The safety of antidepressant drugs during pregnancy

Expert Opin Drug Saf. 2007 Jul;6(4):357-70. doi: 10.1517/14740338.6.4.357.


This article discusses known or suspected effects of maternal use of antidepressants during pregnancy on pregnancy outcome. It is unlikely that any marked teratogenic effect occurs with the possible exception of an increased risk for cardiovascular defects after maternal use of clomipramine or paroxetine. An increased risk for preterm birth is seen. Transient neonatal symptoms are common after the use of antidepressants in late pregnancy. Few firm data are available on the possible impact on the long-term neuropsychological development of the infants. The magnitude of the actual contribution from drug therapy is unclear; it is likely that the underlying pathology of the mother explains part of the anomalies. Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor drugs seem to represent a smaller hazard than tricyclic antidepressants. Further research to separate the effects of the drug and underlying pathology is urgently needed as are large-scale studies on long-term development. When a pregnant woman has a major depressive disease and non-pharmacological treatments are not enough, the relatively small risk with drug therapy has to be weighed against the considerable risk for a relapse of the disease if therapy is interrupted.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antidepressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Depressive Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / drug therapy*
  • Pregnancy Complications / psychology*
  • Pregnancy Outcome / epidemiology


  • Antidepressive Agents