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Don't Give Anti-Depressants to women of childbearing age?

(21 Posts)
MrsFionaCharming Wed 24-Oct-12 18:37:32

www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/9631088/Women-of-childbearing-age-should-not-be-allowed-to-take-antidepressants.html

The title of the article makes it sound slightly worse than it is, when it's actually only some forms of antidepressants that should be limited. But at the same time, I'm annoyed that a hypothetical pregnancy seems to have more rights than women's health.

UltraBOF Wed 24-Oct-12 18:47:39

Ridiculous. I'm in that age bracket, and on extremely teratogenic drugs for a different condition (not MH), and all my consultant needed to know from me was that I was not planning to conceive.

Why women with depression etc can't be afforded the same curtesy, I don't know. It's infantilising and discriminatory, and apart from anything else, ignores the fact that in our society there are a LOT of depressed women in that age bracket. They deserve the best treatment available, not what's safest for theoretical fetuses.

colditz Wed 24-Oct-12 18:51:17

It ignores the fact that I am not livestock.

FrothyDragon Wed 24-Oct-12 18:56:20

The curse of the Human Incubator strikes again...

MrsFionaCharming Wed 24-Oct-12 18:56:32

Yes, I think it's pretty typical that mental health treatments aren't seen as important as physical health treatments.

I have a friend who was prescribed a medication known to cause birth defects, as a treatment for acne. And I'm pretty certain that acne is significantly less harmful and potentially fatal that depression or bi polar.

achillea Wed 24-Oct-12 18:57:02

My daughter was severely damaged by one of these drugs. The advice is to only give safe drugs to women of cb age. Approximately half of all pregnancies arr unplanned and if you are in a relationship and already have other children it will be very difficult to choose abortion. Symptoms are often not found until a child is 3 years old so there is no way you can abort selectively.

This is an epidemic that has been ignored because big pharmaceuticals make too much money. They can never be brought to justice because there is no clear causality.

colditz Wed 24-Oct-12 18:59:08

The advice SHOULD be to give a woman the choice by arming her with the facts, and not to assume that she will turn into a gooey ball of sobbing mush after saying previously that she would sell a kidney for a termination if she had to.

I am an ADULT, I should be making that choice, not my doctor.

TennisFan42 Wed 24-Oct-12 18:59:41

On a similar note to UltraBof, if the male partner is taking teratogenic drugs then it is recommended he comes off them 6 months before a couple try conceiving. My point being that drugs that men take can have an impact on the baby's development too.

It p*sses me off that this article implies the health of the baby is 100% the responsibility of the mother.

CailinDana Wed 24-Oct-12 19:04:58

This is a really complicated issue. I think women of childbearing age who are sexually active do need to be acutely aware that if they do get pregnant while on certain medications the consequences could be disastrous. But like Gribbet I am bemused by the implication that medication for mental illness is pretty much optional, and that it can easily replaced by "psychological treatments." It's particularly laughable that such a comment comes from a psychiatrist, whose main role is to prescribe medication and who probably wouldn't know a "psychological treatment" if it hit her in the face. Sodium valproate is the only drug mentioned in the article. That's a serious drug that is prescribed to someone who is likely to end up destroying themselves without treatment. To suggest a person in need of such medication should be told to go and talk to someone is like telling a cancer patient to go home and pray.

PersonalClown Wed 24-Oct-12 19:07:22

Bollocks.
Why is my mental health (and life) more important than an hypothetical child I may have??
I believe that being diagnosed and put on meds at 20 saved my life. I have no doubt that I would have committed suicide by now.

As it happens, DS was unplanned. I had him at 23. If I had not been on the medication, I would not have been here to have him.

MrsFionaCharming Wed 24-Oct-12 19:07:40

Or, if it's so impossible for women to control their own fertility, why not only offer the drug alongside a long term contraceptive? Why take it away entirely?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 24-Oct-12 19:59:01

It's a piece built out of nothing in my view, with a lovely chauvinistic telegraph headline.

All illnesses have first, second, third line treatments, usually with increasing side effects etc . There are usually several drugs in each class with a different combination of side effects. It makes sense to review contraindications for each individual. A good doctor should be doing this anyway and I have little doubt that they actually are bearing family planning in mind (for either gender) when prescribing,

FunBagFreddie Wed 24-Oct-12 20:36:18

they should give people with mental health problems the most effective and appropriate medication, simple as that.

TeaAndHugs Wed 24-Oct-12 20:42:39

If I ever found out that a doctor was withholding drugs that might help me purely because of my gender and age, I would sue.

By all means tell women the risks, but this is ridiculous. What about women who know they would abort in the case of an unplanned pregnancy? What about women who aren't even sexually active, or only sexually active with women? Are they all going to be denied medication too, for the sake of a baby that will never exist?

achillea Wed 24-Oct-12 20:54:54

Each drug is different and there are varying levels of risk. Most drugs are tested for foetal abnormalities at birth but very few test children at 5 years, when learning difficulties are noticed and can be recorded. Consultants are only concerned about controlling the mothers health problem and theit offspring go to paediatrics so cause isn't recorded.

Of course it is ludicrous to treat women as this headline suggests but the history of these meds exposes a far darker prejudice. For many years it was assumed that children with lds are that way because their mothers are either mad or epileptic. They are still doing genetic research to try and prove this link.

This article shows a shift in opinion, perhaps it is not the lunacy of the mother that is to blame for the behaviour of their children.

Sorry that's a rant and slightly off the feminist issue, informed choice is indeed the key here, but who is providing what information and to whom?

Valproate is in a roundabout way absorbed by the foetus away from the mother, baby cannot process it and so baby suffers. Yet for 30 years damaged children were born and the medics all said it was a genetic defect.

FunBagFreddie Wed 24-Oct-12 20:59:47

I really don't like the fact that women with mental illnesses have been singled out. It is quite discriminatory, and as a women who has a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, I find it objectionable.

People with serious illnesses are able to function with the aid of drugs and talking therapies. They don't need to treated like children, with authority figures denying them effective medication because of some hypothetical situation (because they clearly can't make sound, valid judgements themselves) . Women are quite capable of deciding whether they benefits outweigh the risks when they are given the facts.

Riled!

achillea Wed 24-Oct-12 22:19:35

Well for years they were being told that their babies were defective because they were! Pharmaceuticals chucked money at expensive genetic research but surprisingly never found evidence that made any sense.

The research will not be done because there is too much money involved. The NHS spend millions on these drugs, why cut off the hand that feeds you? The doctor in this article is being very brave to make this statement. Many won't rock the boat.

FunBagFreddie Wed 24-Oct-12 22:31:41

Some of these drugs can't be taken when pregnant, but unless there are alternatives, you have to give them to the patient.

Fwiw I take a mood stabiliser and I've been told to discontinue it and contact my GP if I ever plan to get pregnant. I think that's good enough really. My choice of drugs is very limited due to other health problems and my medication allows me to function, remain stable and look after family I already have.

sashh Thu 25-Oct-12 05:17:13

I was on methotrexate for years. When it was prescribed I was asked about plans for pregnancy and told to be particularly vigilant about contraception.

treaclesoda Thu 25-Oct-12 05:29:30

interesting. Many years ago, I was prescribed a drug which is known to cause birth defects. I was refused the drug until I had been on the pill for at least a month. Obviously they had no way of knowing if I actually took the pill each day but I had to sign a disclaimer promising to take my pill as prescribed and that if I did fall pregnant that I would terminate. Not sure how that would actually have worked, as I'm in N Ireland where termination would not be allowed. However, I wasn't sexually active at the time, but still had to be prescribed contraception in order to be allowed the drug that I needed.

MardyArsedMidlander Thu 25-Oct-12 09:21:49

This is like the fucking Handmaid's Tale angry. Considering that depression can be a fatal illness, unless some women are given the proper medication they won't live long enough to breed!

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