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Further Evidence showing that certain Antidepressant Medications Increase Risks of Birth Defects

Obstet Gynecol. 2011;118:111-120.

This is the latest study showing that Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) increase the risk of heart defects in newborns. The first report to raise a red flag was published in the New England Journal of Medicine back in 1996 (Chambers et al. N Engl J Med. 1996;335:1010-1015).

Women who use SSRIs, particularly fluoxetine and paroxetine for depression while pregnant showed a 2-fold and 4-fold increased risk to ventricular heart defects in the newborns.

So far, these two specific SSRIs have been implicated and other SSRIs seem to be ok in the statistical analysis. There was also a statistically significant association between citalopram (a SSRI) and neural tube defects.

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders have been observed to be nearly 10 times more common in SSRI-exposed offspring than in unexposed offspring. Therefore, expecting moms on SSRIs need to be especially cautious with alcohol use in pregnancy.

Yours in Health,
Ian Koo, ND

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