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New Study Links Certain Antidepressants with Birth Defects

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a new study confirming a link between certain antidepressants and birth defects. The CDC findings published in the BMJ found connections between various birth defects and the antidepressants- Prozac (fluoxetine) and Paxil (paroxetine). These drugs are from the most common class of antidepressants, known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

The study included 17,952 mothers of children born with birth defects and 9,857 mothers of children without birth defects born between 1997 and 2009 at 10 centers. 1,285 participants reported taking SSRIs during one month before conception through the first trimester of pregnancy. In the first trimester (first 13 weeks of pregnancy), fetal development is highly susceptible to teratogenic effects from medicinal, toxic or environmental exposure.

In 2005, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that Paxil (paroxetine) increased the risk for birth defects, especially heart defects. The new CDC analysis provides evidence specific SSRIs are riskier than others. The researchers wrote.”…Inconsistent reports have limited opportunities for clinicians to carefully evaluate the risk compared with benefit of specific SSRIs for given patients during pregnancy.” Researchers found two SSRIs-Paxil and Prozac- particularly concerning. Paxil use during pregnancy resulted in births with a higher incidence of anencephaly, baby is born without parts of the brain and skull, as well as heart and abdominal wall defects. Prozac was associated with increased occurrence of heart defects and craniosyntosis, a condition affecting one or more of the joints in a baby’s skull.

 

 

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