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American Journal of Psychiatry Illustrates Danger of Antidepressant Use during Pregnancy

Posted in Misc. Drugs, Paxil Birth Defects, Prozac Birth Defects, Zoloft Birth Defects

A study published in 2002 in the American Journal of Psychiatry by Dr. Gregory E. Simon, et al. goes great lengths to elucidate the danger of maternal use of antidepressant drugs during pregnancy.  In this study, Simon gathered data from the Group Health Corporation, “a prepaid health plan serving approximately 400,000 members in Washington State.”[1]

Reviewing several hundred children born to mothers who used SSRIs during pregnancy and comparing the health of those children to the health of children whose mothers had not used SSRIs during pregnancy, Simon found that the risk of low birth weight for infants whose mothers used SSRIs was more than twice that of newborns in the general population.[2]  And, even more shockingly, risk of premature birth for babies born to mothers who had used such antidepressants was more than four times that of babies in the general population.[3]

Simon summarizes the findings of his team, stating “We found an association between SSRI exposure and lower gestational age with a consequent effect on birth weight.  For both measures, significant differences were seen in the SSRI group    but not in the tricyclic antidepressant group, suggesting a specific effect of SSRI exposure rather than a confounding effect of maternal depression.”[4]  If low birth weight and lower gestational age were simply consequences of maternal depression during pregnancy, we would expect that infants born to mother who used tricyclic antidepressants would exhibit the same risk for congenital complication as did infants born to mothers who used SSRIs.  This, however, was not the case, and thus SSRIs alone are implicated in playing a causal role in premature birth and low birth weight.

Concluding, Dr. Simon warns that mothers should exercise caution if using any antidepressant drugs during pregnancy, especially SSRIs.  Examples of SSRIs associated with birth defects are Paxil®, Prozac®, Zoloft®, Celexa®, and others.  Because the risks these drugs pose to developing infants are not included on the warning labels for these drugs, and have thus caused injury to thousands of infants around the world, Zoloft® lawsuits and Paxil® lawsuits (among others) are currently being filed.

If you believe your child was injured by Zoloft® or Paxil® side-effects, please do not hesitate to contact our law firm by phone at (855) 452-5529 or by e-mail at justinian@dangerousdrugs.us for a free, no obligation consultation.  Our team of Zoloft® lawyers and Paxil® attorneys have the experience, resources, and skill required to bring even the largest pharmaceutical manufactures to justice and secure the compensation you and your loved ones deserve.


[1] Simon, G.E., et al. (2002) “Outcomes of Prenatal Antidepressant Exposure” American Journal of Psychiatry Vol. 159; p. 2056

[2] Simon, G.E., et al. (2002) “Outcomes of Prenatal Antidepressant Exposure” American Journal of Psychiatry Vol. 159; p. 2057

[3] Ibid.

[4] Simon, G.E., et al. (2002) “Outcomes of Prenatal Antidepressant Exposure” American Journal of Psychiatry Vol. 159; p. 2060