Exposure to psychotropic drugs before and during pregnancy: What has changed over the last two decades?

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Trends in prescribing psychotropic drugs before and during pregnancy may have changed over the years, but actual information is lacking. We therefore compared and assessed the exposure and acceptance rates of classes of antipsychotic (+ lithium), anxiolytic, sedative/hypnotic, antidepressant, and psychostimulant before and during pregnancy in the past two decades. All singleton pregnancies with ≥1 prescription of psychotropic drug from six months before pregnancy until child's birthdate were identified in the pregnancy subset of the IADB.nl prescription database. The prescription patterns of psychotropics were distinguished as continuation rate (CR), initiation rate (IR), discontinuation rate (DR), total exposure rate (TER), and acceptance rate. Singleton pregnancies exposed to psychotropic drugs before and during pregnancy increased from 118.4 to 136.5 (per 1000 singleton pregnancies) between decades. Changing trends were observed in decade 2, including a high increase in the TER of antipsychotic class (3.3 to 6.8) and antidepressant class (23.0 to 40.6). A marked increase for individual drugs was seen for sertraline (TER: 0.6 to 6.6 and PAT: 35.3% to 82.5%), citalopram (TER: 2.3 to 10.0 and PAT: 51.1% to 74.6%), and quetiapine (TER: 0.4 to 3.1 and PAT: 57.1% to 66.0%). Although the total exposure rates of five classes of psychotropics in singleton pregnancies increased in decade 2, only antidepressant class had a higher acceptance rate during pregnancy. Certain SSRI antidepressants and atypical antipsychotics were more frequently prescribed in decade 2 than in decade 1, reflecting that treatment options were preferred for safer treatment choices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-48
Number of pages10
JournalArchives of womens mental health
Early online date14-Jan-2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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