American Journal of Public Health Research
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American Journal of Public Health Research. 2013, 1(3), 72-77
DOI: 10.12691/ajphr-1-3-3
Open AccessArticle

Antidepressant Prescription Medication Use Patterns among Insured, Low Income Pregnant Women

Jun Wu1, , Mary Lynn Davis-Ajami2, Sharon Keiser3 and Lynda Sykes4

1South Carolina College of Pharmacy, University of South Carolina, Greenville, USA

2Organizational Systems and Adult Health, School of Nursing, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Baltimore, USA

3Sharon Keiser, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Greenville Health System, Greenville, USA

4Lynda Sykes, Department of Pharmacy, Greenville Health System, Greenville, USA

Pub. Date: April 28, 2013

Cite this paper:
Jun Wu, Mary Lynn Davis-Ajami, Sharon Keiser and Lynda Sykes. Antidepressant Prescription Medication Use Patterns among Insured, Low Income Pregnant Women. American Journal of Public Health Research. 2013; 1(3):72-77. doi: 10.12691/ajphr-1-3-3


Despite of the controversy of antidepressant use during the gestational period, the reported antidepressant use at any time during pregnancy has increased. Our study assessed antidepressant prescription medication use patterns during pregnancy among insured, low-income women in the United States. This retrospective study used South Carolina Medicaid claims data (2004-2009). Included were pregnant women (≥ 18 years) with single or multiparous live birth(s) with a diagnosis for major depression or reported pharmacy claims for antidepressant prescriptions 1 year before becoming pregnant or while pregnant. Antidepressant prevalence prior to and during pregnancy, type of antidepressant, and trimester when the antidepressant use started, characterized antidepressant prescription use patterns. Among 24,077 pregnant women with live births, the prevalence of antidepressant use before becoming pregnant and during pregnancy was 5.5% and 6% respectively. A total of 3,237 pregnant women met inclusion criteria. Of the 1,456 women prescribed antidepressants during pregnancy, 16% showed a history of major depression predating their pregnancy and 67% initiated antidepressant medications after becoming pregnant. Nearly 80% took selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) during pregnancy, and 32% initiated antidepressants during the first trimester. Age, race, and preexisting depression were associated with antidepressant use. In pregnant, insured low-income women, the majority prescribed antidepressants were new users. Pharmacologic treatment for pregnant women with depressive symptoms, particularly in newly diagnosed major depression remains challenging.

antidepressant insured low-income pregnancy depression

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