Prozac Causing Birth Defects
Prozac (fluoxetine) is a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) and it is used as an antidepressant to treat major depressive disorder (MDD), bulimia nervosa, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
Prozac works by increasing serotonin levels in the brain. This results in the regulation of mood, sleep and appetite. Prozac is one of the leading antidepressants in the world and has been prescribed to more than 54 million consumers worldwide.
Prozac Prescribed To 80,000 Pregnant Women
Unfortunately, many of the patients receiving these prescriptions are pregnant. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh, in May 2005, reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, that there at least 80,000 pregnant women in the U.S. who are being prescribed fluoxetine, and Prozac is the biggest seller.
Studies have shown that Prozac and similar SSRI type drugs produce serious side effects in pregnant women. These side effects include so called Prozac birth defects, including heart defects and Primary Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN) a serious lung disorder with no apparent cause.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a warning in 2006, warning that fluoxetine anti-depressants can cause serious and life threatening lung problems in newborns, born to mothers that took Prozac while they were pregnant.
Prozac Ingested In Breast Milk
The warning followed a study that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showing infants were six times more likely to develop PPHN after being exposed to Prozac while their mothers were pregnant. The study also showed that the risk of serious health problems increased greatly in infants who were exposed to Prozac during the second half of the pregnancy.
The study then warned that fluoxetine can be ingested by the infant through the breast milk. PPHN is a potentially devastating condition that occurs when the blood vessels in the lungs remain constricted this prevents oxygenation of the blood. The lack of oxygen in the bloodstream puts stress on the infant’s organs which then puts the infant at risk of suffering serious injuries.
Even with timely treatment at least 20 percent of newborns with PPHN will die. Symptoms of PPHN include rapid breathing and rapid heart rate, labored breathing, and bluish skin. Infants that do survive PPHN could still suffer from permanent problems including labored breathing, seizures, developmental disorders, and hearing loss.
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In 2005, a Danish study discovered that pregnant women who take SSRI antidepressants in early pregnancy may have a higher risk of giving birth to an infant with heart problems. In this study, infants exposed to SSRI antidepressants during their mother’s first three months of pregnancy had a 60 percent higher chance of developing heart problems when compared to infants whose mothers never took SSRI antidepressants.
Prozac should not be taken when you are pregnant or nursing a child. If you or a loved one have delivered a child with birth defects that you believe were caused by the use of the drug Prozac, please contact a qualified personal injury lawyer today at The Law Offices of Nadrich & Cohen, we can help you.