An interactive tool to help women decide whether to use antidepressants during pregnancy

Professor Louise Howard, Dr Hind Khalifeh, Dr Emma Molyneaux

Researchers in Tommy’s London centre have developed a Patient Decision Aid to help women understand the risks and benefits of taking antidepressants while pregnant.

Choosing whether or not to take antidepressants during pregnancy can be a difficult decision. Both depression and antidepressants carry risks for the baby. Trying to understand the dangers and benefits of each choice can be daunting and confusing, especially as the evidence is not clear.

The best way to help women make this choice is to give them as much information as possible, so they can decide what is best for them personally. Researchers at Tommy’s centre in King’s College London have helped to create an online Patient Decision Aid (PDA) that will help women make informed decisions. 

Since February 2017, they have been running a small pilot study to find out if the PDA is effective. The study, which involved 51 women, is now complete. Researchers are currently completing follow-up interviews with the participants.

We hope that this tool will help women facing this decision to choose what is right for them, by giving them the knowledge they need to choose. If the results of the pilot study are positive, a bigger trial will be organised to look at the PDA’s effectiveness.

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This study takes place in a Tommy's centre and is funded by the National Institute for Health Research

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