Birth Defects Research Suggests SSRIs Linked to Autism
A new study of SSRI birth defects suggests that use of these types of antidepressants during pregnancy may impair fetal development and potentially trigger autism in certain cases.
The study, published in the November issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, looked at SSRI antidepressant use among a group of pregnant women in a Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program in Northern California which serves the geographical area from Santa Rosa to Bakersfield. Researchers found that the risk of a child developing an autism spectrum disorder doubled among women who used a SSRI at any point during the year prior to birth. The study further noted that the risk for impaired fetal development was greatest among children whose mothers had used a SSRI during the first trimester.
SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, regulate the chemicals in the brain which control moods. SSRIs are commonly used to treat symptoms of depression and anxiety. Some of the most well-known SSRIs include Lexapro, Celexa, Zoloft, Prozac and Paxil. It is believed that the effect of these drugs on the mother’s brain chemical composition may be shared by the fetus and impede crucial brain development.
In another study published last month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, researchers tested the effects of SSRIs on rats and found an increased rate of brain abnormalities and behaviors that mirrored the symptoms of autism. The study compared behavior and responses in a test group of rats that were given the drug Celexa to a group of rats that received only a placebo. The group that was given Celexa showed deficient brain development and a marked lack of socialization. Researchers cautioned that while the study may indeed prove a link between SSRIs and autism, further study of human subjects is needed.
In addition to autism, SSRI drugs are also thought to cause additional serious birth defects in unborn children. Earlier this month, a Missouri coupled filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging that Zoloft caused the untimely death of their infant daughter in 2009. According to court records, the child’s mother, Paula Peska, was prescribed Zoloft while pregnant. When their daughter was born on October 27, 2009, she was diagnosed with numerous heart defects, including truncus arteriosus, ventricular septal defect, atrial septal defect, confluent branch pulmonary arteries and pulmonary valve atresia. Ms. Peska alleges that these defects stemmed directly from her Zoloft use and claims that Pfizer, the drug’s manufacturer, mislead women about the potential for serious birth defects. Zoloft is currently the most prescribed antidepressant in the U.S.
If you took a SSRI antidepressant while pregnant and your child was born with serious birth defects or shows symptoms of autism, you too may have grounds for a personal injury claim. The law firm of Nadrich & Cohen is investigating claims from women across the country whose children have been adversely affected by SSRIs.
Call our Injury Hotline today at 1-800-722-0765 to speak with one of our SSRI Birth Defects Attorneys. We are experienced in helping victims of harmful prescription drugs get the compensation they’re entitled to for their medical bills, pain and suffering and lost wages. Call today to get the legal representation you need for your SSRI birth defects lawsuit.