CJF Announces Educational Resource about Birth Defects and Antidepressants
Submitted by: Consumer Justice Foundation
The Consumer Justice Foundation (CJF) announces the development of an educational resource concerning antidepressant drugs and related birth defects. Recent studies have identified antidepressant use during pregnancy as a potential risk factor for the development of major birth defects among infants. The CJF provides American consumers with a free resource at http://www.RxBirthDefects.com in order to offer critical information and help connect injured consumers with professionals who can help.
(OPENPRESS) July 22, 2011 -- According to recent studies, women who take certain antidepressants during pregnancy may significantly increase their risk of giving birth to an infant with one or more major birth defects ("Use of Selective Serotonin-Reuptake Inhibitors in Pregnancy and the Risk of Birth Defects" N Engl J Med 2007). After reviewing the results of these studies, the FDA has issued several public health advisories warning patients and healthcare professionals about the potential link between certain antidepressants and the development of serious birth defects (fda.gov). For women who took an antidepressant drug during pregnancy, more information about potential antidepressant birth defects is available. The CJF has developed www.RxBirthDefects.com, a comprehensive online resource available to American consumers seeking further information about the pregnancy risks of antidepressant drugs.
Although antidepressant drugs were initially designed to treat patients struggling with major depressive disorder, many antidepressants have since been FDA-approved for additional purposes, and some are even prescribed by doctors for off-label uses. Unfortunately, some of the most commonly prescribed antidepressant drugs, including Zoloft, Paxil and Lexapro, may be capable of causing life-threatening harm to a fetus when taken during pregnancy (fda.gov).
In 2006, the FDA issued a public health advisory alerting patients and physicians about the increased risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN) among infants exposed to certain antidepressant drugs during pregnancy (fda.gov). This FDA notice was largely influenced by a New England Journal of Medicine published earlier that same year, in which researchers found an alarming six-times increased risk of PPHN in children whose mothers took certain antidepressants after the twentieth week of pregnancy ("Selective Serotonin-Reuptake Inhibitors and Risk of Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn").
Other antidepressant birth defect studies have established potential links between some of the most commonly prescribed antidepressant drugs and severe birth defects. In 2007, the NEJM published two additional studies in which researchers sought to examine the adverse effects of fetal exposure to certain antidepressant drugs. In the first study, researchers reported that infants whose mothers took certain antidepressants during the first trimester of pregnancy were nearly twice as likely to develop birth defects like limb defects, club foot and anal atresia ("First-Trimester Use of Selective Serotonin-Reuptake Inhibitors and the Risk of Birth Defects"). The second NEJM study indicated that infants exposed to certain antidepressants during pregnancy were more than twice as likely to suffer from catastrophic birth defects like anencephaly, craniosynostosis and omphalocele ("Use of Selective Serotonin-Reuptake Inhibitors in Pregnancy and the Risk of Birth Defects").
In 2005, the FDA issued a public health advisory warning the public about the increased risk of heart defects in children born to women who took certain antidepressants during the first trimester of pregnancy (fda.gov). Unfortunately, many birth defects occur during the first trimester, before many women are even aware they are pregnant. Because nearly half of all pregnancies are unplanned, all women of childbearing age taking certain antidepressant drugs may be at risk of unknowingly causing irreversible harm to their unborn child. For more information about the pregnancy risks of antidepressant drugs, or to contact an experienced antidepressant birth defect attorney, visit http://www.RxBirthDefects.com, a free educational resource developed by the CJF for American consumers who believe they have been affected by an antidepressant drug.