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The Many Side Effects of SSRI Therapy

Posted on in Defective Prescription Drugs

Many risks of anti-depressants are relatively well-known and publicized. One of the most common side effects of anti-depressants occurs when expectant mothers take them. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor antidepressants (SSRIs) have a very high risk of resulting in birth defects in a newborn, reports the National Library of Medicine, part of the National Institute for Health (NIH).

By some estimates, between 20 and 30 percent of newborns who are “exposed to SSRIs towards the end of gestation have disorders such as agitation, abnormal muscle tone and suction, seizures and hypornatraemia.” This research was first made public in late 2005, according to NIH, and immediately pregnant women who were taking SSRIs were advised to seek alternative therapies and, in some cases, even encouraged to reevaluate the diagnosis.

And yet birth defects, while perhaps the best-known side effects of SSRIs, may not be the most severe or serious. According to a publication from the Harvard Medical School, SSRIs can also result in serious physical symptoms ranging from insomnia to stomach issues, skin rashes, and joint or muscle pain. The risk of internal bleeding is approximately the same as it is with NSAIDs, found in common medications such as aspirin and naproxen.

SSRI therapy can also result in involuntary movements, usually manifesting most commonly in elderly patients who are taking the medication. These types of side effects are more rare, but can be devastating—especially if the patient is still working. Involuntary movement side effects can include muscle spasms, repetitive muscle movements (known as dyskinesia), parkinsonism (muscle behavior that imitates those who have been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease); and compulsive restlessness. Often these types of side effects are accompanied by severe anxiety—one of the symptoms the SSRI could have been prescribed to combat.

SSRIs, according to the Harvard Medical School Journal, can also have negative or dangerous interactions in patients who are taking other medications, and can sometimes result in sexual side effects. In many cases, patients will experience a loss of sexual desire. In men, SSRIs can sometimes inhibit ejaculation, and in women, they can sometimes prevent orgasm.

If you or someone you know has experienced negative side effects of taking SSRIs and feel as if you were not made properly aware of the risks, you may be eligible for compensation. Do not go through it alone. Contact an Arlington Heights defective medical product attorney for a free initial consultation today.

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