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    Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) Linked to Birth Defects

    Recent studies have shown that using of SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) while pregnant increases the risk of birth defects. The birth defects associated with SSRIs include persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN—previously called primary pulmonary hypertension of the newborn) and other lung and heart problems.

    Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are used as antidepressants. Drugs included in the SSRI class are

     

    Citalopram

    • Celexa
    • Cipramil
    • Cipram
    • Dalsan
    • Recital
    • Emocal
    • Sepram
    • Seropram
    • Citox
    • Cital

    Dapoxetine

    • Priligy

    Escitalopram

    • Lexapro
    • Cipralex
    • Seroplex
    • Esertia

    Fluoxetine

    • Prozac
    • Fontex
    • Seromex
    • Seronil
    • Sarafem
    • Symbyax
    • Ladose
    • Motivest
    • Fluctin (EUR)
    • Fluox (NZ)
    • Depress (UZB)
    • Lovan (AUS)

    Fluvoxamine

    • Luvox
    • Fevarin
    • Faverin
    • Dumyrox
    • Favoxil
    • Movox

    Indalpine

    • Upstene (discontinued)

    Paroxetine

    • Paxil
    • Seroxat
    • Sereupin
    • Aropax
    • Deroxat
    • Divarius
    • Rexetin
    • Xetanor
    • Paroxat
    • Loxamine

    Sertraline

    • Zoloft
    • Lustral
    • Serlain
    • Asentra

    Zimelidine

    • Zelmid
    • Normud (discontinued)

    Similar to SSRIs are serotonin–norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, or SNRIs, like

    In addition to side effects like akathisia, some studies, including one published in the New England Journal of Medicine, have linked SSRIs to serious birth defects, including persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN).

    The study found that women who took SSRIs during their third trimester were six times more likely to deliver babies born with PPHN—or to have babies that would develop primary pulmonary hypertension—than women who did not take SSRIs during their third trimester.

    The following symptoms may indicate PPHN:

    • Rapid Breathing
    • Rapid Heart Rate
    • Difficulty Breathing
    • Bluish Skin
    • Heart Murmurs
    • Low Blood Oxygen Levels

    PPHN is a very serious birth defect, and even with treatment a child suffering from PPHN may experience shock, heart failure, brain hemorrhage, seizures, kidney failure, organ damage and even death. Infants who survive PPHN may have long-term breathing difficulties, seizures, developmental disorders and hearing loss. Another study showed that mothers who took antidepressants during pregnancy gave birth to children who experienced withdrawal symptoms such as seizures, tremors, gastrointestinal problems and sleep disturbances.

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