First of all, I am on oral cancer survivor and have been given the go ahead and begin the journey of pregnancy. We have not started trying yet as am still on an antidepressant. How safe is it to continue taking antidepressants if I get pregnant? I am to scared to get off them since I have been on them for at least two years. Was put on them after my diagnosis of cancer. Now, I am cancer free and have been for 18 months.
Congrats on surviving cancer and getting the go ahead. As to the anti-depressants, you need to talk with your mental health professional. Since you have kicked cancer in the pants, you may be able to begin weaning off them (don't quit cold turkey) and use talk therapy to help you when coming down. Many people who are on anti-depressants are only on them for a set period of time and once the major stressor in life has passed can come off them, but it has to be done with the guidance of a doctor.
As for risks, it all depends which one you are taking and at what dose. Some are safer than others in pregnancy. The general consensus has become that it is important to have the mother in a healthy mental state so that she takes care of herself and the unborn baby and that trumps the minor risks to taking the medicine during pregnancy, but again, you need to weigh the pros and cons with your doctor - preferably a high risk OB who specializes in mental health issues.
I have also been diagnosed with depression ever since I was 18 years old. With my pregnancy, my husband actually told me to get off all antidepressants for the health of the baby. But since I am so non-functional during such drug-free period, I actually stopped working and applied for social security disability insurance for short-term during my pregnancy to ensure I would have a healthy baby. My arguments with him now are often associated with treating bacterial or parasitic infection during pregnancy. Again it's benefits vs. risks. We as pharmacists often say, if benefits outweigh risks, drugs should be used. For example, if a person is ill with hypertension, he can die from complications like CHF, hemorrhagic stroke or kidney failure in a short time due to constant blood pressure, thus benefits outweigh risks (risks might be unpleasant or extremely low fatality rate from side effects from drugs). Thus in your case, consulting with a perinatologist might be advisable. Also, try to choose an antidepressant that's in pregnancy category B. But even with that said, I've heard stories of Lovenox in this forum causing complications in infants though it's currently listed in pregnancy category B. Thus you understand why even healthcare professionals often differ in their opinions on certain treatments. Try to understand the rationale, the pathophysiology, and weigh the pros and cons of treatment options, and make informed decisions yourself just as healthcare professionals do. I am sure you are quite informed of the options of antidepressants, but in case you aren't, here's the website to a long list of antidepressants http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_antidepressants. Check up their individual pregnancy category on google by typing in for example "pregnancy category of Zoloft", etc. Hope that helps.
In addition, try acupuncture for your depression to see if it helps. Bad news, I just checked up the pregnancy categories of antidepressants on google, and found out none are listed in pregnancy category B. I've also tried acupuncture before but it did not work for me, but I heard from some people that acupuncture actually helps with their depression. So give that a try? If you are truly non-functional as I am now being drug-free from antidepressants, try applying for social security disability benefits for short-term since you do have the diagnosis of depression. Hoping for the best for you.
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