I remember looking out of my living room window, drawing on my connection to all the women in the world who had felt this energy before, all that were in that moment, and all that would in time to come. This energy, this incredible power, was like a wave that I was riding for a brief window of my life, and sharing with my baby to move us through time into a new type of union. To me, this wasn’t anything to resist, to be afraid of, or to suppress. All I had to do was be there to witness, and keep my mind from getting in the way. Full Article →
A study of the Swedish medical birth registry, conducted by researchers from Sweden, the U.K., and the U.S.A., found a 3.3X greater risk of autism in the offspring of women reporting antidepressant use during pregnancy. The researchers, however, urge caution as the results explain only a small percentage of the prevalence of autism.
What goes wrong for the 10-15% of women who feel like hiding under the covers instead of gazing blissfully into their newborns peaceful face? Is it expectations unmet? Is it hormones? Is it the brain? Having spent several years treating these women, I believe that what we are calling postpartum depression and anxiety is in fact postpartum immune dysfunction, and its attendant inflammation. Full Article →
When patients come to me with complaints of low libido, low or flat mood, weight gain, hair loss, and cloudy thinking, one of my first questions is “Are you on the Pill?”. When they come complaining about premenstrual irritability, insomnia, tearfulness, bloating, and breast tenderness, requesting that I sanction beginning a course of oral contraceptives and perhaps an antidepressant, the one-size-fits-all-cure-all of psychiatrists and gynecologists nationwide, my first comment is “There’s a better way.” Full Article →
Last year (2012) the British Medical Journal (BMJ) published a study from 5 Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden) based on more than 1.6 million infants born after gestational week 33 between 1996-2007. This year (2013) JAMA published … Full Article →
I have almost four months to go until I am done with the little pills. After that, I’m told it will take two to nine months until my brain will regulate, until I will be able to eat normally, to stand without shivering, to hold my children without fear of falling. I will make it. But I am here to state the obvious: Benzodiazepines are dangerous. We need more research. We need to know that an invisible epidemic is in our midst and there is much that can be done. Full Article →
Nineteen defective drug product liability cases against Prizer have been filed in West Virginia state court by mothers alleging that their children suffered from birth defects due to Zoloft. The mothers claim they took Zoloft as prescribed, and that their children were born with congenital defects as a direct consequence that the defendant knew or should have known about. The plaintiffs claim in addition that the drug is defective, dangerous to human health, unfit and unsuitable to be marketed and sold, and lacks the proper warnings as to the dangers associated with its use.
In addition to the increased risk of respiratory and heart troubles known to accompany SSRI use during pregnancy, SSRIs have been linked to an increased chance of fatal defects of the brain and spinal cord even when the drugs were taken up to a month prior to conception.
Danish research found a significantly increased risk of congenital heart defects in both the 4,183 pregnancies exposed to SSRIs throughout the first trimester and the 806 pregnancies for which SSRI use had been discontinued. The study acknowledges insufficient data to make conclusions about causality or possible confounding factors. The full study is available online from the British Medical Journal.
Swedish researchers find, in a study of all women giving birth in Sweden from July 1, 2005 through December 31, 2009 that those taking antipsychotics (n = 507) were more likely to experience gestational diabetes. Their children were more at risk for low birth weight, length and head circumference, but these results “seemed to be an effect of confounders, such as smoking.” Results appeared in Archives of General Psychiatry.
Researchers from Belgium and the Netherlands, publishing online June 20 in Neuroscience, found that prenatal fluoxetine (Prozac) differentially affected the development of glucocorticoid receptors in male (but not female) rats. This response to SSRI medications “may differentially alter the capacity of the hippocampus to respond to stress.”
A study of 228,876 pregnancies, published in the July issue of the American journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, finds that maternal antidepressant use is associated with shortened (4-5 days) gestational age; for each prescription filled in the second trimester, the risk of early labor doubled. In the third trimester, antidepressant use was associated with an elevated risk of infant convulsions.
Maternal antenatal depression is highly correlated with a history of the mother having been mistreated in childhood, and these two facts significantly increase the risk of the offspring experiencing adversity. The London- and Cardiff-based researchers suggest that the antenatal period is an optimum time to identify vulnerable women and provide interventions. The study appears online today in Psychological Medicine.
In one of the first, and the largest, studies of relationships between premature births and severe psychiatric disorders, researchers from Sweden and England examined the medical records of over 1.3 million people born in Sweden. In adulthood, they found, those who had been born prematurely were 7.4x more likely to be hospitalized with bipolar disorder, 3x more likely to be hospitalized for depression and 2.5x more likely for psychosis. “The immature nervous system is particularly vulnerable to neonatal brain injury,” the authors note. “The lack of specificity in outcome suggests that there may be similar developmental etiologies linking various psychiatric disorders.” Results appeared online June 1, 2012 in Archives of General Psychiatry.
In a study of 90 new mothers in Nova Scotia, five hours per day of skin-to-skin contact (SSC) reduced mothers’ depression scores in their infants’ first weeks. Over the first month, mothers in the SSC group had lower salivary cortisol levels and physiological stress. Results appear in the Journal of Obstetric, Gyncological & Neonatal Nursing.
On Thursday, May 31, 2001, a woman whose name is known only to GlaxoSmithKline emailed the company: “My name is… I was diagnosed with panic disorder about four-and-a-half years ago. Since that time I’ve been taking Paxil, which is … Full Article →
In a study of 69,448 pregnant women with depression, researchers from the Harvard school of public health found that use of SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) during pregnancy were associated with a 1.22% greater chance of preeclampsia, SNRI (selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors) with a 1.95% greater chance, and TCA (tricyclic antidepressants) with a 3.23% greater chance. If the women had used these drugs prior to pregnancy, the chances of preeclampsia rose to 1.32%, 3.43%, and 3.26% respectively. Results will appear in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
“Objective To systematically evaluate whether prenatal exposure to antidepressant medications is associated with increased risk of autism spectrum disorder … Conclusion Although the number of children exposed prenatally to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in this population was low, results suggest that exposure, especially during the first trimester, may modestly increase the risk of ASD. The potential risk associated with exposure must be balanced with the risk to the mother or fetus of untreated mental health disorders. Further studies are needed to replicate and extend these findings.”
Odysseus was in his 70s. Coming up to the 50th anniversary of a very happy marriage. He had formerly been a respected professional, a longtime member of the bowling and social clubs – a pillar of the community. He had … Full Article →
Researchers in Montreal found in a sample of 1,216 pregnant women that those who used antidepressants were at least 50% more likely to experience high blood pressure. The study will appear in an upcoming British Journal of Pharmacology, which notes in a press release that antidepressants are one of the most commonly used medications during pregnancy. “Pregnancy induced hypertension is a serious condition that can directly affect the mother and her unborn baby,” the release goes on to say. Abstract → Discuss →
Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) came into favor in the wake of thalidomide as a method to evaluate drugs and their risks. They were supposed to keep ineffective drugs off the market, but companies have learned that you can do any … Full Article →
The latest in a series of Zoloft-related birth defect lawsuits was filed in St. Louis yesterday, by a firm that claims to represent hundreds of cases that have yet to be filed. The mother was prescribed Zoloft during pregnancy. Her child was born with congenital heart defects.
In a prospective cohort study of 466 pregnant women over 10 years, researchers at the California Teratogen Information Service found that women exposed to SSRIs during pregnancy were 60% less likely to initiate breastfeeding than women who took no antidepressant. “Whether this is due to the mother’s fear of harming her baby by breastfeeding while taking the medication, or due to the mother’s depression itself is unclear,” said a co-author of the study. The results will appear in an upcoming issue of Human Lactation.