In 2010, a team of Italian researchers led by Maria Marsella, from The University of Ferrara, published a case report in The Italian Journal of Pediatrics titled “Prenatal exposure to serotonin reuptake inhibitors: a case report”, shedding more light onto the link between selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and birth defects.
The team writes “Two premature twins (33 weeks gestation) were born to a woman who had used paroxetine during pregnancy for an anxiety-depression disorder. They were admitted to the NICU, where they showed prolonged RDS, cardiovascular malformations, and facial dysmorphisms. Soon after birth, they also presented abnormal neurobehavioral and motor signs, which partially disappeared during the following weeks, although alterations of tone persisted even at discharge.” (NICU stands for neonatal intensive care unit, and RDS stands for respiratory distress syndrome, symptomatic of persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn, an ailment frequently linked to children exposed to SSRI drugs before birth.)
Marsella et al. (2010) continues, “Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants are considered the primary treatments for depression and anxiety in pregnancy. Since intrauterine exposure to these drugs has been associated with poor neonatal adaptation, low birth weight, RDS, neurobehavioural symptoms, and potential teratogenic effects, further studies are needed to assess risks and mechanism of action of SSRIs” and cautions that “Meanwhile, it is advisable to evaluate for each patient the real risk/benefit ratio of continuing or suspending treatment during pregnancy.”
“In utero exposure to an SSRI has been associated with many neonatal symptoms, including respiratory distress, feeding difficulties, and a wide spectrum of neurological symptoms. A neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), resulting from exposure to SSRIs during pregnancy, may explain this clinical syndrome, characterized by central nervous system, gastrointestinal, autonomic and respiratory symptoms [2,3]. In a cohort study, symptoms of NAS were present in 30% of exposed infants compared to none of the non-exposed control infants .
Furthermore, concerns regarding persistent pulmonary hypertension, teratogenic risks, and neonatal adaptation have also been raised. In particular, recent studies have indicated an increased prevalence of certain malformations, as omphalocele, craniosynostosis, and, more consistently, heart defects in newborns exposed to SSRIs in utero [4–8].”
Eventually, and with a great deal of medical intervention, the twins recovered. Unfortunately, that is not often the case. Due to the fact that the manufacturers of many SSRI drugs have failed time and again to adequately inform women of these risks, a number of expecting mothers have unknowingly presented serious risks to developing babies, and many SSRI birth defect lawsuits have been filed.
If you or a loved one used SSRIs and gave birth to a child with a congenital malformation or who had developmental or adaptation difficulty, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation. For a free, no-obligation case consultation, contact our team of SSRI birth defect lawyers at the information provided below. We have the experience, resources, and skills required to win the justice you deserve. Call today and see how we can help.
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