SSRI Use in Pregnant Women Poses More Risks than Benefits, Study Finds

A recent study concludes that a popular type of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) should be given cautiously to pregnant women because of an increased risk of miscarriage, premature birth and health problems in both the mother and her infant.

Antidepressant use has increased 400 percent over the past 20 years, the researchers reported. These drugs are the most commonly prescribed medication in the U.S. for people 18 to 44 years of age – childbearing years for most women, according to a CBS News article.

Boston researchers reviewed earlier studies that examined pregnant women who took antidepressants. Results showed “…clear and concerning evidence of risk with the use of the SSRI antidepressants by pregnant women, evidence that these drugs lead to worsened pregnancy outcomes,” said study author Dr. Adam Urato. “There is no evidence of benefit, no evidence that these drugs lead to better outcomes for moms and babies …. We feel strongly that patients, obstetrical providers, and the public need to be fully aware of this information.”

SSRIs, some of which include Prozac, Paxil, Celexa, Zoloft and Lexapro, have been known to cause birth defects such as permanent damage to an infant’s heart, cleft palate and lip, Down syndrome and spina bifida. The review found an increase in miscarriage, pregnancy-induced hypertension and preeclampsia in pregnant women who took antidepressants. Premature birth was the “most pressing” complication, according to Dr. Urato. Researchers also reported increased rates of respiratory distress and low birth weight in newborns.

Sadly, many people are unaware of the increased SSRI birth defects risk until it’s too late. It is for this reason that many families have already filed lawsuits against the drug companies who failed to adequately warn them of the associated dangers to mothers and newborns. Those who suspect an injury caused by SSRI use during pregnancy should contact birth injury lawyers Gregory Spizer and Thomas Anapol at Anapol Weiss immediately. There are long-term costs to think about.

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