A new Canadian study suggests that SSRI antidepressants, such as Paxil and Zoloft, may be linked to an increased risk of pulmonary hypertension and other complications among women who use the drugs while pregnant.
Researchers at the Université de Montreal compared patient data for 1,216 women who developed pregnancy-induced high blood pressure with data for 12,160 matched controls.The study, published in the March 22nd issue of the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, found that 3.7 percent of the women who developed pulmonary hypertension had taken antidepressants compared with 2.5 percent of the women in the control group. Overall, the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) during pregnancy increased the risk of developing hypertension by up to 60%. The researchers also determined that the risk was greater for certain antidepressant drugs. For example, Paxil users were up to 80% more likely to develop high blood pressure compared to women who used other antidepressant medications.
Previous studies of antidepressant use during pregnancy have been primarily focused on the potential impact on fetuses who were exposed to SSRIs while in utero. Another study published last month in the Archives of General Psychiatry found that women who used SSRI antidepressants while pregnant were less likely to exhibit symptoms of depression but their babies were more likely to experience delayed fetal growth. Specifically, the study indicated that infants born to mothers who used SSRIs while pregnant were more likely to have a smaller head size, which has been linked to behavioral problems and slowed cognitive development.
Additional research studies have also linked several SSRIs, including Paxil and Zoloft, to numerous birth defects, including lip and palate defects, neural tube defects, club foot, limb defects, abdominal and bowel defects, serious heart defects and persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). PPHN is a life-threatening condition that involves a narrowing of the lung’s arteries. As the heart works harder to pump blood throughout the body, the heart muscle can become enlarged. Newborns affected with pulmonary hypertension may have difficulty breathing, develop congestive heart failure or suffer premature death as a result of this condition.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued numerous safety communications regarding these drugs warning of the possible risks to unborn children. The FDA has advised women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant to consult their doctor before beginning or ending a course of treatment involving SSRI antidepressants.
Numerous lawsuits have been filed against the makers of Zoloft, Paxil and other SSRI antidepressant drugs by the parents of children who were born with serious or life-threatening birth defects. If you or a loved one gave birth to a child with significant birth defects after using an SSRI antidepressant during pregnancy, you may be entitled to seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering associated with your child’s injury. Contacting an experienced SSRI birth defects attorney is the first step in protecting your legal rights.
Nadrich & Cohen, LLP is currently investigating Zoloft and Paxil birth defects claims in all 50 states. For more information on filing an SSRI birth defects lawsuit, call 1-800-718-4658 to begin your free initial case evaluation. There is never a fee unless damages are recovered on your behalf.