antipsychotic drugs and pregnancy (and breastfeeding)

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NICE state that (1):

  • women taking antipsychotics who are planning a pregnancy should be told that the raised prolactin levels associated with some antipsychotics (notably amisulpride, risperidone and sulpiride) reduce the chances of conception. If prolactin levels are raised, an alternative drug should be considered
  • if a pregnant woman is taking clozapine, switching to another drug and careful monitoring should be considered. Clozapine should not be routinely prescribed for women who are pregnant (because there is a theoretical risk of agranulocytosis in the fetus) or for women who are breastfeeding (because it reaches high levels in breast milk and there is a risk of agranulocytosis in the infant)
  • when deciding whether to prescribe olanzapine to a woman who is pregnant, risk factors for gestational diabetes and weight gain, including family history, existing weight and ethnicity, should be taken into account
  • depot antipsychotics should not be routinely prescribed to pregnant women because there is relatively little information on their safety, and their infants may show extrapyramidal symptoms several months after administration of the depot. These are usually self-limiting
  • anticholinergic drugs should not be prescribed for the extrapyramidal side effects of antipsychotic drugs except for acute short-term use. Instead, the dose and timing of the antipsychotic drug should be adjusted, or the drug changed


  1. NICE (2007). Antenatal and postnatal mental health

Last reviewed 01/2018