Published in a 2005 edition of Reproduction, fertility, and development, an article titled “Fluoxetine during pregnancy: impact on fetal development.” by JL Morrison and a team of researchers from University of Adelaide (Australia) explored the connection between prenatal exposure to pregnancySSRI drugs and adverse birth outcomes including birth defects.
The team explains that, “Women are at greatest risk of suffering from depression during the childbearing years and thus may either become pregnant while taking an antidepressant or may require a prescription for one during pregnancy. The antidepressant fluoxetine (FX) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), which increases serotonin neurotransmission. Serotonin is involved in the regulation of a variety of physiological systems, including the sleep-wake cycle, circadian rhythms and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Each of these systems also plays an important role in fetal development.”
Morrison also states that “Clinical studies suggest poor neonatal outcome after exposure to FX in utero.” To be clear, “FX” or “fluoxetine” is the chemical name for the SSRI drug Prozac.
“Recent studies in the sheep fetus describe the physiological effects of in utero exposure to FX with an 8 day infusion during late gestation in the sheep. This is a useful model for determining the effects of FX on fetal physiology. The fetus can be studied for weeks in its normal intrauterine environment with serial sampling of blood, thus permitting detailed studies of drug disposition in both mother and fetus combined with monitoring of fetal behavioural state and cardiovascular function.”
Further discussing animal modeling of the adverse effects of Prozac use during pregnancy, the team states that “Fluoxetine causes an acute increase in plasma serotonin levels, leading to a transient reduction in uterine blood flow. This, in turn, reduces the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the fetus, thereby presenting a mechanism for reducing growth and/or eliciting preterm delivery. Moreover, because FX crosses the placenta, the fetus is exposed directly to FX, as well as to the effects of the drug on the mother. Fluoxetine increases high-voltage/non-rapid eye movement behavioural state in the fetus after both acute and chronic exposure and, thus, may interfere with normal fetal neurodevelopment. Fluoxetine also alters hypothalamic function in the adult and increases the magnitude of the prepartum rise in fetal cortisol concentrations in sheep. Fetal FX exposure does not alter fetal circadian rhythms in melatonin or prolactin. Studies of the effects of FX exposure on fetal development in the sheep are important in defining possible physiological mechanisms that explain human clinical studies of birth outcomes after FX exposure.”
Since so many women have taken Prozac and other SSRI drugs during pregnancy unaware of the risks posed to a developing fetus, a great number of Prozac® birth defects lawsuits are currently being filed around the world.
If you or a loved one used Prozac and gave birth to a child with a congenital malformation or who faced perinatal complications, you and your family 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.
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