Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn, or PPHN, sounds like a blood pressure condition but it’s much worse than that. It’s a defect of the heart that slows blood from moving from one side of the heart to the other. This causes pressure to build up in the vessels, but it also causes a reduction of oxygen in the body. The effects of this can be severe, even fatal.
One of the risk factors for a baby’s development of PPHN is the use of antidepressants. Pulmonary Hypertension News explains.
The risk of PPHN doubles when the mother uses antidepressants according to a systematic review of studies on the matter. Sertraline (Zoloft) was the safest antidepressant studied. The review study was published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.
SSRIs and SNRIs have been linked to several birth risks, including premature birth, low weight, cardiac defects, and PPHN. The new report pulled data from 11 other reports. While the risk is small, it is significant enough that the study’s authors recommend that doctors advise patients about the risks and to monitor infants closely for signs of PPHN after birth should the mother continue to take the drugs.
They also recommended the use of sertraline if the option was available because that drug does not cross the placental barrier easily.