SSRIs linked to hypertension in pregnancy

A Canadian study of 1216 women with pregnancy-induced hypertension, with or without pre-eclampsia, showed those taking SSRIs had a 60% increased relative risk of hypertension (from 2% to 3.2%).

Professor Anne Buist, director of women’s mental health at Austin Health, Victoria, said antidepressant users as a group tended to have a lot of other risk factors.

“Although there appears to be an association [with hypertension], the absolute risk is still very low and needs to be balanced against the need to keep the mother well and the infant safe from the biological consequences of the mother being unwell – high cortisol levels among other things,” she said.

Experts have stressed that pregnant women should not stop taking antidepressant medication based on the current findings.

And lead author Professor Anick Bérard from the University of Montreal said risks and benefits should be evaluated carefully.