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The Frightening Risks of Taking Antidepressants During Pregnancy

With as many as one in ten Americans taking regular doses of antidepressant medication, there has been a great deal of attention given to the chances of these medications causing side effects. One of the most serious risks is the very real possibility of problems for pregnant women who take antidepressants.

The Federal Food and Drug Administration has linked consumption of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) to birth defects. There is a recognizable risk that a baby born to a mother who took one of these drugs during pregnancy could suffer a number of problems. These include: 

  • Premature birth
  • Low birth weight
  • Withdrawal symptoms (tremors, convulsions, increased crying and irritability)
  • A rare, serious lung problem called “persistent pulmonary hypertension”
  • Various birth defects, including heart problems.

While these problems are not common, they are very real and current research continues to find more and more cause for concern. 

There are many SSRIs on the market today and some are considered “safer” than others for pregnant women. The Mayo Clinic suggests that citalopram (Celexa), fluoxetine (Prozac) and sertraline (Zoloft) are among the safer. Other antidepressants sometimes prescribed during pregnancy include tricyclic ones (like amitriptyline and nortriptyline) and bupropion (Wellbutrin). 

Mayo Clinic also suggests that expecting mothers should avoid the SSRI paroxetine (Paxil) during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. The Clinic also discourages the use of monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) during pregnancy, citing possible problems with fetal growth and maternal high blood pressure.

Above all, you should talk to your doctor about all of these risks and decide together the best course of action for your particular needs. 

If you or someone you love has been prescribed an antidepressant during pregnancy and a baby has been injured by it, you should consider contacting a Milwaukee based pharmaceutical class action lawyer. At Hupy and Abraham we can advise you of your legal rights and represent you. Call today toll free at 800-800-5678 to speak to an expert.