Background Intrauterine exposure to antidepressants may lead to neonatal symptoms from the central nervous, respiratory and gastrointestinal system. Neonatal Abstinence Score, NAS, has routinely been used to assess infants exposed to antidepressants in utero.
Aim To study neonatal maladaptation syndrome in infants exposed to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) or serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI) in utero.
Method Retrospective cohort study of women delivering at Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge between January 2007 and June 2009, who were using antidepressants during pregnancy, and their infants. Information was collected on maternal and infant health, social factors and pregnancy. NAS sheets were scrutinised.
Results Two hundred and twenty women with reported 3rd trimester exposure to SSRI/SNRI were included. Seventy-seven women (35%) used citalopram, 76 (35%) sertraline, 34 (15%) fluoxetine, 33 (15%) other SSRI/SNRI. Twenty nine infants (13%) were admitted to the neonatal ward, 19 were born prematurely. Hypoglycemia (plasma glucose <2.6 mmol/L) was found in 42 infants (19%). NAS was analysed in 205 patients. Severe abstinence was defined as eight points or higher (scale with maximum 41 points), mild abstinence as 4–7 points, on at least two occasions. Seven infants (3%) had signs of severe abstinence and 46 (22%) mild abstinence symptoms.
Conclusions Severe abstinence was rare in this cohort of infants exposed to SSRI/SNRI and the majority of all scored infants had no signs of neonatal maladaptation. Hypoglycemia was detected in one out of five infants and might be overrepresentated in SSRI/SNRI exposed infants.