Studies have shown that women suffering from depression during pregnancy can put the child at risk of developing malformations.  As such, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are most commonly prescribed to the mother to avoid such complications.  Unfortunately, using these drugs during pregnancy may also put the child at risk of malformations.  To date, the research is still inconsistent in illustrating a causal link between pregnant women using SSRI’s and malformations of the child, but the association is clear.

One study analyzing the data on the effects of SSRI usage during pregnancy is titled “Increasing the risk of spontaneous abortion and major malformations in newborns following use of serotonin reuptake inhibitors during pregnancy: A systematic review and updated meta-analysis.”  The study was conducted by Nikfar et al. within the Department of Toxicology and Pharmacology Research Center of the Tehran University of Medical Sciences.  The authors’ stated goal of the study was to update their previous meta-analysis about the outcomes of pregnancies following usage of SSRIs.

Databases were searched from 1990 to 2012, in order to collect studies to include in this meta-analysis.  The studies investigated the outcomes of pregnancies following exposure to any “therapeutic dosage” of any SSRI including fluoxetine, paroxetine, citalopram, escitalopram, sertraline, and fluvoxamine.  The outcomes considered were spontaneous abortion, major malformations, cardiovascular malformations, and minor malformations.  The results of the meta-analysis revealed odds ratio values of 1.87 (95% CI: 1.5 to 2.33, P< 0.0001) for spontaneous abortion, 1.272 (95% CI: 1.098 to 1.474, P = 0.0014) for major malformations, 1.192 (95% CI: 0.39 to 3.644, P= 0.7578) for cardiovascular malformations, and 1.36 (95% CI: 0.61 to 3.04, P= 0.4498) for minor malformations.  After considering the data, the authors stated “The results demonstrated that SSRIs increase the risk of spontaneous abortion and major malformations during pregnancy while they don’t increase the risk of cardiovascular malformations and minor malformations. Our previous meta-analysis only showed an increase in the risk of spontaneous abortion following the use of SSRIs during pregnancy.”  The authors go on to explain that the differing conclusions of the meta-analyses may be due to an increase in the number of studies included and/or the addition of two new SSRIs (citalopram and escitalopram).

Due to the fact that many women have used SSRI during pregnancy unaware of the risks associated with their use, a number of SSRI birth defect lawsuits have been filed.  If you or a loved one used SSRIs during pregnancy and your child was born with a congenital malformation, please do not hesitate to contact our team of SSRI birth defects lawyers at the information provided below.  We have the skills, resources, and experience required to win the justice you deserve.

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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.