Back in 2006, there was still relatively little information about the fetus-damaging capabilities of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). The objective of a study published that year by a team from the Department of Clinical Epidemiology at Aarhus University Hospital, in Aarhus, Denmark, titled “Maternal Use of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors and Risk of Congenital Malformations”, was to determine the connection between congenital malformations in offspring who were exposed to SSRIs use during early pregnancy.
The study was cohort, population-based study, the test subjects of which were all from Denmark. In all, 1051 women who were prescribed SSRIs 30 days before conception to the end of the first trimester, and 453 women who took an SSRI during the second or third pregnancy month were included in this study. The control group for this study was 150,780 women who had no use of SSRIs during or before their pregnancies. Hospital discharge registries and the National Birth Registry were used to collect information on congenital malformations and potential confounders. Medication can affect each individual differently, exploring possible genetic factors that may alter results is important to have a clear understanding of the results and accurate data.
About 3.5 percent of the children born with congenital malformations were from mothers with no SSRI prescriptions. Nearly 5% of the children born with congenital malformations were from mothers who had an SSRI prescription any time during early pregnancy. Author P. Wogelius from the above article states “The corresponding adjusted relative risk (aRRs) was 1.34 (95% confidence interval = 1.00-1.79). The 453 women with prescriptions during the second or third month of pregnancy gave birth to 31 (6.8%) children with congenital malformations. The corresponding aRR was 1.84 (1.25-2.71).” The difference in incidence percentage between the two groups was 1.5 percent, meaning that the study found an increased risk of congenital malformations after exposure to SSRIs in early pregnancy.
Though these statistical analyses are complicated, one does not need to understand the math to understand what the numbers tell us: SSRI use during pregnancy raises the chance a baby will be born with a birth defect. Birth defects associated with SSRIs range in type, but are often very serious, and birth defects most strongly associated with SSRIs are of the heart and spinal cord.
For more information about SSRIs and SSRI birth defects, please do not hesitate to contact our team of SSRI birth defects lawyers at the information provided below, for you may be entitled to significant financial compensation for injury caused to your family.