Published in the December, 2012 edition of Therapeutic Drug Monitoring, an article by H. Malm titled “Prenatal exposure to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and infant outcome.” provides further insight into the connection between prenatal exposure to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) drugs and adverse birth outcomes. Malm has done a great deal of research on these drugs in years past, demonstrating that a number of birth defects are linked to neonatal SSRI exposure. For more research by this scientist, follow this link.
SSRIs are a class of psychiatric medications that work to regulate mood by regulating the concentration of serotonin molecules between neurons in the brain. However, studies have shown that serotonin plays an important role not only in mood regulation, but also in sleep and appetite regulation, and neonatal development.
For the above-referenced study, Malm performed a literature review, analyzing previously-conducted research. The author writes “Fluoxetine and paroxetine use in early pregnancy has been associated with a small increased risk for specific cardiovascular malformations in some studies, fluoxetine with ventricular septal defects and paroxetine with right ventricular outflow tract defects.”
To be clear, “fluoxetine” is the chemical name for Prozac, and “paroxetine” is the chemical name for Paxil.
Malm continues: “Respiratory distress and neonatal adaptation problems are common in prenatally exposed infants, and an increased risk for persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn has been observed in several studies. Although several studies have not confirmed an increased risk for adverse neurodevelopment, a recent study observed an increased risk for autism spectrum disorders in prenatally exposed offspring.”
Importantly, the author also cautions that a correlation between two variables does not imply that one causes the other: “Causality cannot be confirmed in observational study settings. However, parallel results in individual studies regarding the cardiac malformations and pulmonary hypertension of the newborn, together with an existing biologically plausible mechanism behind these events may support causality. Considering the important role of serotonin in central nervous system development, more studies are needed to assess the possible adverse effects on long-term neurodevelopment.”
Unfortunately, the companies who manufacture these drugs have failed time and again to adequately inform patients of the risk for bearing children with birth defects or developmental disorders. As a result, a number of Prozac lawsuits and Paxil lawsuits have been filed.
If you or a loved one used Prozac, Paxil, or another SSRI and gave birth to a child with a congenital malformation, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation. For a free, no-obligation case consultation, contact our team of Prozac® birth defects lawyers and Paxil® birth defects 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.
(855) 452 – 5529
Our SSRI Birth Defects Lawsuit Information page is a great place to start if you have any questions about SSRIs and Birth Defects.