Gestational exposure to antidepressants and the risk of spontaneous abortion: a review

Curr Drug Deliv. 2010 Jan;7(1):76-92. doi: 10.2174/156720110790396508.


Background: Although the relationship between antidepressant use during pregnancy and its adverse effects has been widely investigated, very few studies have evaluated the impact of antidepressant use during pregnancy on the risk of spontaneous abortion. We present an overview of the evidence relating to the association between antidepressant use during gestation and the risk of spontaneous abortion.

Methods: We systematically searched PubMed and the reference lists of all relevant articles, including reviews, published in English or French from 1975 through 2009 for studies that examined the association between adverse pregnancy outcomes and gestational exposure to antidepressants with data on spontaneous abortions. Only etiologic studies were considered.

Results: Fifteen studies met inclusion criteria. The majority of these were prospective cohort studies on tricyclics antidepressants (TCAs) or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) use during pregnancy. Overall, in unadjusted analyses, fluoxetine (OR = 2.0; 95% CI = 1.4 - 3.0) and bupropion (OR = 4.1; 95% CI = 1.5 - 11.1) were significantly associated with the risk of spontaneous abortion. However, in adjusted analyses, only paroxetine (OR = 1.7; 95% CI = 1.3 - 2.3) and venlafaxine (OR = 2.1; 95% CI = 1.3 - 3.3) were significantly associated with the risk of spontaneous abortion.

Conclusions: This review suggests that gestational exposure to antidepressants, especially paroxetine and venlafaxine, can lead to spontaneous abortion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Spontaneous / chemically induced*
  • Antidepressive Agents / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Maternal Exposure*
  • Pregnancy
  • Teratogens


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Teratogens