New study links use of antidepressants while pregnant to increased risk of preterm birth, seizures

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by Eric Pearson

A new study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology has found that women who use antidepressants during pregnancy may be more likely to give birth prematurely or give birth to a child with seizures. Previous studies have also linked the use of antidepressants while pregnant to an increased risk of serious congenital birth defects.

According to the study, women who filled more than one antidepressant prescription during their second trimester of pregnancy gave birth to their child four to five days earlier on average. Researchers found that for every antidepressant prescription that a woman filled during her second trimester, her risk of giving birth prematurely doubled.

The study also found that children whose mothers used a type of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) during the third trimester of pregnancy were more likely to have a seizure. Brands of SSRI antidepressants include Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac, Lexapro and Celexa.

Previous studies about the link between antidepressants and birth defects have prompted the Food and Drug Administration to issue multiple warnings about the risk of taking these drugs while pregnant. According to FDA warnings, women who use SSRI drugs such as Paxil or Zoloft during pregnancy are more likely to give birth to a child with serious congenital heart defects, including persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN), atrial septal defects (ASD), ventricular septal defects (VSD), and other conditions.

Thousands of families whose children were born with birth defects as a result of exposure to antidepressants during pregnancy have filed lawsuits against the manufacturers of these drugs. These lawsuits have alleged that the drug companies knew about the link between antidepressants and birth defects, but failed to properly warn patients about the risk of using these drugs while pregnant.

If you or a loved one used Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac, or other antidepressants during pregnancy and gave birth to a child with heart defects or other birth defects, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit. For a free consultation about your case, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by filling out our free online case evaluation form.