Venlafaxine prescription claims among insured women of reproductive age and pregnant women, 2011–2016

April D. Summers, Kayla N. Anderson, Elizabeth C. Ailes, Scott D. Grosse, William V. Bobo, Naomi K. Tepper, Jennita Reefhuis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Some studies have reported associations between prenatal use of venlafaxine, a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor used for depressive and anxiety disorders, and some birth defects. We described the prevalence of venlafaxine prescription claims among privately insured women of reproductive age and pregnant women. Methods: Venlafaxine prescription claims were examined using the IBM MarketScan Commercial Databases. We included women of reproductive age (15–44 years) who had ≤45 days of lapsed enrollment during the calendar year of interest (2011–2016) in a non-capitated healthcare plan sponsored by a large, self-insured employer with prescription drug coverage and no mental health service carve-out. Annual cohorts of pregnant women were identified among eligible women of reproductive age via pregnancy diagnosis and procedure codes. Venlafaxine prescriptions were identified via National Drug Codes in outpatient pharmacy claims and we estimated the annual proportion of women with venlafaxine claims by pregnancy trimester (pregnant women only), age, and Census division. Results: Each year during 2011–2016, approximately 1.2% of eligible reproductive-aged and 0.3% of eligible pregnant women filled a venlafaxine prescription. Among pregnant women, the proportion with venlafaxine claims was highest during the first trimester and decreased during the second and third trimesters. Small temporal increases in venlafaxine claims were observed for reproductive-aged and pregnant women, with the largest among women aged 15–19 years. Conclusions: Venlafaxine prescription claims were low among women of reproductive age and pregnant women during 2011–2016, with some increasing use over time among women aged 15–19 years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1052-1056
Number of pages5
JournalBirth Defects Research
Issue number14
StatePublished - Aug 15 2021


  • antidepressants
  • pregnant women
  • venlafaxine
  • women's health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Embryology
  • Toxicology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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