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The Dangerous Link: Antidepressants and Birth Defects

Posted on in Birth Defects

Around the world, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (often called SSRIs) are some of the most commonly prescribed depression medications. In the United States, one of the most popular SSRIs given to patients with depression is Zoloft, which has been linked to dangerous birth defects when taken by pregnant mothers. A new study from the British Medical Journal is the latest authority to lend credence to the risks posed by antidepressants.

The researchers, who reviewed a series of seven studies, found that the risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn was different based on the period of the pregnancy in which the mother took the medication. When SSRIs like Zoloft were taken in the later stages of a pregnancy, mothers faced an increased risk that their children would be affected by PPHN.

Although researchers noted that the risk was comparatively low, PPHN is a serious condition that no parent wants to face. In this condition, the baby's lungs are unable to properly exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide. As a result, a newborn could have very low blood oxygen levels, possibly causing damage to organs.

PPHN has been connected with some major complications such as seizures, brain hemorrhage, organ failure, kidney damage, chronic lung disease, and developmental delays. The FDA first released a warning regarding these drugs in 2006, requesting that more research be completed in order to better understand the link.

SSRIs have already been tied to ventricular septal defects and atrial septal defects, reducing oxygen to the organs and raising blood pressure in the lungs. SSRIs have also been known to cause omphalocele in newborns, a condition requiring organ replacement.

Medications that may cause birth defects can be devastating for new parents. If you or someone you know has been impacted by a birth defect that could have been caused by an unsafe medicine, contact an Illinois defective medical device attorney today.

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