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Anti-Depressant Use During Infertility and Pregnancy

Infertility and pregnancy are two scenarios of intense emotional fragility. When experienced back to back, the influx of hormones is often too much for one to bear.

You may be considering the use of anti-depressants, or perhaps you are evaluating your current anti-depressant use prior to trying to conceive. The use of anti-depressants during pregnancy is largely based on a risk to benefit ratio that can only be decided by a qualified physician.

While several anti-depressants are safe to use during pregnancy, they should first be discussed with your psychiatrist, fertility doctor, or OB-GYN. The drugs listed below are classified by the Food and Drug Administration based on well-controlled studies in pregnant women and the safety or risks thereby demonstrated.

Most fall under FDA Class B, a group which has shown no evidence of risk in humans despite risks in animals or no risk to animals in the absence of human research data. FDA Class C drugs have shown risks in animal studies, but sufficient data on human studies is not available. FDA Class D drugs have positively identified risk to the human fetus, however, benefits of using this group of drugs may outweigh the risks.

Anti-depressants Safe For Use During Infertility and Pregnancy

  • Zoloft (Sertraline)- FDA Class B; Probably safe
  • Celexa (Citalopram)- FDA Class B; Probably safe
  • Prozac (Fluoxetine)- FDA Class B; Probably safe
  • Pamelor, Aventyl (Nortriptyline)- FDA Class B; Probably safe
  • Luvox (Fluvoxamine)- FDA Class B; Probably safe, can be used to treat addictions
  • Wellbutrin, Zyban (Bupropion)- FDA Class B; Probably safe, can be used to quit smoking
  • Effexor (Venlafaxine)- FDA Class B; Probably safe, can raise blood pressure so use under close physician supervision

Anti-anxiety Drugs Safe For Use During Infertility and Pregnancy

  • Buspar (Buspirone)- FDA Class B; Probably safe
  • Altarax, Vistaril (Hydroxyzine)- FDA Class C; small chance of abnormalities if used during the first trimester

Drugs Not Recommended For Use During Infertility and Pregnancy

  • Paxil (Paroxetine)- FDA Class D; Not safe, known to cause fetal harm
  • Xanax (Alprazolam)- FDA Class D; Not safe, known to cause fetal harm
  • Valium (Diazepam)- FDA Class D; Not safe, known to cause fetal harm. Can be used in dire instances including seizure
  • Dalmane (Alprazolam)- FDA Class D; Not safe, known to cause fetal harm
  • Ativan (Lorazepam)-FDA Class D; Not safe, known to cause fetal harm
  • Tranxene (Chlorazepate)- FDA Class D; Not safe, known to cause fetal harm

Drugs Formerly Approved for Use During Infertility and Pregnancy

  • Tofranil (Imipramine)- FDA Class D; May be safe though studies have shown deformities and potential for infant withdrawal
  • Elavil (amitriptyline)- FDA Class D; May be safe though studies have shown deformities and potential for infant withdrawal

For further information on FDA drug safety guidelines, please click here

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