A new study from Sweden shows that the use of certain antidepressants during pregnancy could greatly increase the risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPH) in newborns. The study, performed by the Centre for Pharmacoepidemiology at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, analyzed 1.6 million births in five Nordic countries to determine the effects of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) on the health of newborn babies. According to MSN Health, the researchers found that SSRI use during pregnancy increased the risk of PPH in newborns by twofold. SSRIs are a class of antidepressants including the popular drugs Lexapro, Zoloft, Paxil, Luvox, Prozac, and Celexa. PPH is a serious illness where the blood pressure increases in the lungs, making it difficult to breathe and leading to death in 5 to 10 percent of those afflicted with the condition.
Complications associated with the use of SSRIs in pregnant women have been numerous.
The study, published in BMJ, examined births in Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden, and Iceland between 1996 and 2007. The research found that taking an SSRI during pregnancy equated to an increased absolute risk of 1.2 to 3 cases per 1,000 births. According to Family Practice News, in order to truly determine the risk of SSRIs on newborns, researchers kept track of the history of PPH, quality of delivery hospital, maternal smoking, body mass index (BMI) in early pregnancy, year of birth, mode of delivery, gestational age at birth, birth weight, meconium aspiration, and maternal diseases at pregnancy. Researchers stressed that these results did not guarantee that antidepressant use necessarily causes PPH in newborns.
SSRIs like Lexapro, Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac, and Celexa have repeatedly been linked to negative complications and certain birth defects. Complications associated with the use of SSRIs in pregnant women have been numerous, allegedly including cardiac defects, persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPH), Tetralology of the Fallot (TOF), abnormal skull development, Ventrical Septal Defect (VSD), gastrointestinal abnormalities, cardiac defects, brain defects, Atrial Septal Defect, an increased risk of autism in newborns, and many others.
As there are many potential benefits of antidepressants but there may exist a real risk of taking them while pregnant, the FDA advises that pregnant women should use them "only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus." If you or a loved one has taken a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) like Zoloft, Paxil, Lexapro, Prozac, Luvox, or Celexa and has birthed a child with a birth defect, you may be eligible to enter a lawsuit to recover damages. Fill out the free form on the right to consult an experienced Zoloft birth defect attorney to see if you might be entitled to pursue compensation.