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Swedish Study Finds SSRIs in Pregnancy Linked to Infant Heart Defect

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Stockholm, SwedenResearchers in Sweden have found that the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn – or PPHN – compared with babies born to mothers who did not take SSRIs during pregnancy.

The observational study, done through the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, looked at data on 1.6 million births and found that fetuses exposed to SSRIs in the second half of pregnancy had double the risk of developing PPHN, a risk that equates to 1.2 to 3 cases per 1000 infants.

The study, reported online in the British Medical Journal, also found that filling a prescription for an SSRI early on in pregnancy, as well as previous use of SSRIs by the mother were associated with a greater risk for PPHN. The investigators stressed that more research is needed, as the study is observational. However, they also emphasized that the results indicate a need for caution when prescribing SSRIs for pregnant women.

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