Some anti-depressants linked to birth defects

Jul 09, 2015, 4:32 PM EDT
Picture to illustrate a 30 percent increase in anti depressants in pharmacies all over the country.
Vince Talotta/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The BMJ has published findings that say some popular selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) were in rare cases associated with an increased risk in birth defects. Prozac and Paxil were the two anti-depressants found with those links while Zoloft was not associated with any increased risk. ABC News reports:

The researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Boston University and the University of British Columbia studied more than 27,000 women who had children between 1997 to 2009. In spite of the findings the experts strongly cautioned against pregnant women forgoing medication treatment without consulting a doctor due to the risks associated with depression during pregnancy.
Dr. Cynthia Gyamfi-Bannerman, Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Columbia University Medical College, told ABC News women should always consult with their doctors before going off their medication, even if pregnant.
"Pregnancy itself predisposes women to become depressed," said Gyamfi-Bannerman. "For most women it turns out the risk of taking the medication is much lower than the benefits to both them and the developing baby."
Jennita Reefhuis, PhD, of the Centers for Disease Control, and colleagues, found that women taking paroxetine during their first trimester of pregnancy more than doubled their risk of five out of seven serious birth defects, while those taking fluoxetine (Prozac) had a higher risk of two serious birth defects.
However, the authors found no link between citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro), or sertraline (Zoloft) and birth defects in the first trimester, they wrote in the BMJ.