National Alliance on Mental Illness
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Treatment Issues for Women
The treatment of women with depression may be different than treatment for men for several reasons.
Women with a history of severe depression have a high risk of relapse during pregnancy. The pros and cons of using antidepressants while pregnant, breast-feeding or trying to conceive must be weighed carefully because of the possible risk to the developing fetus or newborn. Large-scale studies have not shown a significant increase in birth defects in women using SSRIs or tricyclic antidepressants while pregnant, but each woman should discuss these issues with her physician.
More information about antidepressants and pregnancy is available from the Mayo Clinic.
Cognitive therapy may be used as an equally effective therapy without the risk of side effects. If a depressed woman has displayed suicidal thoughts or behaviors, treatment discontinuation is not advised.
Women taking tamoxifen for the treatment or prevention of breast cancer should be aware of possible interactions with certain antidepressant medications (known as SSRIs).