SSRI Antidepressent Drugs Taken in Pregnancy Can Increase Risk of Miscarriage

Antidepressant Drugs and Miscarriage

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SSRI Antidepressent Drugs Taken in Pregnancy Can Increase Risk of Miscarriage

In addition to an increased risk of birth defects in their babies, women taking SSRI antidepressants in pregnancy may have a higher risk of suffering a miscarriage.

According to the findings of a new study, a popular type of antidepressant drugs known as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) can increase a woman’s risk of miscarriage by approximately 27% if taken in early pregnancy. Even more alarming, women who stop using an SSRI antidepressant drug three to 12 months before becoming pregnant may still have a 24% increased risk of suffering a miscarriage, compared to women who don’t take SSRI antidepressants at all. If you suffered a miscarriage, or your child was born with a serious birth defect, and you believe an SSRI antidepressant like Paxil or Zoloft to be the cause, our consumer advocates at the Consumer Justice Foundation can help put you in touch with a drug injury lawyer who has experience handling birth defect claims.

Potential Side Effects of Antidepressant Drugs

Some of the most popular antidepressant medications on the market fall into a category of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which include Paxil, Zoloft, Lexapro and Celexa, and have been linked to an increased risk of devastating birth defects and other serious problems when taken during pregnancy. According to this new study, published last month in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, women who used SSRI antidepressant drugs in pregnancy had a 27% increased risk of experiencing a miscarriage, and even women who discontinued use of an SSRI up to a year before becoming pregnant had a 24% increased risk of miscarriage.

SSRI Antidepressants Increased Risk of Miscarriage

The researchers involved in the SSRI antidepressant study conducted a nationwide cohort study of 1,279,840 pregnancies in Denmark during the 13-year period from 1997 to 2010. According to their findings, women who took an SSRI drug during the first 35 days of pregnancy had a 12.6% risk of losing their unborn child, compared to an 11.1% risk among women who did not take an SSRI antidepressant drug. “Women exposed to SSRIs during early pregnancy were at increased risk of miscarriage as were women discontinuing SSRI treatment before pregnancy,” the researchers wrote, “and these risks were similar.”

Pregnancy Risks of SSRI Medications

The researchers involved in this study concluded that, because women who stopped taking an SSRI antidepressant in the year leading up to pregnancy were at a similar risk for miscarriage as women who continued SSRI treatment during pregnancy, “treatment with SSRIs during pregnancy should not be discontinued as a result of fear of miscarriage.” However, there are still serious concerns about the risks associated with SSRI antidepressant use in pregnancy, and in a study published in the British Medical Journal in January 2014, researchers found that babies exposed to SSRI drugs in pregnancy had a higher risk of being born with a serious respiratory condition known as persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN).

SSRI Antidepressants and Birth Defects

In addition to PPHN, studies have shown that women who take SSRI antidepressant drugs like Zoloft or Paxil while pregnant may expose their unborn children to severe birth defects like spina bifida, heart defects, neural tube defects, cleft lip and more. In June 2007, studies found a link between the use of antidepressant drugs like Zoloft in pregnancy and a risk of brain defects, abnormal skull development and gastrointestinal malformations in children. Another study published in the British Medical Journal in September 2009, found that SSRI antidepressants increase the risk of heart defects when taken during the first trimester of pregnancy, a time when many women don’t even know they are pregnant.
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