The Injurious Link Between SSRI Antidepressants and Birth Defects

Published September 13, 2012 on Carey & Danis

The Injurious Link Between SSRI Antidepressants and Birth DefectsA grave conundrum is presented to women who suffer from depression during pregnancy. There are significant mental and physical health issues that must be considered in regards to medicating with a selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant such as Celexa, Lexapro, Luvox, Symbyax, Paxil, Zoloft, or Prozac while pregnant. Ending use of an SSRI antidepressant during pregnancy poses a risk to the mother’s mental health as well as to the unborn child, depending on when discontinuance of the medication occurs.

If an SSRI antidepressant was taken by the pregnant mother into the third trimester, it has been discovered that these antidepressant medications leach through the placental sack, thus exposing the unborn child to the drugs, often causing a chemical attachment resulting in withdrawal upon the child’s birth or the mother’s sudden termination of SSRI use.Signs of withdrawal in the newborn child are irritable mood, breathing complications, trembling, feeding problems, and hypoglycemia.

In recognition of these withdrawal symptoms in newborn children, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2004 released a warning in regards to the use of SSRI antidepressants by pregnant women in their third trimester. In their statement, the FDA made the recommendation that pregnant women medicating with an SSRI antidepressant be placed on a schedule which over time would gradually lower their dosage of an antidepressant.

Though this FDA warning and recommendation was targeted at the prevention of withdrawal symptoms in the newborn child, such near termination of SSRI antidepressant use by the pregnant mother was seen to cause serious mental health issues including a severe episode of postpartum depression. Drug withdrawal is not the only source of suffering inflicted on an unborn child exposed to SSRI antidepressants.

Epidemiology magazine examined in their May 2012 issue a recent study on the health of pregnant mothers using SSRI antidepressants. The study found that there is a significant link between the use of an SSRI antidepressant and pre-term delivery. In this specific study led by the Yale School of Public Health, the SSRI under examination was Paxil. Use of Paxil and other SSRI antidepressants while pregnant have also been linked to a number of other birth defects that cause an undue amount of suffering for a newborn child. These SSRI-linked birth defects include Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN), omphalocele, craniosynostosis, atrial septal defects, and ventricular septal defects.

If an SSRI antidepressant was used during pregnancy and a newborn child suffered from a birth defect, compensation for such unfair suffering is due. Contact a knowledgeable pharmaceutical product liability litigation attorney at Carey Danis & Lowe for more information about filing a lawsuit against the manufacturers of Celexa, Lexapro, Luvox, Symbyax, Paxil, Zoloft, or Prozac.