SSRIs can lead to birth defects when taken during pregnancy

While pregnant, women take many safety precautions to protect the health of their baby. Pregnant women refrain from consuming alcohol, avoid certain foods and often stop taking medications that may pose a risk to the developing child. Unfortunately, when drug manufacturers fail to inform doctors and patients about potential risks and side effects, long-term damage may result.

A recent study, published in Human Reproduction, revealed that certain anti-depressants may cause birth defects when taken by pregnant women. The study specifically examined the effect of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, also referred to as SSRIs. Some common SSRIs include:

  • Prozac
  • Paxil
  • Celexa
  • Zoloft
  • Lexapro

The researchers discovered that women who took SSRIs during their pregnancy had an increased risk of delivering preterm or having a miscarriage. In addition, SSRI usage led to a higher likelihood that the child would be born with birth defects. Some of the birth defects frequently linked to SSRI intake include:

Unfortunately, some women were encouraged to continue taking anti-depressants throughout their pregnancy because depression was also thought to lead to complications. According to the chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at MetroWest Medical Center, a large number of studies have shown that those who take SSRIs while pregnant have "high rates of preterm birth."

One of the study's authors recommended that continuing antidepressant use might be the best option for certain women who suffer from severe depression. For others, though, the study's author suggested cognitive behavioral therapy could be just as helpful - while not as risky - during the pregnancy.

According to a report issued by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Psychiatric Association, approximately 14 to 23 percent of women suffer from a depressive episode while they are pregnant. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that women are 2.5 times more likely to take antidepressants than men, it is particularly important for women to have accurate information about the potential effects antidepressants can have when taken during a pregnancy.

Talk to a personal injury attorney about birth defects caused by SSRIs

Drug manufacturers can be held liable for harm caused by their products. If your child suffered birth defects because of SSRI usage during pregnancy, you may be entitled to compensation for the harm caused. Seeking the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney will ensure your rights are protected.