Managing common Mental Health Conditions in Pregnancy with Nicola Greenhalgh, Medicines Information Manager, Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust
Nicola’s presentation is quite timely with the recent coverage in the media of women who took valproate during pregnancy. It will be of interest to any pharmacist or pharmacy technician interested in the safe use of medicines.
Women who become pregnant with mental health conditions receive conflicting advice on how to manage their condition or whether or not they should continue to take their medicines. Women who become pregnant with a mental health condition are at high risk of stopping their medicines suddenly as they feel this is the safest thing for their unborn child. Professionals need to be aware of what the best evidence and guidance is for these patients so that we can provide them with informed advice so that they can reduce the risks to both themselves and their unborn child.
The presentation focused on managing the common mental health conditions that are experienced in pregnancy, bringing together national guidance and practical case studies to cover both those with new and existing conditions. Depression, anxiety and insomnia were the main focus but Nicola also looked at managing schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, looking at some of the myths around use of medicines in these conditions and how we can all work together to manage these conditions during the difficult pregnancy period. Nicola covered what the current evidence shows for both treating and not treating these conditions, and where you can go for further advice and for patient information to help pregnant women make decisions regarding their treatment.
We also looked at encouraging both women and health care professionals to report exposure to medicines in pregnancy so that we can continue to grow the evidence base and improve the advice we are able to provide.
The slide presentation is attached below together with the procedure Nicola referred to in her presentation. Also attached is a copy of the poster raised in the chat from Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHSFT for highlighting the risks of Valproate in pregnancy.
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Associate Director, Specialist Pharmacy Services