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SSRIs & Birth Defects

SSRI Drugs Linked to Birth Defects

According to a study published in Reproductive Toxicology in 2006, SSRI use by pregnant mothers is associated with an increased rate of miscarriages, birth defects, persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (breathing and lung function problems), heart problems, newborn behavioral syndrome, and the possibility of long-term behavioral problems.

Another study on SSRIs and birth defects, published in Prescrire International, found that “between 20% and 30% of newborns exposed to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressants (SSRIs) towards the end of gestation have disorders such as agitation, abnormal muscle tone and suction, seizures and hyponatraemia.”

While doctors are still advising and prescribing antidepressants to many of their patients, these study findings have spurred a major increase in birth defect and antidepressant lawsuits.

WHAT ARE SSRIS?

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a class of antidepressant drugs, are among the most commonly prescribed drugs in the United States. In fact when the United States Food and Drug Administration released the antidepressant Prozac in 1998, it was the most widely prescribed antidepressant on the market.

According to DrugWatch.com, SSRIs work by increasing serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin, a brain chemical which plays a key role in mood, is produced naturally by the body. SSRIs work by increasing the level of serotonin by blocking (inhibiting) the re-absorption (reuptake) of serotonin into the presynaptic cell.

LIST OF SSRI ANTIDEPRESSANT DRUGS

Examples of SSRIs include:

BIRTH DEFECTS LINKED TO SSRIS AND OTHER ANTIDEPRESSANTS
  • Limb defects
  • Cleft Lip and Palate
  • Anal Abresia (complete or partial closure of the anus)
  • Heart Defects
  • PPHN (Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn)
  • Clubfoot (one or both feet turn downward and inward)
  • Craniosynostosis (skull defects)
  • Neural-tube defects
  • Infant omphalocele (abdominal wall defects)

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