Perinatal depression is an increasingly common comorbidity of pregnancy and is associated with adverse birth outcomes. Newer classes of antidepressants have been developed with a variety of mechanisms and improved side effect profiles. There is increasing use of these medications in reproductive-aged women. Medical providers have to balance the need to prevent relapse of maternal depressive symptoms with the need to minimize fetal exposure to medications. We review the literature on 10 of the most commonly used antidepressant medications: citalopram, escitalopram, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, sertraline, venlafaxine, duloxetine, bupropion, and mirtazapine. The pharmacokinetic properties of the medications are detailed, as well as practical considerations for their use in pregnant and lactating women. Guidance on counseling and management of pregnancies complicated by perinatal depression is discussed.
Target audience: Obstetricians & Gynecologists and Family Physicians.
Learning objectives: After completing this CME activity, physicians should be better able to differentiate the current classes of medications utilized commonly for perinatal depression, evaluate the reported adverse effects of antidepressant medications on the patient and developing fetus and choose the appropriate antidepressant medications for a depressed patient who is breast-feeding.