U.K. Review Suggests Up to One-Third of Birth Defects May Be Attributed to Antidepressants, Other Prescription Drugs
A new review conducted by researchers in the U.K. suggests that up to one-third of all birth defects may be caused by SSRI antidepressants and certain other prescription medications.
The review, published in the most recent issue of the journal Obstetrician & Gynecologist, included data for women who used antidepressants and anti-seizure medications during pregnancy. According to the researchers, an estimated 1 in 250 women take medication for epilepsy during pregnancy while approximately 4 percent of women use antidepressants while pregnant. Of those women who use antidepressants during pregnancy, approximately 2.3 percent take selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs, such as Paxil, Celexa and Zoloft.
The researchers suggest that approximately 2 to 3 percent of all children are born with some type of abnormality and that approximately 1 percent of these or one-third of all birth defects total can be attributed directly to prescription drug use. The risk for birth defects and other complications increased if the women took more than one medication while pregnant. Specifically, the reviewers determined that SSRI use can cause lead to premature birth, feeding problems, endocrine and metabolic disorders and respiratory disorders, particularly if an SSRI is used in the later stages of pregnancy.
This latest review is just one of a number of research studies that have provided evidence suggesting a link between SSRI antidepressants and an increased risk of birth defects. Specifically, the studies have indicated that SSRI antidepressants such as Paxil and Zoloft may lead to an increased risk of serious complications, including heart defects, club foot, lip and palate defects and a condition known as persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). Additional research studies have suggested that SSRI use during pregnancy can cause the mother to experience high blood pressure and other complications as well as causing a delay in fetal growth and development.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued several safety communications advising patients and health care providers of the potential risk for complications associated with SSRI use during pregnancy. The FDA has also advised women who are taking SSRI antidepressants and who are pregnant or may become pregnant to talk with their doctor about the potential side effects of continuing or stopping their antidepressant use before doing so.
Numerous women across the country have filed lawsuits against the makers of Paxil, Zoloft and certain other SSRIs, alleging that these drugs caused their children to be born with serious and in some cases, fatal, birth defects. If you or a loved one believes that your child may have been harmed by an SSRI antidepressant taken during pregnancy, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. It’s important that you speak with an experienced SSRI birth defects attorney to protect your legal rights.
Nadrich & Cohen, LLP is currently investigating SSRI birth defects claims in all 50 states. For more information on filing a personal injury claim, call 1-800-718-4658 to begin your free initial case evaluation. There is never a fee unless damages are recovered on your behalf.