Prescribing of psychiatric medication to bereaved parents following perinatal/neonatal death: an observational study

Death Stud. Jul-Dec 2014;38(6-10):589-96. doi: 10.1080/07481187.2013.820229. Epub 2014 Mar 3.

Abstract

To examine psychiatric prescribing in response to perinatal/neonatal death, we analyzed data from a cross-sectional survey of 235 bereaved parents participating in an online support community. Of the 88 respondents prescribed medication, antidepressants were most common (n = 70, 79.5%) followed by benzodiazepines/sleep aids (n = 18, 20.5%). Many prescriptions were written shortly after the death (32.2% within 48 hr, 43.7% within a week, and 74.7% within a month). Obstetrician/gynecologists wrote most prescriptions given shortly after loss. Most respondents prescribed antidepressants took them long-term. This sample is select, but these data raise disturbing questions about prescribing practices for grieving parents.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Benzodiazepines / therapeutic use*
  • Bereavement*
  • Depression / drug therapy*
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / therapeutic use*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Parents / psychology
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'*
  • Stillbirth / psychology*
  • Young Adult

Substances

  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Benzodiazepines