Looking through PubMed, a medical literature database curated by the National Library of Medicine and the US National Institutes of Health this morning, I found a number of articles citing the link between SSRI drug use during pregnancy and the risk for adverse birth outcomes.  (For other articles I’ve written on the connection between SSRIs and birth defects, follow the preceding link.)  Most doctors find that paroxetine (Paxil) is the most likely to cause congenital malformation or otherwise adverse fetal outcomes.

Here, I will cite four of the studies I’ve found today.

First, a study by M. Simoncelli et al., a research team from The University of Montreal, published in a 2010 edition of Current Drug Safety titled “Antidepressant use during pregnancy: a critical systematic review of the literature.” made insightful comments.  The team writes “Over the past 15 years, the number of studies investigating the potential teratogenic effects of antidepressants has drastically increased” and while, “Most antidepressants do not pose a major teratogenic risk … The use of paroxetine during organogenesis has been linked to an increase in the risk of cardiovascular malformations.”  For clarity, “teratogenic” means defect-causing, and “organogenesis” is the stage in neonatal development when organs begin to develop.

A 2008 study I found from Duke University, published by D.M. Marks et al. in the November edition of Expert Opinion on Drug Safety titled “Paroxetine: safety and tolerability issues.” purports, “Paroxetine is the most potent inhibitor of serotonin re-uptake among the now available SSRIs” and “Recent data suggest that paroxetine treatment leads to increased rates of congenital malformations”.  Again, not looking good for Paxil use during pregnancy.

In 2007, B. Källén et al. published a study titled “The safety of antidepressant drugs during pregnancy.” in the July edition of Expert Opinion on Drug Safety, again linking Paxil to birth defects.  This team from The University of Lund (Sweden) states “It is unlikely that any marked teratogenic effect occurs [with neonatal exposure to SSRI drugs] with the possible exception of an increased risk for cardiovascular defects after maternal use of clomipramine or paroxetine.”  The team also notes that “An increased risk for preterm birth is seen” and “Transient neonatal symptoms are common after the use of antidepressants in late pregnancy.”

Lastly, S. Davidson et al. (2009) published a study in Pediatric Research titled “Effect of exposure to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in utero on fetal growth: potential role for the IGF-I and HPA axes.” where they aimed “To investigate the possible effect of fetal exposure to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) on somatic growth and on hormones of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) and insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I axes, we compared the anthropometric parameters and hormonal profile of 21 SSRI-exposed infants and 20 matched controls.”  Results showed that “The SSRI group was characterized by lower crown-heel length (p < 0.01), smaller head circumference (p = 0.08), and higher percentage of infants with birth weight, birth length, and head circumference below the 10th percentile”.  Demonstrating prenatal SSRI exposure was associated with adverse birth outcomes, the team concluded that, “The findings may raise concern regarding maternal use of SSRIs during pregnancy.”  (Understandably so.)

Because many women have used Paxil or other SSRI drugs during pregnancy unaware of the risk for adverse birth outcomes or congenital malformations, a number of SSRI birth defect lawsuits are currently being filed.  If you or a loved one used an SSRI during pregnancy, especially Paxil, and gave birth to a child with a congenital malformation, neonatal adaptation syndrome, or another ailment, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation.  For a free, no-obligation case consultation, contact our team of SSRI birth defect lawyers and Paxil® birth defects lawyers at the information provided below.  We have the compassion, 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.