Wellbutrin is an antidepressant medicine manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline, and is prescribed to patients suffering from major depressive disorder, a type of depression. Wellbutrin is known generically as bupropion.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration currently categorizes Wellbutrin as a Pregnancy Category C drug, which indicates Wellbutrin’s capacity to severely harm an unborn child.
Wellbutrin birth defects include serious congenital heart defects. In a study published by the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology in July 2010, researchers found that in children born to mothers who used antidepressant drugs containing bupropion, such as Wellbutrin, the incidence of congenital heart defects nearly doubled.
The most common congenital heart defect linked to exposure in the womb to Wellbutrin is what is known as a left outflow tract heart defect.
A left outflow tract heart defect is most commonly seen in newborn children as a coarctation of the aorta. In this heart defect, the aorta is malformed and narrow, leaving a small passageway for blood flow, and thus forcing the heart to pump blood faster and more forcefully.
Breastfeeding mothers should also be aware that Wellbutrin has been known to pass through the breast milk to the feeding child. In this way, exposure to Wellbutrin may cause serious harm to nursing children. It is important to consult with a physician about breastfeeding and the use of Wellbutrin.
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The FDA has categorized Wellbutrin as a Pregnancy C drug meaning that an increased risk for congenital birth defects when taken during pregnancy cannot be ruled out.
Common Wellbutrin birth defects include but are not limited to:
FDA Approval: December 30, 1985 for major depression and seasonal affective disorder
Generic Availability: November 29, 1999
Pregnancy Risk: Category C