Indian Journal of PsychiatryIndian Journal of Psychiatry
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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 57  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 354-371

Antidepressants, anxiolytics, and hypnotics in pregnancy and lactation


1 Director, Central Institute of Psychiatry, Ranchi, Jharkhand, India
2 Department of Psychiatry, Central Institute of Psychiatry, Kanke, Ranchi, Jharkhand, India

Correspondence Address:
S Gandotra
Mental Health Foundation St. Maarten, Dutch Caribbean, Ex-Faculty Central Institute of Psychiatry, Ranchi, Jharkhand
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0019-5545.161504

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Aims: Untreated perinatal depression and anxiety disorders are known to have significant negative impact on both maternal and fetal health. Dilemmas still remain regarding the use and safety of psychotropics in pregnant and lactating women suffering from perinatal depression and anxiety disorders. The aim of the current paper was to review the existing evidence base on the exposure and consequences of antidepressants, anxiolytics, and hypnotics in women during pregnancy and lactation and to make recommendations for clinical decision making in management of these cases. Materials and Methods: We undertook a bibliographic search of Medline/PubMed (1972 through 2014), Science Direct (1972 through 2014), Archives of Indian Journal of Psychiatry databases was done. References of retrieved articles, reference books, and dedicated websites were also checked. Results and Conclusions: The existing evidence base is extensive in studying multiple outcomes of the antidepressant or anxiolytic exposure in neonates, and some of the findings appear conflicting. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are the most researched antidepressants in pregnancy and lactation. The available literature is criticized mostly on the lack of rigorous well designed controlled studies as well as lacunae in the methodologies, interpretation of statistical information, knowledge transfer, and translation of information. Research in this area in the Indian context is strikingly scarce. Appropriate risk-benefit analysis of untreated mental illness versus medication exposure, tailor-made to each patient's past response and preference within in the context of the available evidence should guide clinical decision making.



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