The effect of antidepressants on fertility.
BACKGROUND: Information on the effects of different pharmaceuticals on fertility is sparse. Human and animal models indicate that antidepressant use could have a negative effect on fertility through alteration of levels of the neurosteroid, allopregnanolone. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study is to assess the effects of antidepressants on the natural fertility in women. STUDY DESIGN: A secondary analysis of data from Time to Conceive, a prospective cohort study, was conducted. Women ages 30 to 44 years without a history of infertility, early in their attempts to conceive, were followed with standardized pregnancy testing until pregnancy was detected. Medication use was assessed at enrollment, daily for up to 4 months, and then monthly. For this analysis, discrete time regression models were created to calculate the association between antidepressant use and fecundability. Potential confounders-age, body mass index, caffeine, alcohol use, and education-were included in all models. RESULTS: Ninety-two (9.6%) of 957 women reported antidepressant use while attempting to conceive. Women taking antidepressants were more likely to be non-Hispanic Caucasian (91% vs 75%, P < .01) and to consume alcoholic beverages (74% vs 61%, P < .01). Antidepressant use at enrollment had an adjusted fecundability ratio (FR) of 0.86 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.63-1.20). However, time-varying analyses suggested that antidepressant use in a given cycle is associated with a reduced probability of conceiving in that cycle (adjusted FR, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.53-1.06). After adjusting for history of depression or restricting the analysis to women who reported a history of depression, the association between antidepressant use and decreased fecundability remained [adjusted FR, 0.66 (95% CI, 0.45-0.97) and (adjusted FR, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.43-0.94), respectively]. CONCLUSION: Our data suggest that antidepressants may reduce the probability of a woman with a history of depression to conceive naturally. Future studies are needed to differentiate the extent to which this association is due to the antidepressant itself versus the underlying depression.
Casilla-Lennon, MM; Meltzer-Brody, S; Steiner, AZ
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