Anencephaly is a terrible congenital malformation (present at birth) characterized by the lack of development or absence of a large part of the brain or skull.  Sadly, babies with anencephaly most often die within the first hours or days of life.

A type of neural tube defect, PubMed Health – a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine – explains anencephaly as follows: “Anencephaly occurs early in the development of an unborn baby. It results when the upper part of the neural tube fails to close. Why this happens is not known. Possible causes include environmental toxins and low intake of folic acid by the mother during pregnancy.

Anencephaly occurs in about 1 out of 10,000 births. The exact number is unknown, because many of these pregnancies result in miscarriage. Having one infant with this condition increases the risk of having another child with neural tube defects.”[1]

Symptoms of anencephaly include “Absence of the skull, absence of the brain (cerebral hemispheres and cerebellum), facial feature abnormalities, [and] heart defects.”[2]  Unfortunately, there is no known cure or treatment for anencephaly.[3]


Anencephaly Linked to Maternal SSRI Use

Recently, a study published by Heli Malm et al in Obstetrics and Gynecology has demonstrated that babies born to mothers who had used SSRIs during pregnancy (especially Celexa® — citalopram) were 2.46 times as likely to be born with neural tube defects such as anencephaly, spina bifida, and encephalocele.[4]

While other studies confirming these findings will likely soon be published, a connection between SSRI use an anencephaly stark as this may be used in a SSRI birth defect lawsuit to help provide convincing evidence that the manufacturer of Celexa® and other SSRIs knew, or should have known of the dangers of one of its products, and failed to make the appropriate warnings.

If you used Celexa during pregnancy and your child was born with anencephaly or another congenital malformation, please do not hesitate to contact our team of Celexa birth defects lawyers for a free, no-obligation case consultation.  At your convenience, you may reach us by phone at (855) 452-5529 or by e-mail at

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

[1] “Anencephaly – PubMed Health” PubMed Health. U.S. National Library of Medicine. © 2012 A.D.A.M., Inc. Available at <> Accessed 5 February 2013

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Malm, H., et al. (2011) “Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors and Risk for Major Congenital Anomalies” Obstet Gynecol Vol. 118, No. 1; p. 111-120