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2006 – Children Suffer SSRI Withdrawal Symptoms After Birth

Posted in Paxil Birth Defects, SSRI Birth Defects

In 2006, a study published in the Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine by Dr. Rachel Levinston-Castiel et al aimed to evaluate whether or not children exposed to selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) antidepressants before birth would exhibit symptoms of neonatal abstinence syndrome, a condition had by infants that became addicted to drugs or medications used by mothers before birth.  SSRI antidepressants evaluated in this study included Paxil®, Prozac®, Celexa®, Zoloft®, and Effexor®, the most popular of SSRI drugs used today.[1]

Data for this study was gathered from 120 infants, half of whom were exposed to one of these SSRIs during pregnancy.[2]  Of the 60 infants exposed to SSRIs, about one third of them exhibited symptoms of neonatal abstinence syndrome, compared with none of the infants who were not exposed to SSRIs.[3]  The main symptoms exhibited by infants suffering from neonatal abstinence syndrome were tremor, gastrointestinal disturbance, high-pitched cry, sleep disturbance, hypertonicity or myoclonus, and tachypnea.[4]  Thankfully, in only 13% of these children,[5] “symptoms are severe enough to meet the definition of a severe NAS”[6] (Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome).

PubMed Health, a prominent online medical encyclopedia provided by the United States National Library of Medicine and The National Institutes of Health, states that complications of NAS may include:

This encyclopedia also states that “neonatal abstinence syndrome can last from 1 week to 6 months.”[8]

Though the study groups of infants born to mothers who used Prozac®, Celexa®, Zoloft®, and Effexor® were too small for statistical significance, the study group of infants whose mothers used Paxil® was large enough to yield results with high statistical significance.[9]  Mothers who used Paxil® and caused neonatal abstinence syndrome with mild symptoms used an average of 23mg daily.[10]  If mothers used 27mg daily, symptoms of neonatal abstinence syndrome were severe.[11]

Illustrating how important specific levels of serotonin are for a developing fetus, Levinson-Castiel et al (2006) found that if mothers used 19mg of Paxil® or less each day, children had no symptoms of neonatal abstinence syndrome.[12]

Because this research was published in such a prominent medical journal as the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, we have reason to believe that the manufacturers of Paxil® knew, or should have known, of these risks since at least 2006.  And as no change to the warning label was made, this information may be used in a Paxil lawsuit.

If your child was born with neonatal abstinence syndrome and you used Paxil® or another SSRI during pregnancy, you and your family may be entitled to financial compensation for injuries sustained to your child, and our team of Paxil® birth defect lawyers is here to help.  We have the experience, resources, and skills to go up against the largest pharmaceutical and win the justice you and your loved ones deserve.

At your convenience you may contact us at (855) 452-5529 or by e-mail at justinian@dangerousdrugs.us

Our SSRI Birth Defects Lawsuit Information page is a great place to start if you have any questions about SSRIs and Birth Defects.


[1] Levinson-Castiel, R., et al. (2006) “Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome After In Utero Exposure to Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors in Term Infants” Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med Vol. 160, Feb 2006. pp. 173-176

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] “Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome – PubMed Health” PubMed Health. U.S. National Library of Medicine. National Institutes of Health. © 2012 A.D.A.M., Inc. Available at <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0004566/> Accessed 11 February 2013

[8] Ibid.

[9] Levinson-Castiel, R., et al. (2006) “Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome After In Utero Exposure to Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors in Term Infants” Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med Vol. 160, Feb 2006. pp. 173-176

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.