According to a Reuters Health report this week, two antidepressants are being tied to a raised risk of birth defects. The article claims that researchers such as Dr. Heli Malm in Finland found that women taking Prozac and Paxil are more likely to have babies with birth defects.
Paxil and Prozac are a part of a group of antidepressants known as selective serotonin inhibitors. According to the report, these inhibitors are only to be taken during pregnancy if clearly indicated in the process.
The article claims that studies have linked these inhibitors like Paxil and Prozac to higher than average risk of certain birth defects. Also, it mentions a study in which some children found a higher risk of heart defects with pregnant mothers who used these inhibitors.
Reuters claims that just last year a study of nearly 13,000 infants in the U.S. led to results that tied inhibitors to a two times risk of heart defects, as compared with mothers who didn’t take the drugs. For nearly 10 years, Dr. Malm reviewed data from around 600,000 births from 1996 to 2006.
Reuters reports that the results of this study found that mothers who took Prozac during the early pregnancy stages were more likely to have babies with septal defects. This would affect a baby’s heart with a hole in both the right and left sides. It also claims that the research found that mothers who took Paxil or similar drugs ran the risk of having babies with a right ventricular tract defect. This means that a baby’s blood flow from the heart to the rest of the body would be altered.
The study also concluded that there is the possibility of a neural tube defect developing with the use of serotonin inhibitors as well. According to Reuters, mothers who use these inhibitors during pregnancy are more likely to have children who develop disorders such as alcoholism and other psychiatric issues.
A number of these serotonin inhibitors such as Paxil and Prozac, as well as industry leader Zoloft have been tied to side effects and numerous birth defects for a while now. These defects have sometimes been extremely severe and unable to correct themselves, while some may be able to. Among the more common types of defects related to serotonin inhibitors are cleft lip/palate and pulmonary hypertension, among others.
McCook, Allison. (June 24, 2011). “Some small risks to antidepressants in pregnancy.” Retrieved on June 24, 2011 from Reuters