New Study Links Zoloft, Paxil, Other SSRIs to Pulmonary Hypertension in Newborns
A new study published in The British Medical Journal suggests that women who take SSRI antidepressants during pregnancy are much more likely to give birth to babies who suffer from pulmonary hypertension.
According to ABC News, the new study claims that women who use Paxil, Zoloft and similar antidepressants while pregnant are potentially twice as likely to have a child diagnosed with persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPH). PPH is a serious condition that causes high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs. Newborns affected with PPH may have difficulty breathing and experience weakening of the heart or heart failure.
This latest research study, conducted by scientists in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland and Denmark, looked at 1.6 million births that occurred in those countries between 1996 and 2007. Approximately 11,000 of the mothers in the study filled out a prescription for SSRI antidepressants in late pregnancy and another 17,000 did so in early pregnancy.
Of the 11,014 mothers who used antidepressants in late pregnancy, 33 gave birth to babies with PPH. Of the 17,053 women who used SSRIs in early pregnancy, 32 babies were born with the disease.
The American Academy of Pediatrics estimates that 1 out of every 1000 babies born will develop pulmonary hypertension. While the disease is considered to be rare, the researchers who conducted the study are advising women to consult their physician before taking a serotonin-specific reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) to treat depression if they are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
In July 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration first issued a warning about the potential link between SSRI antidepressants and pulmonary hypertension in newborns. The warning was based on a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine that suggested pulmonary hypertension was six times greater among babies whose mothers took antidepressants after their second trimester.
In December 2011, the FDA revised its earlier warning, citing a lack of credible research in this area. The agency advised physicians to continue using SSRI antidepressants to treat depression in pregnant patients.
In addition to PPH, certain antidepressants, such as Zoloft, have also been linked to other serious birth defects. Pfizer, the maker of Zoloft, currently faces several lawsuit from women who claim the drug caused their children to be born with serious complications, including severe heart damage.
If you or a loved one used Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, Lexapro or another SSRI antidepressant while pregnant and your child was born with serious birth defects, you may consider contacting an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your legal rights. The SSRI birth defects injury team at Nadrich & Cohen LLP is available to assist claims from victims in all 50 states and we are eager to hear from you.
Call our Injury Hotline at 1-800-722-0765 to schedule your no-cost, no-obligation initial case evaluation. Remember, we are a contingency firm, meaning there is never a fee unless we recover monetary compensation on your behalf.