Pharmacotherapy of postpartum depression

Teresa Lanza Di Scalea, Katherine L. Wisner

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Background: The prevalence and recurrence rates of postpartum depression (PPD) are 13 and 25%, respectively. Despite its detrimental impact on the health of the motherinfant dyad, there is a paucity of data in the literature regarding the efficacy of pharmacological treatment of PPD. Objectives: i) To review the literature on the use of antidepressants and hormonal supplements for the prevention and the treatment of PPD; ii) to give the authors' opinion on the current status of the pharmacological treatment of PPD; and iii) to discuss developments that are likely to be important in the future. Methods: An electronic search was performed by using PubMed, Medline, and PsychINFO. Inclusion criteria were: i) empirical articles in peer-reviewed English-language journals; ii) well-validated measures of depression; and iii) a uniform scoring system for depression among the sample. Results/conclusion: The electronic search yielded a total of 19 articles (12 on treatment and 7 on prevention of PPD) with the following study designs: eight randomized clinical trials (six using placebo control and two using active control groups), and 11 open-label studies. The selection of the specific antidepressant for a woman with PPD should derive from a personalized riskbenefit analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2593-2607
Number of pages15
JournalExpert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy
Issue number16
StatePublished - 2009


  • Pharmacotherapy
  • Postpartum depression
  • Prevention
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pharmacology


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