Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are compounds used as antidepressants.  They are used in the treatment of anxiety disorders, depression, and some personality disorders.  SSRIs are psychotropic drugs discovered through a process the medical world calls rational drug design.  The basics of rational drug design are finding molecules that affect specific biological targets.    Psychotropic drugs are medicines that alter chemical levels in the brain which impact mood and behavior.  40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older suffer from anxiety disorders, leading these disorders to be the most common mental illness in the U.S.  The objective of a prospective, multicenter controlled study done by the The Motherisk Program at The Hospital for Sick Children, and the University of Toronto, in Ontario, Canada, titled “Pregnancy Outcome Following Maternal Use of the New Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors:  A Prospective controlled Multicenter Study”, was to determine the harmful effects of Fluvoxamine, Paroxetine, and Sertraline on a developing fetus.  Information for this study was gathered from 9 teratology information service centers in Canada and the United States.

The participants were counseled during pregnancy following exposure to an SSRI, and the controls were selected from women counseled after exposure to nonteratogenic medications.   267 women were exposed to an SSRI and 267 women were used as the control group.  The study found that SSRI exposure was not associated with an increased risk for major malformations.  The relative risk was found to be only found be around 1.4 percent.

Kulin, from the above study states “The new SSRIs, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, and sertraline, do not appear to increase the teratogenic risk when used in their recommended doses.”  A large number of women use new selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors yet there is very little data on the safety of these medications and the harmful impact they may have on the human fetus.  All medications affect the body in different ways for each individual.  Prepregnancy counseling and screening can decrease the risks for complications during pregnancy.

Studies like this can be used in a Paxil (paroxetine) birth defects lawsuit, for example, to demonstrate to a court that the manufacturers of Paxil and other SSRIs knew or should have known the risks associated with their products.  If you or a loved one used Paxil or another SSRI during pregnancy and your child was born with a birth defect, do not hesitate to contact our team of Paxil® birth defects lawyers for a free, no-obligation case consultation at the information provided below.

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