Effexor And Birth Defects
Taking Venlafaxine (Effexor) while pregnant could be harmful to your unborn child. Effexor, first introduced by Wyeth in 1993, has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) even though recent studies have caused concern about the possibility of serious side effects from using the drug, including birth defects.
Effexor is a serotonin norephinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) that is now being marketed by Pfizer. Effexor is licensed for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) and certain Anxiety Disorders. Like similar antidepressants, it is used for treating major depression and other mood disorders.
Where Effexor differs from other antidepressants is that the Venlafaxine works by increasing the levels of two neurotransmitters in the brain, serotonin and norepinephrine. Effexor is listed by the FDA as Pregnancy Category C, this means that studies involving animals indicate a serious risk to the fetus.
Stop Venlafaxine Use During Pregnancy
It also means that human studies have not indicated whether the risk involved in stopping the Venlafaxine is greater than the risk of birth defects. The birth defects that can occur from using Effexor during pregnancy are so severe it would be almost inconceivable that a mother would choose to remain on the drug, if given the choice.
Because both SSRIs and SNRIs affect serotonin levels, they are subject to producing similar side effects. A study conducted in 2003 found that children of mothers who take Venlafaxine in the first trimester of pregnancy run a substantial risk of giving birth to babies with heart and lung defects or Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN).
Effexor Can Cause PPHN
PPHN is a condition that inhibits blood flow to the lungs, resulting in oxygen deprived blood being returned to the heart. PPHN is known to cause shock, heart failure, seizures, organ damage and even death. Children born to mothers who took an SSRI during their pregnancy have an increased risk of being born with Craniosynostosis.
Craniosynostosis is a condition in which one or more parts of an infant’s skull fuses prematurely, this results in restricted skull and brain growth. Another birth defect common to the use of SSRI is the abdominal birth defect called an omphalocele.
An omphalocele is a type of abdominal wall birth defect in which the intestines, liver, and other organs remain outside of the abdomen in a sac because of a defect in the development of the muscles of the abdominal wall.
Contact Personal Injury Lawyer
These are serious birth defects that can happen when you use Venlafaxine during your pregnancy. A woman using Effexor who becomes pregnant should immediately see her physician so that she may be removed from Effexor as quickly as possible (it may take time to withdraw from Effexor).
Any woman who is planning on becoming pregnant should first stop using Effexor and find a more tolerant alternative. If you or a loved one have suffered injuries due to the use of Effexor please contact a qualified personal injury lawyer today at The Law Offices of Nadrich & Cohen, we can help you.