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Antidepressants / SSRIs Can Cause Birth Defects Or Congenital Malformations If Taken While Pregnant
Some popular antidepressant drugs like Celexa, Lexapro, Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft — which are prescription medications are in the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, or SSRIs, class of drugs — can cause Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN), especially if used in the last 20 weeks of pregnancy.
The FDA, which has looked at this drug safety problem for some years, unfortunately has not reached any definitive conclusions and certainly has not taken the necessary actions to prevent future cases of birth defects caused by antidepressants / SSRIs like Celexa, Lexapro, Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft.
Likewise, the drug companies responsible for these widely used antidepressants have apparently not taken the obvious steps to heighten awareness of the SSRI – PPHN drug safety issue by getting Prozac, for example, moved to Pregnancy Category D (Prescription drugs which are known to impose health risks for the fetus).
A recent medical journal article discussed the extent to which some popular medications prescribed to treat depression in the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) class of drugs, when used by women during pregnancy, are associated with an increased autism risk in children.
The bottom line is that using SSRIs during the second or third trimester of pregnancy is associated with a heightened risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in children. This is according to a JAMA Pediatrics study which is the subject of this article, “Antidepressant Use During Pregnancy and the Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Children”, first published online in December 2015.
The SSRIs class of drugs includes the following:
Effexor (venlafaxine); and,
From the Abstract for the JAMA Pediatrics medical journal article about that study we get this additional information about its findings:
Importance The association between the use of antidepressants during gestation and the risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in children is still controversial. The etiology of ASD remains unclear, although studies have implicated genetic predispositions, environmental risk factors, and maternal depression.
Objective To examine the risk of ASD in children associated with antidepressant use during pregnancy according to trimester of exposure and taking into account maternal depression.
Conclusions and Relevance Use of antidepressants, specifically selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, during the second and/or third trimester increases the risk of ASD in children, even after considering maternal depression. Further research is needed to specifically assess the risk of ASD associated with antidepressant types and dosages during pregnancy.
We will continue to monitor the apparent link between the use of antidepressant drugs such as Zoloft, Wellbutrin, Prozac, Paxil, and Effexor by women during pregnancy with the new side effect of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in their children, and report significant developments here.
- Antidepressant-Related Birth Defect: Heart And Lung Disorder PPHN – Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension Of The Newborn
- Health Canada Issues Pregnancy Warning For Antidepressants
All content by attorney Tom Lamb