Treatment of Peripartum Depression with Antidepressants and Other Psychotropic Medications: A Synthesis of Clinical Practice Guidelines in Europe

Sarah Kittel-Schneider, Ethel Felice, Rachel Buhagiar, Mijke Lambregtse-Van Den Berg, Claire A. Wilson, Visnja Banjac Baljak, Katarina Savic Vujovic, Branislava Medic, Ana Opankovic, Ana Fonseca, Angela Lupattelli*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

This study examined (1) the availability and content of national CPGs for treatment of peripartum depression, including comorbid anxiety, with antidepressants and other psychotropics across Europe and (2) antidepressant and other psychotropic utilization data as an indicator of prescribers’ compliance to the guidelines. We conducted a search using Medline and the Guidelines International Network database, combined with direct e-mail contact with national Riseup-PPD COST ACTION members and researchers within psychiatry. Of the 48 European countries examined, we screened 41 records and included 14 of them for full-text evaluation. After exclusion of ineligible and duplicate records, we included 12 CPGs. Multiple CPGs recommend antidepressant initiation or continuation based on maternal disease severity, non-response to first-line non-pharmacological interventions, and after risk-benefit assessment. Advice on treatment of comorbid anxiety is largely missing or unspecific. Antidepressant dispensing data suggest general prescribers’ compliance with the preferred substances of the CPG, although country-specific differences were noted. To conclude, there is an urgent need for harmonized, up-to-date CPGs for pharmacological management of peripartum depression and comorbid anxiety in Europe. The recommendations need to be informed by the latest available evidence so that healthcare providers and women can make informed, evidence-based decisions about treatment choices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1973
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume19
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2022

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