Antidepressants and Birth Defects

Antidepressant Birth Defects

Birth defects have been linked to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants. Several studies from 2005 show that antidepressant drugs like Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, Effexor, Lexapro, Pristiq and Prozac doubled the risk of cardiac birth defects. Mothers who have taken antidepressant drugs during pregnancy have reported the following birth defects:

  • Cardiac (heart) defects
  • PPHN (Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn)
  • Neural tube defects (brain and spinal cord)
  • Craniosynostosis (skull defect)
  • Infant omphalocele (abdominal wall defects)
  • Clubfoot (one or both feet turn downward and inward)
  • Anal atresia (complete or partial closure of the anus)
  • Limb Defects
  • Cleft lip and cleft palate

FDA and Scientific Studies Regarding SSRI

2011-12-14: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant use during pregnancy and reports of a rare heart and lung condition in newborn babies: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is updating the public on the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants by women during pregnancy and the potential risk of a rare heart and lung condition known as persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). The initial Public Health Advisory in July 2006 on this potential risk was based on a single published study. Since then, there have been conflicting findings from new studies evaluating this potential risk, making it unclear whether use of SSRIs during pregnancy can cause PPHN. To read more, click FDA Drug Safety Communication