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Dangerous Drugs & Medical Devices News & Commentary on Prescription Drug & Medical Device Lawsuits

2008 – Breathing problems linked to prenatal SSRI exposure

Posted in SSRI Birth Defects

In May, 2008, a team of medical researchers led by T.F. Oberlander published an article titled “Effects of timing and duration of gestational exposure to serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressants: population-based study.” in British Journal of Psychiatry that provides more insight into the link between adverse birth outcomes and prenatal exposure to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor drugs (SSRIs).  This research from The Centre for Community Child Health Research in Vancouver, British Columbia simply adds to the pile of research linking SSRIs during pregnancy to birth defects, poor neonatal adaptation, and developmental disorders such as autism.

Some researchers use the phrase “serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SRI)” instead of “selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI).”  For our purposes here, these two will be considered equivalent.

Aiming “to determine whether late-gestational exposure to an SRI is associated with increased risk of adverse neonatal outcome relative to early exposure”, Oberlander et al. (2008) used “population-based maternal and neonatal health records … linked to prenatal maternal prescription records for an SRI medication (n=3500)” for subjects.  (This means that 3,500 SSRI pregnancies were studied.)

The team states that “After controlling for maternal illness, longer prenatal exposure increased the risks of lower birth weight, respiratory distress and reduced gestational age (P<0.05).”  To be clear, “P<0.05” means that the results of this study have an accuracy of at least 95%.

Oberlander concluded that “length of gestational SRI exposure, rather than timing, increased the risk for neonatal respiratory distress, lower birth weight and reduced gestational age, even when controlling for maternal illness and medication dose. These findings highlight the importance of distinguishing the specific impact of medication exposure from exposure to maternal illness itself.”

Because thousands of women have used SSRIs in pregnancy unaware of the risk for birth defects and poor neonatal adaptation, SSRI birth defect lawsuits have been filed in great number around the world.

As such, if you or a loved one used SSRIs and gave birth to a child with a congenital malformation or who had poor neonatal adaptation, your family 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 compassion, resources, and experience 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.