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Childhood Asthma Linked To Maternal Depression And Older Antidepressants

Childhood Asthma Maternal Depression

Maternal depression and older antidepressant use during pregnancy has been linked to an increased risk of childhood asthma, according to a new study lead by epidemiologist Dr. Xiaoqin Liu at Aarhus University in Denmark.

A newer class of antidepressants used to treat depression, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), were not linked to any increased risk for asthma in kids, as more than 80 percent of the woman in the study were prescribed SSRIs and researchers found no correlation with childhood asthma.

Zoloft (sertraline) and Prozac (fluoxetine) are amongst the most commonly prescribed SSRIs.

Dr. Liu was quoted by WebMD as having said that the study’s findings revealed that overall use of antidepressants “during pregnancy did not increase the risk of asthma in general.”

How maternal depression affects asthma risk in the offspring is unknown, but the mechanism could involve hormone changes or changes in lifestyles […] The most significant finding in our study is that we found that [overall] antidepressant use during pregnancy did not increase the risk of asthma in general.

An antidepressant, as it pertains to pharmacology, is a type of drug used to alleviate depression.

Usage of older antidepressants such as Norpramin (desipramine) and Pamelor (nortriptyline), which are known as tricyclic antidepressants, in pregnant women was linked to the same level of increased risk for asthma as maternal depression.

In the case of older antidepressants used during pregnancy, children exhibited a 26 percent increased risk of asthma. With maternal depression, the children were 25 percent more likely to develop asthma.

Liu was quoted by MedPage Today as having said during an interview that the team behind the research hopes that their “study will contribute knowledge to the safety of antidepressant use during pregnancy.”

Depression is a mood disorder which affects between 7 percent and 13 percent of women during pregnancy, according to the study’s background information which also indicated that the use of antidepressants during pregnancy has risen in recent years.

The study analyzed over 733,000 Danish children who were born between 1996 and 2007; of which, more than 21,000 of the children’s mothers were either diagnosed with depression or received antidepressants while pregnant.In a separate study conducted by doctors at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah, preliminary findings indicated that treating depression with antidepressants may reduce heart disease in those suffering from moderate to severe depression.

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