London: Pregnant women taking selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants may have increased risk of pregnancy induced high blood pressure (“hypertension”), a new study has warned.But a causal link has not been established and researchers behind the study said that pregnant women should not stop taking their prescribed medication; instead they should seek a consultation with their doctor if they are concerned.Pregnancy hypertension is sometimes linked with pre-eclampsia, a serious condition that can harm pregnant women and their unborn babies.Out of 1,216 women, the overall incidence of hypertension in women taking SSRIs appeared to increase from about 2 percent to about 3.2 percent (a relative risk increase of 60 percent. One specific SSRI, paroxetine, was associated with an increase in incidence of hypertension to about 3.6 percent (an 81 percent increase).“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,” said senior researcher, Dr Anick Berard who is Director of the research unit of medications and pregnancy at CHU Ste-Justine’s Research Center, and professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Montreal, Quebec, Canada.The issue is particularly important given that antidepressants are one of the most commonly used medications during pregnancy. Up to 20 percent of pregnant women are affected by depression and anywhere between 4 percent and 14 percent of pregnant women frequently use anti-depressants.The study drew data from the Quebec Pregnancy Registry and compared 1,216 women who had been diagnosed with pregnancy-induced hypertension with or without pre-eclampsia and with no history of hypertension before pregnancy, with 12,160 matched controls.
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