I recently came across a 2000 article from University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill by J.R. Moiseiwitsch et al., titled “The role of serotonin and neurotransmitters during craniofacial development.”.  This article, published in Critical Reviews in Oral Biology and Medicine, demonstrates how prenatal exposure to SSRI drugs affects craniofacial development, all too often resulting in birth defects such as cleft lip and cleft palate.

The team writes, “Several neurotransmitters, in particular serotonin (5-HT), have demonstrated multiple functions during early development and mid-gestational craniofacial morphogenesis. Early studies indicated that 5-HT is present in the oocyte, where it appears to function as a regulator of cell cleavage. Later, it has a significant role during gastrulation, during which there are significant areas of 5-HT uptake in the primitive streak. Subsequently, in association with neurulation, 5-HT uptake is seen in the floor plate of the developing neural tube.”

This may help show how gestational exposure to SSRIs can lead to neural tube defects, such as spina bifida.

Continuing, it is stated that “During neural crest formation and branchial arch formation, 5-HT has been demonstrated to facilitate cell migration and stimulate cell differentiation. During morphogenesis of the craniofacial structures, 5-HT stimulates dental development and may aid in cusp formation. All of the most commonly prescribed antidepressant drugs inhibit serotonin uptake, yet they do not appear to cause major craniofacial malformations in vivo. Given the wide spectrum of effects that 5-HT has during development, it is difficult to understand why these anti-depressants are not major teratogens. Redundancy within the system may allow receptor and uptake pathways to function normally even with lower than normal levels of circulating serotonin. Serotonin-binding proteins, that are expressed in most craniofacial regions at critical times during craniofacial development, may have a buffering capacity that maintains adequate 5-HT tissue concentrations over a wide range of 5-HT serum concentrations.”

Stating that “Dental development appears to be particularly sensitive to even small fluctuations in concentrations of 5-HT. Therefore, it may be that children of patients who have received selective serotonergic re-uptake inhibitors (such as Prozac and Zoloft) or the less selective tricyclic anti-depressant drugs (such as Elavil) would be at a higher risk for developmental dental defects such as anodontia and hypodontia”, we can see how SSRIs are linked to craniofacial birth defects.

Since so many women have used SSRIs unaware of the risk for birth defects, SSRI birth defect lawsuits are currently being filed around the world.  If you or a loved one used SSRIs such as Prozac or Zoloft 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 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.

(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.