Monday, November 17, 2008

Pregnant women and psychotropic medications really don't mix

What I hate about this study is that we even have to study whether or not a pregnant woman should be given psychotropic medications during pregnancy. It disturbs me that this many studies surrounding this question are showing up in Pub Med. My common sense would tell me absolutely not, without even having to do the research. However, I guess there are some situations where it is more dangerous to have a pregnant woman's psychopathology left completely untreated for an entire 9 months. So, despite my personal feelings, I'll share the findings.

Pregnant mice were given fluoxetine (Prozac) throughout their pregnancy and kept on the medication until their pups were weaned. The pups were then given other medications and their responses to those medications were evaluated. The effects seemed to be more significant in the female offspring, who did not seem to have normal responses related to dopamine function. (Dopamine is important for impulse control, which influences potential for chemical dependencies and troubles such as addictions, gambling, shoplifting, and carbohydrate bingeing). The researchers also suggested that if this relationship existed in humans, daughters of women who took Prozac during pregnancy may not effectively respond to certain medications later in life. Two important classes of medications this might include are Parkinson's medications and antipsychotics, both of which attempt to correct problems in dopamine systems.

So, MY take on this is that given the fact that fish oil is such a powerful antidepressant and it is important to have enough of it during pregnancy for both mother and baby, perhaps we're learning that we should lean more in that direction on behalf of the two individuals involved in a pregnancy.

My CONCERN is that a drug company R and D person is likely to read the very same study and think, "Hmmm...if we get started right now, we can have a new drug ready for all those babies coming down the pike whose dopamine systems aren't responding to anything we can currently script."

We'll see which direction this information takes science. I sure hope it's the one involving fewer trips to the pharmacy in 20 years.

Favaro PN, Costa LC, Moreira EG. Maternal fluoxetine treatment decreases behavioral response to dopaminergic drugs in female pups. Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2008 Nov-Dec;30(6):487-94. Epub 2008 May 14.

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