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The potential risks of commonly prescribed antipsychotics: during pregnancy and lactation.
Mohammad Masud Iqbal; Alka Aneja; Atiq Rahman; James Megna; Wanda Freemont; Mohammed Shiplo; Nikil Nihilani; Kathy Lee (Profiled Author: Alka Aneja)
Dr. Iqbal is Clinical Director, Central New York Psychiatric Center, Auburn Satellite Mental Health Unit, New York, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry at SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, New York.
Psychiatry (Edgmont (Pa. : Township)) 2005;2(8):36-44.
Chlorpromazine, haloperidol, fluphenazine, clozapine, risperidone, quetiapine, olanzapine, ziprasidone, and aripiprazole are antipsychotics commonly used in psychiatric medicine. Approximately one third of pregnant women with psychotic symptoms use antipsychotics at least once. This review will discuss the effects of antipsychotic use during pregnancy and lactation on the fetus and infant.Although adequate and well-controlled studies have not been done in any one of these antipsychotic drugs, animal studies have revealed evidence of teratogenic or embryo/fetotoxic effects in all of them. Toxicities include skeletal malformations, central nervous system (CNS) defects, cleft palate, cardiac abnormalities, decreased fetal growth, and fetal death. For example, in pregnant women, congenital malformations and perinatal death have been reported with chlorpromazine use. Both chlorpromazine and fluphenazine in monotherapy have been shown to cause extrapyramidal symptoms and respiratory distress in infants born to mothers treated with these medications. Haloperidol use during pregnancy has been linked to severe limb reduction defects.Effects of antipsychotic use in lactating mothers are mostly unknown. However, the use of chlorpromazine has been reported to result in drowsiness and lethargy in breastfed infants. Additionally, clozapine has been reported to cause sedation, decreased suckling, restlessness, irritability, seizures, and cardiovascular instability of infants were also reported with clozapine use in lactating mother. Use of antipsychotic drugs by pregnant and lactating mother may only be justified if the potential benefit outweighs the potential risk to the fetus.
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