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Serotonergic Antidepressants in Pregnancy Not Tied to Neonatal Seizures

Maternal use of SSRIs, SNRIs in first trimester of pregnancy not linked to increased risk for neonatal seizures or childhood epilepsy in offspring

THURSDAY, May 12, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Following adjustment for confounding factors, serotonergic antidepressant use in pregnancy is not associated with increased incidence of neonatal seizures and/or childhood epilepsy, according to a study published online May 11 in Neurology.

Kelsey Kathleen Wiggs, from Indiana University at Bloomington, and colleagues examined the association between maternal-reported use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and selective serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) in pregnancy and the diagnosis of neonatal seizures and/or epilepsy in more than 1.2 million children in a Swedish register-based study.

The researchers found that children of women who reported use of SSRIs/SNRIs in pregnancy had an increased risk for neonatal seizures and epilepsy compared with all other children (risk ratio, 1.41 [95 percent confidence interval, 1.03 to 1.94]; hazard ratio, 1.21 [95 percent confidence interval, 1.03 to 1.43]). After adjustment for maternal indications of SSRI/SNRI use, the estimates of association were attenuated (risk ratio, 1.30 [95 percent confidence interval, 0.94 to 1.79]; hazard ratio, 1.13 [95 percent confidence interval, 0.95 to 1.33]); no attenuation was seen for additional adjustment for parental history of epilepsy. Substantial attenuation of the remaining associations was seen with full adjustment for all measured parental and pregnancy-specific factors (risk ratio, 1.10 [95 percent confidence interval, 0.79 to 1.53]; hazard ratio, 0.96 [95 percent confidence interval, 0.81 to 1.14]).

“While several studies have shown a possible link between antidepressant use by mothers during pregnancy and seizures in newborns and toddlers, our study suggested that antidepressant exposure in the first trimester of pregnancy does not increase the risk of seizures and epilepsy in children,” a coauthor said in a statement.

One author disclosed financial ties to Eli-Lilly and Shire.

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