A new study finds that taking antidepressants while pregnant may increase the risk of gestational diabetes, a type of diabetes that can develop during pregnancy in women.
The risk was the greatest for two antidepressant drugs, venlafaxine, and amitriptyline, according to the study conducted by scientists at the Research Center, CHU Sainte-Justine, Montreal, Quebec, Canada and the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
The researchers examined data on 237,172 pregnancies in Canada from 1998 to 2015 from the research tool Quebec Pregnancy Cohort.
Out of those pregnancies, 20,905 included cases of gestational diabetes. Among the pregnancies with a gestational diabetes diagnosis, 1,152 also had been exposed to antidepressants.
After analyzing the data, the researchers found that specifically venlafaxine and amitriptyline were associated with a 27% and 52% increased risk of gestational diabetes, respectively.
The authors said this finding suggests that antidepressants—” and specifically venlafaxine and amitriptyline—were associated with an increased risk of gestational diabetes mellitus,” they concluded.
However, they not it’s important to note that the study suggests a correlation but not causation.
“This study gives another piece of the puzzle showing an increased risk of using antidepressants during pregnancy,” Anick Bérard, a professor at the University of Montreal in Canada and director of research on medications and pregnancy at CHU Sainte-Justine Medical Center, told CNN.
“Depression needs to be treated during pregnancy. There are many forms of treatments — antidepressants are one of them,” she added.
“If a woman is pregnant and is taking antidepressants, she should not stop by herself but should have an informed discussion with her treating physician to assess the best way forward,” Bérard noted.
The research is published in the journal BMJ Open.