The use of certain anti-depressants during pregnancy could lead to an increase in blood pressure for pregnant mothers, scientists at the University of Montreal have said.

High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) has been linked in the past with pre-eclampsia, and the scientists were concerned because of the high use of anti-depressants during pregnancy.

For their study, the researchers looked at 1,216 women. They found that the overall incidence of hypertension in women taking anti-depressants increased from two per cent to over three per cent (a relative risk increase of 60 per cent). One specific type of anti-depressant - paroxetine was found to have an 86 per cent relative risk increase.

However, the scientists said pregnant women should continue to take any prescribed medicine but consult with their doctor over any concerns.

Dr Anick Bérard, director of the research unit of medications and pregnancy at CHU Ste-Justine's Research Center, and professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, said: "These results are an early indicator of risk attributable to antidepressant drug treatment above that which may be attributed to depression or anxiety disorders in the absence of drug treatment."

Posted by Robert Mair on 24/03/2012