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February 14, 2006

Research: Causes and Prevention

Question from Rockaway, New Jersey, USA:

Is there any evidence that the taking of common antidepressants by pregnant women increase the chances of the child getting type 1 diabetes? I have read that schizophrenia medications can cause diabetes for the user.


I did a medline search and could not find any specific reference to prenatal use of antidepressants and the baby developing diabetes. There is a recent review (Expert Opinion Drug Safety, January 2006) that states that certain types of antidepressants can affect glucose metabolism. The class known as SSRIs (Prozac) may reduce hyperglycemia whereas the heterocyclics (Norpramin) may cause the opposite. Whether this has any long term effect on glucose metabolism in a fetus is unknown. Of some concern is a recent New England Journal report that SSRIs may be associated with pulmonary hypertension in the newborn.

Additional comments from Dr. Stuart Brink:

Nope. Modern SSRI medications can elevate blood glucose levels sometimes, but it is difficult to know exactly how this occurs. It could be insulin resistance, could be direct insult on the pancreas, etc. There are a lot of theories but no hard evidence. Whether or not the same might happen with pregnancy is even less known, but probably also less likely. You should discus this with your psychiatrist and perhaps also with your obstetrician. If you still have some questions, a consultation with a diabetologist would be reasonable.