loading page

Antidepressant use in pregnancy and severe cardiac malformations: Danish register-based study
  • +4
  • Line Kolding,
  • Vera Ehrenstein,
  • Lars Pedersen,
  • Puk Sandager,
  • Olav Petersen,
  • Niels Uldbjerg,
  • Lars Pedersen
Line Kolding
Aarhus University Hospital

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

Author Profile
Vera Ehrenstein
Aarhus University Hospital
Author Profile
Lars Pedersen
Aarhus University Hospital
Author Profile
Puk Sandager
Aarhus University Hospital
Author Profile
Olav Petersen
Copenhagen University Hospital Rigshospitalet
Author Profile
Niels Uldbjerg
Aarhus University Hospital
Author Profile
Lars Pedersen
Aarhus University Hospital
Author Profile


Objective Studies restricted to live births may underestimate severe teratogenic effects. We address the limitation by including data from both prenatal and postnatal diagnoses of cardiac malformations. Design Register-based study. Setting Denmark. Population 364,012 singleton pregnancies from 2007 to 2014. Methods We used data from five nationwide registries. Exposure to antidepressants was measured using redeemed prescriptions. Main Outcome Measures Pregnancies with cardiac malformations that end in miscarriage, termination, stillbirth, postnatal death or cardiac surgery <1 year of birth were classified as severe cardiac malformations (SCM). Propensity scores with adjusted prevalence ratios (PRs) were calculated. Results SCM were reported in 972 / 364 012 pregnancies overall and in 16 / 4105 exposed. PRs for SCM were 1.09 (95%CI: 0.52-2.30) for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and 2.13 (95%CI: 0.89-5.13) for venlafaxine. Among the venlafaxine-exposed pregnancies, there was a cluster of hypoplastic left heart syndromes (HLHS) (crude PR 17.4 (95%CI: 6.41-47.2)) of which none ended in a live birth. For HLHS, the absolute risk increase was 4.4 per 1000, the number needed to harm (NNH) was 225. PRs for cardiac malformations not classified as SCM were 1.38 (95%CI: 1.00-1.92) for SSRIs, and 1.73 (95%CI: 1.08-2.77) for venlafaxine. Conclusions Pregnancy exposure to venlafaxine, but not SSRIs, is associated with an increased risk of SCM but with a low absolute risk. Potential mechanisms include direct effects or confounding by indication. Venlafaxine exposure is a marker for risk pregnancies for which fetal echocardiography may be considered. Keywords pregnancy, antidepressants, SSRI, venlafaxine, prenatal ultrasound, selection bias
12 Oct 2020Submitted to BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
12 Oct 2020Submission Checks Completed
12 Oct 2020Assigned to Editor
12 Oct 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
28 Oct 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
04 Dec 2020Editorial Decision: Revise Major
07 Jan 20211st Revision Received
12 Jan 2021Assigned to Editor
12 Jan 2021Submission Checks Completed
19 Feb 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
19 Mar 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
05 Apr 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
22 Apr 20212nd Revision Received
23 Apr 2021Assigned to Editor
23 Apr 2021Submission Checks Completed
23 Apr 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
03 May 2021Editorial Decision: Accept
Nov 2021Published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology volume 128 issue 12 on pages 1949-1957. 10.1111/1471-0528.16772