Safety of escitalopram in pregnancy: a case series
Cesario Bellantuono, Francesca Bozzi, Laura Orsolini
Psychiatric Unit and DEGRA Center, United Hospital and Academic Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine, Polytechnic University of Marche, Ancona, Italy
Background: The aim of this paper is to report maternal and neonatal outcomes in pregnant women treated with escitalopram during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Methods: Women enrolled in the DEGRA Database at the Clinic of Affective Disorders in Pregnancy and Postpartum in Italy, treated during pregnancy with escitalopram and followed up throughout pregnancy, were included in this study. All patients provided written informed consent and the study was approved by the local ethics committee. Psychiatric diagnoses were assessed using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders - Fourth Edition) Axis I Disorders and symptoms were assessed using the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (17 items) and Hamilton Rating Scale for Anxiety (14 items). Clinical and sociodemographic characteristics as well as maternal and neonatal outcomes were recorded.
Results: The case histories of seven pregnant women treated for depression and/or anxiety disorders with escitalopram were reported. Four women were also treated with benzodiazepines. All pregnancies were full-term and all newborns had normal Apgar scores. There were no major malformations or miscarriages following exposure to escitalopram. Mild withdrawal syndrome was reported only in a newborn who was also exposed to a benzodiazepine. Two infants exposed to escitalopram during breastfeeding did not show any health problems.
Conclusion: Our experience with use of escitalopram in pregnant women did not reveal any maternal or neonatal concerns. However, considering the few cases analyzed and the paucity of published literature, no conclusions can be drawn on its safety profile in pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Keywords: escitalopram, pregnancy, breastfeeding, major malformations, perinatal complications