Using antidepressant known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, during pregnancy can increase the risk of various birth defects, whether the drugs are used early or late in pregnancy, according to two studies published in the past six months.
The first study, published in July 2011, was conducted by Finnish researchers who found that exposure to SSRIs in the first trimester of pregnancy increases the risk for major congenital anomalies, particularly heart problems.
The second study, published earlier this month in the British Medical Journal, revealed that women who used SSRIs were at risk of delivering a baby with a serious and life threatening lung defect known as persistent pulmonary hypertension, or PPHN. This type of high blood pressure in the lungs leads to shortness of breath and other breathing difficulties. PPHN carries a strong link to heart failure.
The study showed that when women used SSRIs late in pregnancy, the risk of having a baby with PPHN increased two-fold compared to women who did not use SSRIs.
PPHN in babies is a very serious disease and one that can be prevented if these drugs are avoided. Yet, drug companies are quick to nay-say data from these studies that clearly show a risk to the developing fetus. Women who use SSRIs who are of childbearing age, or who are thinking of becoming pregnant, should discus the risks of taking SSRIs with their doctors.
SSRIs include the brand name drugs Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft and Celexa.
Source: Bio Hormone Health