase in incidence of hypertension to about 3.6%, which is an 81% increase.

Senior researcher, Dr Anick Bérard, a professor from the University of Montreal, said: ‘These results are an early indicator of risk attributable to antidepressant drug treatment above that which may be attributed to depression or anxiety disorders in the absence of drug treatment.’

‘Pregnancy induced hypertension is a serious condition that can directly affect the mother and her unborn baby.

‘Although a few other studies on the same topic have been performed before, our study is the only one that looks at the class and type of antidepressant and the risk of pregnancy induced hypertension.’

Antidepressants are one of the most commonly used medications during pregnancy with up to 14% of pregnant women frequently use them.

The study compared data on women who had been diagnosed with pregnancy-induced hypertension, with or without pre-eclampsia, and with no history of hypertension before pregnancy.

The study is published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.