Advances in the pharmacological management of obsessive-compulsive disorder in the postpartum period

Vlasios Brakoulias, Kirupamani Viswasam, Alice Dwyer, Karen Hazell Raine, Vladan Starcevic

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review


Introduction: Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a psychiatric disorder characterized by obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are defined as intrusive, recurrent and distressing thoughts, images or impulses, whereas compulsions are defined as repetitive behaviors or mental acts. While there is an associated distress, and indeed oftentimes, the individual’s awareness that these behaviors are excessive and unreasonable, the individual continues to be disabled by an inability to cease their compulsions. The postpartum period may herald the onset of OCD or precipitate an exacerbation of the preexisting OCD symptoms. Common OCD symptom clusters occur in the postpartum period, with specific challenges associated with motherhood and lactation. Areas covered: This brief review aims to review the extent and nature of publications evaluating pharmacological treatment of OCD in the postpartum period. Expert opinion: Education and training should aim to improve the recognition and treatment of postpartum OCD. Due to the limited nature of studies, more research is required to assess the role of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in the postpartum period.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-165
Number of pages3
JournalExpert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes

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