Maternal SSRI Use and Autism

Peter Forster Physical Conditions and Health, Treatments of Depression

The CBS Evening News (4/18, story 9, 1:15, Pelley) reported, “Studies have shown that pregnant women who take antidepressants are more likely to have children with autism.” Newly published studies examine whether the medication is causing this. TIME (4/18, Park) reports that in two studies, investigators “found that other factors, including genes linked to mental illness, may be more strongly …

SSRIs and Pregnancy Updates

Peter Forster Physical Conditions and Health, Treatments of Depression

Several recent articles provide additional information about the effects on the infant of exposure to SSRI antidepressants during pregnancy. A large study published in Pediatrics adds to information that suggests that exposure to SSRI antidepressants, particularly late in pregnancy, may be associated with birth complications. As with other studies, one major limitation in the design of the study is that it …

Why SSRIs May Increase Anxiety Short Term

Peter Forster Psychobiology, Treatments of Depression

SSRIs are among the most commonly prescribed medications for chronic anxiety, but not infrequently these medications may be associated with a short term increase in symptoms that precedes the long term benefit. In an elegant series of studies published online in late August 2016 in the premier scientific journal, Nature, researchers from the NIH and the University of North Carolina at …

Functional Brain Imaging and Antidepressant Response

Peter Forster Basic Science, Testing, Treatments of Depression

One of the most exciting initiatives currently in the important area of  the treatment of depression is the International Study to Predict Optimized Treatment in Depression (iSPOT-D). This large multi-center initiative is based on a private industry and academic partnership that is designed to both identify best practices in the treatment of depression and also commercialize them. The most recent publication from this …

SSRI Dose Response

Peter Forster Major Depression, Treatments of Depression

It has long been unclear whether higher doses of SSRIs are associated with greater response. What has been clear is that higher doses are associated with significantly increased side effects. In fact previous research, whether individual studies or meta-analyses have failed to find a significant dose response with the result that many have felt that there is a flat dose response …

Escitalopram Reduces Inflammation in Depression

Peter Forster Major Depression, Physical Conditions and Health, Psychobiology, Treatments of Depression

Escitalopram reduces inflammation in depression and potentially reduces neurotoxicity according to an article just published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research. A pro-inflammatory tendence has previously been noted in patients with depression, and this seems to be associated strongly with increases in kynurenine (see below for more information on how exercise counteracts this tendency). Kynurenine is the first step in …

SSRI Antidepressants and Pregnancy

Peter Forster Major Depression, Physical Conditions and Health, Treatments of Depression

A recent study concludes that there may be some good news about the impact of SSRI antidepressants on the fetus in women who are pregnant. The authors used national registry data to examine the relationship between pre-birth SSRI treatment and pregnancy complications while controlling for the effects of the psychiatric diagnoses related to SSRI use. Some previous studies had just compared people who took …