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Epidemiology of the Use of Psychotropic Drugs in Pregnant and Nursing Women

  • Sura AlwanEmail author
  • Anick Bérard
Chapter

Abstract

At least one in ten women is exposed to a psychotropic medication in the perinatal period, and the rate has increased tremendously over the past two decades. Pregnancy is a period of extreme vulnerability to the onset of depression and other mental illnesses, and the use of pharmacological treatment has become highly concerning to patients and their healthcare providers with limited data available to assess their effectiveness to the pregnant woman and safety to her developing fetus. This has been demonstrated by the high rates of discontinuation of many psychotropic medications upon recognition of pregnancy, thereby posing a risk of relapse of the underlying condition in women with severe form of psychiatric disease, which may have adverse effects on the pregnancy and possibly on the health of the fetus as well. Antidepressants account for the majority of prescribed psychotropic medications for women in the perinatal period and are indicated for a variety of conditions, other than depression. Other commonly reported psychotropic medications among perinatal women include anxiety medications and atypical antipsychotics. Both geographical and temporal factors are important in understanding prescription trends of these medications over the perinatal period.

Keywords

Pregnancy Breastfeeding Psychotropic Antidepressants Antipsychotics Anxiolytics Depression Anxiety Bipolar disorder Schizophrenia 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medical GeneticsUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Faculty of Pharmacy, CHU Sainte-Justine Research CenterUniversity of MontrealMontrealCanada

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