Depressing Danger

May 17, 1993

Research suggests that drugs to lift the spirits may cause miscarriage

Although many young women of childbearing age are treated for depression, no one is sure if it is safe for them to take their needed medication during pregnancy. A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association provides a mixed answer. Researchers followed women who became pregnant while receiving therapy--either with Prozac, a relatively new and extremely popular drug, or tricyclic antidepressants, an older class of medication. Women in both groups bore the same small risk of having children with serious birth defects--which was no higher than it is for women in the general population. But both groups of women on antidepressant medication showed abnormally high rates of miscarriage. More study is needed to determine whether the medication or the depression could be bringing pregnancies to a premature end.

Copyright (c) TIME Magazine, 1995 TIME Inc. Magazine Company; (c) 1995 Compact Publishing, Inc.

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