Antidepressant side effects may cause birth defects

Austin Kirk

By Austin Kirk
Posted November 3, 2006


An FDA public health advisory has been issued regarding the use of certain newer types of antidepressants by pregnant women.  Medications such as Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft, could increase the risk of a serious injury for the baby if taken after the 20th week of the pregnancy.
The medications which are included in this advisory are known as SSRI type antidepressants (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors).  Evidence indicates that use of these medications by pregnant women leads to a six times greater risk of the baby suffering from Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension in Newborns (PPHN). 

>>INFORMATION: Persistent pulmonary hypertension in newborns (PPHN)

PPHN is a serious respiratory disorder which could lead to serious complications and is potentially fatal.  Persistent pulmonary hypertension causes the blood vessels in the lungs to not open fully after birth.  As a result, the newborn is unable to get enough oxygen to the tissues and organs.  The condition is usually evident within a few days of delivery, with the baby becoming hypoxic because of abnormal blood flow to the heart and lungs.

Previously indications of problems surrounding the use of SSRIs during pregnancy were reported in August 2006 following a Canadian study.  The researchers conducting that study had expected to find that the use of these antidepressants during pregnancy would be beneficial by reducing the effects on the baby from maternal depression.  However, it was found that the use of Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft or other SSRI antidepressants during pregnancy increased the occurrence of respiratory distress, low birth weight and longer hospital stays for the babies.

>>INFORMATION: SSRI Antidepressant Side Effects

The FDA has requested that manufacturers of SSRIs add new warnings of the potential risk of PPHN to their prescription information.  Any women who are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant should consult with their physician before stopping the use of antidepressants.

The product liability lawyers of Saiontz & Kirk are currently reviewing the potential for antidepressant side effects lawsuits.  If your child or family member has been diagnosed with PPHN after the mother took an antidepressant during pregnancy, request a free consultation.

>>RELATED POSTS: (7/24/06) Combining antidepressants and migraine drugs
may lead to potentially fatal Serotonin Syndrome

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