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Three more studies illustrate risks of Prozac during pregnancy

Posted in Prozac Birth Defects, SSRI Birth Defects

This morning, I found three more studies discussing the risks of prenatal Prozac exposure.  One  discuses long-term effects, one describes behavioral effects, and another describes birth defects “caused” by Prozac.  For other studies on the risks of Prozac exposure during pregnancy, follow the preceding link.

A team of researchers led by V. Kiryanova (2013) published a study titled “Long-term outcomes of developmental exposure to fluoxetine: a review of the animal literature.” in Developmental Neuroscience, summarizing the findings of research papers on the long-term effects of prenatal Prozac (fluoxetine, or “FLX,” for short) exposure.  They write “long-term alterations of behaviour and the brain have not been well studied in individuals exposed to FLX during pregnancy or soon after birth, perhaps because conducting such studies beyond infancy presents significant challenges.”  After a great deal of synthesis and analysis, the team concluded that “it is clear that early FLX exposure in non-human animals can alter the development of the brain in ways that are relevant to behaviour in adulthood, decreasing exploration and social interaction, and in some cases altering anxiety- and depression-like behaviours.”

In October, 2011, an article appearing in Psychopharmacology titled “Fluoxetine administration to pregnant rats increases anxiety-related behavior in the offspring.” by a Dutch team led by J.D. Olivier et al., provides further evidence that Prozac crosses the placenta and affects the development of neonates, using a rat model.  They write, “Fluoxetine, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, crosses the placenta, leading to increased extracellular serotonin levels and potentially neurodevelopmental changes in the fetus” and state that their objective was “to elucidate the long-term consequences of prenatal fluoxetine in rats.”

Results showed that, “Plasma fluoxetine transfer from mother to pup was 83%, and high levels of fluoxetine (13.0 μg/g) were detected in the pup brain 5 h after the last injection. Fluoxetine-treated dams gave birth to litters 15% smaller than usual and to pups of reduced weight (until postnatal day 7).”  Low birth weight has also been seen in human babies born to mothers who used Prozac during pregnancy.

And, the team found that “prenatal fluoxetine exposure significantly increased anxiety in the novelty-suppressed feeding test, the footshock-induced conditioned place aversion test, and the elevated plus maze test (following footshock pre-exposure) during adulthood, and also significantly decreased components of social play behavior at 4 weeks of age, and a strong tendency for increased self-grooming and making less contact in adults.”  As such, researchers concluded that, “Prenatal fluoxetine exposure in rats leads to detrimental behavioral outcomes in later life”. (emphasis added)

Last, an article titled “Fetal and neonatal effects of maternal drug treatment for depression.” published in the October, 2008 edition of Seminars in Perinatology by a team of researchers from Toronto led by J. Belik:  Citing that just over 1 in 50 women use SSRIs during pregnancy, this team writes, “Exposure to SSRIs in late gestation leads to clinical manifestations in as much as 30% of the neonates. These include neurobehavioral, respiratory, gastrointestinal, and somatic symptoms.”  Continuing, it is stated “Among the respiratory manifestations, persistent pulmonary hypertension syndrome is a newly recognized and concerning side effect of SSRI exposure in utero. This causal association has been reproduced in an animal model where fluoxetine administration to pregnant rats induces fetal pulmonary hypertension.” (emphasis added)

Most often, researchers shy away from using the term “causal.”  Because the above team did so and published in a major journal (the editors of which did not force the use of “correlation” over “causation”) the connection between SSRI exposure and PPHN is evidently well-known in the medical community.

Since so many women have used SSRIs during pregnancy (particularly Prozac and Paxil) unaware of the risks posed to developing babies, many Prozac® birth defects lawsuits have been filed.

If you or a loved one used Prozac and gave birth to a child with a congenital malformation or who had perinatal complications, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation.  For a free, no-obligation case consultation, contact our team of Prozac® 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.

(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.