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Original Research

Risk of Poor Neonatal Adaptation Syndrome Among Infants Exposed to Second-Generation Atypical Antipsychotics Compared to Antidepressants: Results From the National Pregnancy Registry for Psychiatric Medications

Adele C. Viguera, MDa,b,*; Sara A. McElheny, BAa,c; Phoebe S. Caplin, BAa; Lauren A. Kobylski, MPHa; Ella T. Rossa, BAa; Amanda V. Young, BAa; Peter Gaccione, MAa; Lina Góez-Mogollón, MDa; Marlene P. Freeman, MDa; and Lee S. Cohen, MDa

Published: January 4, 2023


Objective: While poor neonatal adaptation syndrome (PNAS) has been particularly well described among infants exposed to antidepressants, specifically selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), this is not the case for second-generation antipsychotics (SGAs). In 2011, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a drug safety warning regarding fetal antipsychotic exposure and risk for PNAS and extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS). The primary objective of this study was to examine the risk for PNAS among infants exposed to SGAs compared to SSRI/SNRI-exposed infants, leveraging the prospective, longitudinal design of the National Pregnancy Registry for Psychiatric Medications (NPRPM).

Methods: The NPRPM is a prospective pharmacovigilance program in which pregnant women, aged 18–45 years, are enrolled and followed prospectively. Medical records were systematically reviewed and data abstracted using a checklist of PNAS and EPS symptoms specifically outlined in the FDA drug safety warning. The two study groups included infants exposed to an SGA during pregnancy and infants exposed to an SSRI/SNRI during pregnancy. The primary outcome was the presence of at least one or more PNAS symptoms during the first month of life. Other neonatal outcomes following exposure to the medication of interest, including preterm birth, neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) admission, rates of EPS, and whether infants were discharged home with their mothers, are also reported.

Results: Of the 2,145 women enrolled in this study as of December 16, 2020, a total of 373 women and their infants (n = 384) were eligible for inclusion (n = 193 SGA-exposed infants and 191 SSRI/SNRI-exposed infants). Among SGA-exposed infants, 32.6% (63/193) experienced at least 1 PNAS sign compared to 34.6% of infants (66/191) in the SSRI/SNRI-exposed group. The majority of infants in each group showed no symptoms of PNAS. No differences were observed between the two groups with respect to rates of preterm birth, NICU admission, prevalence of EPS, and timing of infants being discharged home with their mothers.

Conclusions: PNAS symptomatology was comparable among infants exposed prenatally to an SGA or to an SSRI/SNRI. These preliminary findings provide an estimated risk of PNAS among infants exposed to SGAs of roughly 30%. Interestingly, these findings are also consistent with estimates in the literature of PNAS in SSRI/SNRI-exposed infants, suggesting a possible common pathway underlying this phenomenon.

Trial Registration: identifier: NCT01246765

Volume: 84

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