Affective disorders: A question of continuing treatment during pregnancy (Review)
- Simona Corina Trifu
- Alexandra Popescu
- Maria Alina Marian
Affiliations: Department of Neurosciences, ̔Carol Davila̓ University of Medicine and Pharmacy, 020021 Bucharest, Romania, Department of Psychiatry, ̔Alex. Obregia̓ Clinical Hospital of Psychiatry, 041914 Bucharest, Romania
- Published online on: July 13, 2020 https://doi.org/10.3892/etm.2020.8989
Copyright: © Trifu
et al. This is an open access article distributed under the
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Fetal development, especially in the first trimester, has proven to be heavily influenced by external factors, such as chemical intake of medication. Chronic psychiatric treatment might interfere with the anatomical and physiological wellbeing of the fetus, because psychotropic medication proceeds past the placenta, into the amniotic fluid, and can enter breast milk. Hence some of the medications prescribed for mood disorders should be reconsidered during pregnancy, without sub‑optimally treating when it is needed. A literature review is presented which systematically collects modern data and synthesizes previous interdisciplinary research findings on the safety of psychiatric treatment for affective disorders during pregnancy (term‑based) and lactation. Antidepressants and mood stabilizers, fundamental strategies in treating affective disorders, have been classified by the FDA as C respectively D drugs pertaining to their risk, with some exception. Most guidelines recommend pharmacologically treating moderate‑severe depression, preferably with SSRIs. Evidence advocates that drugs should be used during pregnancy only if clearly needed and the benefit outweighs the risk to the fetus. However, guidelines the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists state that antidepressants are a preferred first course of treatment and does not take into account the severity of the depression. Among mood‑stabilizers, lithium is considered to be the safest option for pregnant women. Anticonvulsants have a higher risk of teratogenicity compared with lithium, with lamotrigine being the safest one. All mood stabilizers should be recommended in the lowest effective doses. There is controversy regarding the safety of second‑generation antipsychotics during pregnancy and further research is required. Several case reports and meta‑reviews have been published in order to emphasize the safety of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) during pregnancy, but practitioners still stigmatize this procedure. Evaluating the overall risk‑benefit ratio should be assessed by the medical care provider, taking into consideration current findings.