Antidepressant use during pregnancy and the risk of developing gestational hypertension: A retrospective cohort study

Neily Zakiyah*, Loes F Ter Heijne, Jens H Bos, Eelko Hak, Maarten J Postma, Catharina C M Schuiling-Veninga

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background: Prior studies reported that exposure to antidepressants during pregnancy may be associated with gestational hypertension. The aim of this study is to assess the association between the use of antidepressants during pregnancy and the risk of developing gestational hypertension.

Methods: A retrospective cohort study using the prescription database was conducted among nulliparous women with singleton pregnancies between 1994 and 2015 in the Netherlands. Logistic regression analysis was used to estimate odds ratios (OR), adjusted OR (aOR) and their corresponding 95% confidence intervals (95% CI). Gestational hypertension as main outcome measure was defined as at least one dispensed record of an antihypertensive drug (methyldopa, nifedipine, labetalol, ketanserin, nicardipine) after 20 weeks of gestation until 14 days after delivery. Sub- analyses were conducted for class of antidepressant, duration and amount of use of antidepressant (= 30 Defined Daily Doses or DDDs), and maternal age. Sensitivity analyses to assess uncertainties were conducted.

Results: Twenty-eight thousand twenty women were included, of which 539 (1.92%) used antidepressants. The risk of gestational hypertension was doubled for women using antidepressant (aOR 2.00 95% CI 1.28-3.13). Significant associations were also found for the subgroup selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) (aOR 2.07 95% CI 1.25-3.44), >= 30 DDDs (aOR 2.50 95% CI 1.55-3.99) and maternal age of 30-34 years (aOR 2.59 95% CI 1.35-4.98). Varying the theoretical gestational age showed comparable results.

Conclusion: Prolonged use of antidepressants during the first 20 weeks of gestation appeared to be associated with an increased risk of developing gestational hypertension. When balancing the benefits and risks of using these drugs during pregnancy, this should be taken into account.

Original languageEnglish
Article number187
Pages (from-to)187
Number of pages11
JournalBMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29-May-2018


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