Zoloft And Other SSRIs Can Cause Birth Defects

Would a woman knowingly take a drug that had a significantly increased risk of birth defects if she was pregnant or had a chance of getting pregnant?  Of course not.

The FDA has announced that SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) that are used to treat depression have a significantly increased risk of severe birth defects when taken during the first trimester of pregnancy.  These defects to the unborn child appear in the heart and lungs, and include septal heart defects and other congenital abnormalities.  Some of these drugs include: Paxil, Zoloft, Effexor, Celexa, Lexapro, Prozac, and Wellbutrin.

Studies show that women who took certain SSRIs during the first three months of pregnancy were about 1½   to 2 times as likely to have a baby with a heart defect. Most of the heart defects reported in these studies were atrial and ventricular septal heart defects, ranging in severity from minor to those requiring surgery.

With every prescription drug, the risk benefit analysis has to show that the known risks of the drug are outweighed by its benefits prior to a patient taking the drug.  The risk of birth defects is hardly outweighed by the benefit of an SSRI antidepressant when other drugs without that risk are available to treat the condition.

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