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Zoloft, Paxil, other SSRIs May Cause Birth Defects

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

A 2006 study from Denmark, published in the medical journal Epidemiology, has evaluated the risk for birth defects and other neonatal complications that results from maternal use of SSRI drugs during pregnancy.  “SSRI” stands for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor and represents a new class of antidepressant drugs that change levels of serotonin in the brain.  Serotonin plays an important role in mood, appetite, and sleep regulation, but it has also recently been found that serotonin plays an important role in fetal development.  In the last ten to fifteen years, a great deal of research has come out linking maternal SSRI use in pregnancy and birth defects, and this study from Denmark aimed to further evaluate that risk.

In their paper titled “Maternal Use of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors and Risk of Congenital Malformation,” the Wogelius et al team studied 1051 women who used SSRI drugs during the first trimester of pregnancy, 453 who used SSRIs during the remaining trimesters, and compared the health of children born to these women to children born to 150,780 women who did not use SSRIs during pregnancy.

Of the children born to the 150,780 women who did not use SSRIs during pregnancy, 3.4% had children with birth defects, compared with 4.9% of children whose mothers used SSRIs during the first trimester of pregnancy, and 6.8% of children whose mothers used SSRIs during the last two trimesters of pregnancy.[1]

The congenital malformations that were associated with maternal SSRI use during pregnancy ranged in type, but could be grouped generally into three main kinds: 29% cardiovascular, 31% muscle and bone defects, and 14% were defects related to digestive organs.[2]

As this study was a prospective study aimed at evaluating correlations between increased rates of birth defects and maternal SSRI use, it does not provide us with biochemical proof of how SSRIs cause these birth defects.  Nonetheless, this study goes great length to demonstrate a strong connection between birth defects and SSRI use during pregnancy, and as such, this article may be used in a SSRI birth defect lawsuit to illustrate to a court that pharmaceutical companies knew, or should have known, of the increased risk for birth defects posed by the use of their products.

If you or a loved one used an SSRI during pregnancy and your child was born with a congenital malformation, you may be entitled to compensation from pharmaceutical companies for undue injury to your child caused by SSRI drugs.  At your convenience, you may contact our team of qualified, experienced SSRI birth defect lawyers at (855) 452-5529 or by e-mail at justinian@dangerousdrugs.us for a free, no obligation case consultation.

We have the resources and knowledge required to defend your family against the largest pharmaceutical companies, and we will be with you every step of the way.


[1] Wogelius, P. (2006) “Maternal Use of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors and Risk of Congenital Malformation” Epidemiology Vol. 17, No. 6; pp. 701-704

[2] Ibid.