Antidepressant use during pregnancy and development of preeclampsia: A focus on classes of action and specific transporters/receptors targeted by antidepressants

Publication authors: Tran YH, Huynh HK, Faas MM, de Vos S, Groen H


The association between antidepressants and preeclampsia has been inconsistently reported. Given the compound-specific variable affinity for different transporters/receptors, their effect on preeclampsia risk could differ. Our study examined the risk of preeclampsia (and its subtypes) following exposure to different classes of antidepressants, also accounting for specific transporters/receptors targeted by antidepressants.


We conducted a cohort study, combining data from the Netherlands Perinatal Registry and the PHARMO Database Network. Exposure to antidepressants was examined from conception to week 20 of gestation; extended use thereafter was also studied. Antidepressants were categorized according to classes [selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) and other antidepressants] and according to target transporters/receptors. Women not using any antidepressants during 15 months before delivery were included as reference.


We included 2,103 exposed and 95,376 reference women. Preeclampsia occurred in 70 exposed women (15 early-onset, 55 late-onset) and in 2,582 reference women (387 early-onset, 2,195 late-onset). TCA monotherapy (214 women) was associated with an increased risk of preeclampsia (n = 15, RR 2.46, 95% CI 1.51โ€“4.02) and late-onset preeclampsia (n = 12, RR 2.41, 95% CI 1.39โ€“4.17, early-onset could not be evaluated). No association was detected with SSRIs, SNRIs and MAOIs. We did observe an increased risk of early-onset preeclampsia following exposure to 5-HT2A antagonizing antidepressants (6/405 women, excluding TCA users, RR 3.56, 95% CI 1.60โ€“7.94).


Our results support an increased risk of preeclampsia and the late-onset subtype among TCA users. The association between 5-HT2A antagonists and the early-onset subtype needs to be interpreted with caution based on the relatively small number of exposed cases.

Share this article