In July, 2008, a team of researchers from The Netherlands led by CW Noorlander published a study titled “Modulation of serotonin transporter function during fetal development causes dilated heart cardiomyopathy and lifelong behavioral abnormalities.” in PLoS One.  This article delves further into the link between prenatal exposure to a mother’s selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor drug (SSRI).  These drugs are prescribed for a range of psychiatric conditions, working to regulate serotonin levels in the brain.  Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, or chemical messenger, that plays a key role in mood regulation, appetite, sleep, and fetal development – particularly cardiovascular development.  Because serotonin plays a key role in fetal development, exposure to drugs that modulate serotonin levels can hinder development.  This is why so many studies have linked Prozac exposure and heart defects, for example.

This team of researchers found that “The placental transfer of fluoxetine and fluvoxamine, two commonly used SSRIs, was similar between mouse and human, indicating that the fetal exposure of these SSRIs in mice is comparable with the human situation. Fluvoxamine displayed a relatively low placental transfer, while fluoxetine showed a relatively high placental transfer.”  (This re-establishes the fact that Prozac crosses the placenta.)

In a rodent model, “The majority of the fluoxetine-exposed offspring died postnatally of severe heart failure caused by dilated cardiomyopathy. Molecular analysis of fluoxetine-exposed offspring showed long-term alterations in serotonin transporter levels in the raphe nucleus. Furthermore, prenatal fluoxetine exposure resulted in depressive- and anxiety-related behavior in adult mice. In contrast, fluvoxamine-exposed mice did not show alterations in behavior and serotonin transporter levels.”

Decreasing the dose of fluoxetine resulted in higher survival rates and less dramatic effects on the long-term behavior in the offspring.” (emphasis added)

Accordingly, Noorlander et al. (2008) concluded that “These results indicate that prenatal fluoxetine exposure affects fetal development, resulting in cardiomyopathy and a higher vulnerability to affective disorders in a dose-dependent manner”, meaning that the more Prozac (fluoxetine) a child is exposed to before birth, the more vulnerable to cardiac disorders the child becomes.

Since many women have used Prozac and other SSRI drugs unaware of the risks for heart defects and other cardiovascular problems due to the manufacturer’s failure to warn, Prozac birth defect lawsuits are currently being filed in great number.

If you or a loved one used Prozac while pregnant and gave birth to a child with a heart defect, 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.