Long term spatial and egocentric learning and memory deficits and serotonin reductions were shown to be connected with the use of methylenedioxymethamphetamine. 5-HT is a neurotrophic factor that may influence neurogenesis, synaptogenesis, and target field- organization during brain development. The objective of a study done by the Division of Child Neurology, Department of Pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Research Foundation and University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in Cincinnati, OH, titled “Cognitive Impairments From Developmental Exposure to Serotonergic Drugs: Citalopram and MDMA” was to determine the harmful effects of such drugs on the developing fetus, and any long term effects they may possess. MDMA was given to rats during a period of development that approximates human third trimester brain development, was found to be associated with 50 percent reduction in 5-HT during treatment and 20 percent reductions with adults.
Author TL Schaefer from the above study states “To determine whether the 5-HT reduction is responsible for the cognitive deficits, we used citalopram (Cit) pretreatment to inhibit the effects of MDMA on 5-HT reuptake in a companion study. Cit attenuated MDMA-induced 5-HT reductions by 50% (Schaefer et al., 2012). Here we tested whether Cit (5 or 7.5 mg/kg × 2/d) pretreatment attenuates the cognitive effects of MDMA. Within each litter, different offspring were treated on PD11-20 with saline (Sal) + MDMA, Cit + MDMA, Cit + Sal or Sal + Sal.”
Celexa pretreatment did not improve spatial nor egocentric learning/memory. It was shown however, that Cit plus Sal did produce spatial and egocentric learning deficits as bad as those caused by Sal plus MDMA. Little data is available about selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and their harmful effects during developmental exposure. These findings shows that there is a connection between cognitive deficits from developmental exposure.
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