Taking Antidepressants During Pregnancy May Lead to Birth Defects
Antidepressants are the first line of treatment for most types of depression. They can help relieve your symptoms and keep you feeling your best — but there’s more to the story when you’re pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant. Here’s what you need to know about antidepressants and pregnancy.
Since September 2005, information has been emerging that certain antidepressants may cause birth defects. Selective Seratonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) have been linked to a variety of severe birth defects including Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension (PPHN), heart, lung, abdominal and cranial defects. Commonly prescribed SSRIs include those drugs listed below and more.
Celexa manufactured by Forest Labs (generic form is citalopram)
Paxil manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline (generic form is paroxetine)
Lexapro manufactured by Forest Labs (generic form is escitalopram)
Prozac manufactured by Eli Lilly (generic form is fluoxetine)
Zoloft manufactured by Pfizer (generic form is sertraline)
Mothers who have taken antidepressants during their pregnancy because they thought it was safe have given birth to babies with birth defects ranging from cleft lip to life-threatening congenital heart defects and, in some cases, the babies have been required to get full heart transplants.
The Mayo Clinic reports the following risks: Celexa has been associated with a rare but serious newborn lung problem (persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn, or PPHN) when taken during the last half of pregnancy; has been associated with septal heart defects; has been associated with a birth defect that affects the brain and skull (anencephaly), a birth defect that affect sutures on the head (craniosynostosis) and a birth defect that affects the abdominal organs (omphalocele).
Prozac and Sarafem have been associated with fetal heart defects when taken during the first three months of pregnancy; has been associated with PPHN when taken during the last half of pregnancy; has been associated with anencephaly, craniosynostosis and omphalocele.
Paxil has been associated with fetal heart defects when taken during the first three months of pregnancy; has been associated with PPHN when taken during the last half of pregnancy; has been associated with anencephaly, craniosynostosis and omphalocele. Zoloft has been associated with PPHN when taken during the last half of pregnancy; has been associated with septal heart defects; has been associated with omphalocele.
At present there is limited information on the use of antidepressants during pregnancy. Given that the prevalence of major depressive disorders in women of reproductive age is thought to be 10-15%, it is possible that large numbers of pregnant women are taking these medications. The most commonly prescribed antidepressants included sertraline, paroxetine and fluoxetine.
Potential side effects have been reported to occur when the drug is taken as early as the first trimester, a time when many women do not even realize they are pregnant.
Although nothing can be done to reverse a serious birth defect, our laws provide that victims of birth defects caused by these drugs must be compensated. The goal of a lawsuit is to seek financial compensation for birth defects and related injuries, medical expenses associated with injury treatment, and the pain and suffering sustained by you and your family. Additionally, defective drug lawsuits bring public attention to the importance of safer medications and potentially dangerous drugs that may still be on the market.
If you or your loved one has taken these drugs during pregnancy and experienced the tragedy of birth defects, we are here to help. The law firm of Pope, McGlamry, Kilpatrick, Morrison & Norwood, P.C. has assembled a team of lawyers that have extensive experience with dangerous drug claims. We work hard to obtain justice for birth defect victims and their families.
Disclaimer: All uses of the Zoloft, Celexa, Paxil, Lexapro, and Prozac marks are for informational and product identification purposes only. This post should not be taken as either medical or legal advice, but instead should act as a resource in providing general information that may be useful to the general public. Pope, McGlamry, Kilpatrick, Morrison & Norwood, P.C. is not affiliated with the drug manufacturer Pfizer, Forest Labsmark, GlaxoSmithKline, Eli Lilly or their distributors.