In the last couple of years, there were several studies that found maternal use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (antidepressants) linked to higher risk of birth defects. The last study found the same. Researchers found that women who took SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) in early pregnancy had a higher risk of having offspring with abdominal pain, heart problems and skull formation. Jennita Reefhuis, co-author from the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities at the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), and colleagues, published these findings in The BMJ. Researchers said that the increased risk is low, but they require further research.
US Department of Health and Human Services announced that 13% of pregnant women experience depression. Some of them use only therapy in order to solve this problem. But, some women believe that a therapy isn’t enough, so they use antidepressant medications. SSIRs are the most common forms of antidepressant medications. Some studies found that using SSRIs during a pregnancy is perfectly safe, however, many studies found that the result is opposite.
Researchers analyzed data from the NBDPS (US National Birth Defects Prevention Study). This data included 9.857 mothers of infants without a birth defect and 17.952 mothers of infants with a birth defect. All of these infants were born between 1997 and 2009.Researchers excluded women with pre-existing diabetes and those whose therapy included non-SSRI antidepressants.
Researchers found that SSRI paroxetine was associated with 5 birth defects. Some of them are: right ventricular outflow tract obstruction (heart defect) and abnormal brain and skull formation. Fluoxetine has been linked to the abnormal skull formation and heart wall defects.