Anti-Depressant Birth Defects

Anti-depressants are drugs used by individuals suffering from a variety of mental health issues including depression and anxiety. Anti-depressants are extremely popular in the United States and since 2005 information has pervaded the media about the significant and severe risk of birth defects in babies born to mothers who were prescribed certain anti-depressants during pregnancy. The following article details the facts associated with anti-depressants and birth defects including the uprising across the nation of lawsuits and litigation by families whose children suffered considerable harm from the drugs.

Anti-depressants have long been touted as a safe and effective way to combat chemical imbalances in the brain that lead to depression and anxiety. In the mid-2000’s, the FDA issued warnings against the use of certain drugs during pregnancy as the risk of Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension in newborns was six times more likely in babies born to mothers who took Celexa (citalopram), Fluvoxamine, Lexapro (escitalopram), Prozac (fluoxetine), Symbyax (olanzapine and fluoxetine) and Zoloft (sertraline) at any point after the 20th week of pregnancy.

Also in the mid-2000’s, the FDA issued a warning with respect to anti-depressants and the risk of heart problems in babies. Exposure to anti-depressants in the first trimester of pregnancy (as opposed to after week 20) was to blame for the increased instance of heart defects, specifically atrial or ventricular septal defects, conditions in which the wall between the right and left sides of the heart is not completely developed.

Other defects that are linked to the use of anti-depressants include the following conditions: autism, abdominal defects, anal atresia, cardiac defects, cleft lip or palate, clubfoot, craniosynostisis, limb defects and neural tube defects.

Anti-depressants causing the increased risk of birth defects include Celexa, Effexor, Lexapro, Pristiq, Prozac and Zoloft.