Women taking antidepressant medications during pregnancy may face a higher risk of gestational diabetes, according to the findings of new research.
In a study published in the medical journal BMJ Open, Canadian researchers indicate that some antidepressants can increase the risk of gestational diabetes by more than 50%, which can lead to other more serious complications for both the mother and baby.
Researchers used data from the Quebec Pregnancy Cohort including data on all pregnancies and children in Quebec from January 1998 to December 2015.
The study identified women who were more than 20 weeks pregnant and matched each person with 10 control cases. This included nearly 21,000 women who had gestational diabetes and 209,000 matched controls. Antidepressant exposure was assessed by filled prescriptions since the beginning of pregnancy.
Among the study participants, 4%, or roughly 10,000 women, took antidepressants during pregnancy. Roughly 1,100 of the women with gestational diabetes also took antidepressants.
According to the findings, those who took antidepressants had a higher likelihood of developing gestational diabetes. Short term use increased the risk by 15%, but long-term risk increased the risk by 29%.
Using serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors like Cymbalta or Effexor, or tricyclic antidepressants like Elavil also increase the risk. Patients who took Effexor had a 27% increased risk o gestational diabetes and those that took Elavil had a 52% increased risk.
Combining two types of antidepressants also increases the risk of gestational diabetes. However, there was no link between selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), like Zoloft and Paxil, and gestational diabetes.
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy and can increase the risk of complications a woman faces. Risks like high blood pressure, potentially needing a c-section, a drop in the baby’s blood sugar, or the child developing type 2 diabetes later in life are all increased if the mother develops gestational diabetes.
Prior studies have shown taking antidepressants during pregnancy can lead to other risks, including increased risk of preterm birth and increased risk the child may suffer from dyslexia or other language disorders. One study linked prenatal antidepressant use to increased risk of the child suffering from anxiety, ADHD, autism, and behavioral and mood disorders.