Background Depression in pregnancy is commonly treated using selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). A possible withdrawal syndrome following in utero exposure has been reported, but there is currently no UK guidance on the management of these neonates.
Methods All 160 neonatal units in England were asked for information regarding their management of SSRI-exposed babies.
Results Responses were obtained from 112/160 (70%) units. Only four units had a specific protocol for managing SSRI-exposed neonates. Twenty-one units (19%) conduct routine observations on exposed neonates, while 37 units (33%) would consider treating babies with signs of withdrawal or toxicity.
Conclusions Very few neonatal units in England have specific guidelines for the management of babies exposed to SSRIs in utero, with practice varying greatly between units. Further research is needed on the outcomes of SSRI-exposed babies to support development of standardised evidence-based guidelines to ensure all mothers and babies receive similar high-quality care.
- drug withdrawal
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Contributors ET and PJP designed the study, with advice from SEB. ET collected and analysed the data. ET produced the first draft of this paper, with PJP and SEB contributing to the final version.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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