Pregnant women taking the antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) face a slightly increased risk of developing dangerously high blood pressure, Canadian researchers report.
This condition, known as preeclampsia, can harm both mothers and their unborn infants, the researchers noted. However, this association may not be cause-and-effect, so women should not just stop taking these medications but should consult with their doctor if they are concerned, they stressed. Two of the most commonly prescribed SSRIs are Paxil (paroxetine) and Prozac (fluoxetine).
“We know that antidepressants should be used during pregnancy, but they should be used with caution,” said lead researcher Anick Berard, director of the research unit of medications and pregnancy at CHU Ste-Justine’s Research Center and a professor with the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Montreal.
The association between SSRIs and hypertension is a new finding, she added.
The report was published in the March 22 issue of the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.