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WebMD – Mothers Who Switch SSRIs During Pregnancy Place Newborns at Risk of Heart Defects

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

It has been recently found that babies of mothers who filled prescriptions for more than one SSRI during pregnancy were four times as likely to be born with septal heart defects as were other babies born to mothers who did not use SSRIs during pregnancy.  If uncorrected, this birth defect, characterized by a malformation of the wall that divides the left and right portions of the heart, can result in a lack of oxygen in the blood, possibly leading to poor brain growth or development in the newborn.

While the overall risk for this ailment in newborns remains low – about 0.5%,[1] an four-fold increase in the rate of septal heart defects is a very serious, avoidable issue.  Examples of SSRIs that may place newborns at risk for this are Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, and Lexapro.

The website WebMD comments:

“In 2005, based on the research at the time, the FDA singled out the drug Paxil, warning that its use was associated with an increased risk for heart defect.

It has since become common practice for doctors to switch women taking Paxil to another SSRI when they become pregnant or are considering pregnancy.

But more recent studies suggest that women who take Paxil have no greater risk for delivering babies with the heart defect than women who take other antidepressants.

In the Danish study, use of Celexa and Zoloft early in pregnancy was associated with a small increased risk for the heart defect…”[2]

If your child or a loved one’s child was born with a septal heart defect or another SSRI birth defect, you may be entitled to monetary compensation by means of an SSRI side-effect lawsuit.  For a free consultation, please contact Justinian Lane at (855) 452-5529 or by e-mail at justinian@dangerousdrugs.us.  Our compassionate team members have the skills and resources required to secure the justice your family deserves.


[1] Brooks, Megan. “More Evidence SSRIs in Pregnancy Boost Birth Defect Risk” June 28, 2011 Medscape © 2011 WebMD, LLC. Available at <http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/745430> Accessed 21 January 2013

[2] Boyles, Salynn. “Antidepressants Linked to Birth Defect” Sept. 24, 2009. Reviewed by Louise Change, M.D. © 2009 WebMD, LLC.  Available at <http://www.webmd.com/baby/news/20090924/antidepressants-linked-to-birth-defect> Accessed 21 January 2013