SSRI Antidepressant Use During Pregnancy May Impact Fetal Growth

California SSRI Birth Defects Attorney
A new study examines the impact of SSRI antidepressants on unborn fetuses.

A new research study suggests that SSRI antidepressants, such as Celexa and Paxil, may slow fetal development in women who take one of these drugs while pregnant.

The study, published in the March edition of the Archives of General Psychiatry, looked at patient data for 7,696 pregnant women, the majority of whom were between 27 and 30 years of age. Approximately 669 women involved in the study exhibited signs of depression and 99 of them took a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) to treat their symptoms. The other 570 women who were diagnosed with depression did not take any type of antidepressant.

All of the women involved in the study underwent regular sonogram screenings to measure the growth and development of the fetus, including the size of the baby’s head and its weight. Among the women suffering from depression, researchers found that the women who used an SSRI experienced fewer symptoms during the course of their pregnancy. However, the fetuses who were exposed to an antidepressant grew at a slower rate compared to the women who did not take the drugs. The women who used an SSRI were also at a higher risk for experiencing preterm birth.

The researchers concluded that the use of SSRI antidepressants among pregnant women needed to be studied further in order to determine the full impact these drugs may have unborn children. Other research studies have linked some of these drugs to serious birth defects, including cleft lip or cleft palate.  In 2005, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an updated safety communication advising pregnant women to avoid using Paxil after research studies indicated that the drug could potentially cause serious heart deformities. The risk was thought to be particularly among women who used the drug within the first three months of pregnancy.

In 2006, the FDA warned that the SSRI antidepressant Zoloft could potentially contribute to the development of a condition known as persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN) among newborns whose mothers took the drug while pregnant. Persistent pulmonary hypertension is a condition which causes high blood pressure in the lungs and makes it more difficult for the newborn’s heart to pump blood throughout the body. PPHN is fatal in approximately 10 to 20% of all cases. Zoloft has also been linked to other serious birth defects, including neural tube defects, deformities of the limbs and heart defects.

Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant are strongly encouraged to speak with their doctor regarding the potential risks of using SSRI antidepressants during pregnancy. If you or a loved one gave birth to a child with a serious defect after using Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa or another antidepressant during pregnancy, you need to be aware of your legal rights. A number of parents have filed personal injury lawsuits against the makers of these drugs on behalf of children who were negatively impacted by an SSRI antidepressant. Speaking with an experienced SSRI birth defect attorney can help you to determine whether you’re also eligible to file a claim.

Nadrich & Cohen, LLP is currently investigating SSRI birth defects claims in all 50 states. For more information on filing a lawsuit in connection with Paxil, Zoloft or another antidepressant, call 1-800-718-4658 to begin your free initial case evaluation. There is never a fee unless damages are recovered on your behalf.


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