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August 29, 2005

Treatment Considerations in Reproductive Health

Having children while on any form of medication is something that many women try to avoid. But some medications are more necessary than others, for example the medications used to treat bipolar disorder. One study looked at the effects that pregnancy and hormonal treatments had on women suffering from bipolar disorder.

The issues looked at were "teratogenicity [things that cause/ relate to developmental malformations], breastfeeding, polycystic ovarian syndrome, weight gain and obesity, and medication interactions with oral contraceptives." Postpartum depression is a significant risk in women with bipolar disorder and they are at heightened risk to have mood episodes during and after pregancy. Mood stabilizers must be picked carefully because of the chance that they could cause any developmental malformations in the child.

The highest risk (while pregnant) seems to come from using valproate in terms of potential malformations of the child. While breastfeeding lithium was the mood stabilizer that was "of highest concern" for the infants health.

The researchers stated that the effects of mood stabilizers on perimenopause and polycycstic ovarian syndrome must be examined in future studies to make sure that they are safe for women.

Original Source: Treatment considerations affected by reproductive events in bipolar women. 2005.

This research study was published in Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica (Bipolar disorder in women: reproductive events and treatment considerations. Acta Psychiatr Scand, 2005;112(2):88-96


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