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Antidepressant (SSRI) Birth Defect Information

prozacSelective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI’s) are a class of drugs used to treat depression, anxiety disorders, and personality disorders. SSRI’s include the drugs Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, and Lexapro.

Heart Defects

Recent medical studies have shown that using SSRI’s during the first trimester of pregnancy is linked to birth defects, including:

  • Pulmonary valve stenosis  and pulmonary atresia (malformation of the pulmonary artery valve)
  • Tricuspid atresia (malformation of the tricuspid valve)
  • Aortic stenosis (malformation of the aortic valve)
  • Hypoplastic left heart (improper/small formation of left side of heart)
  • Conotruncal defects, including transposition of greater arteries (TGA), double outlet left ventricle, Tetralogy of Fallot, and ventricle septal defect (VSD)
  • Limb deformities including club foot and malformation of the hands.

In 1996, a New England Journal of Medicine study showed that women taking Prozac during pregnancy are 2 times more likely to deliver a baby with three or more “minor abnormalities”. A 2005 Danish study showed that women taking SSRI’s during the first trimester have a 60% increased risk of delivering babies with congenital heart defects. The FDA issued a warning in December 2005 that infants born to women with SSRI exposure in the first trimester may be at an increased risk for heart defects.


Other medical studies have shown that use of SSRI’s during the second half of pregnancy can cause Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN).

In July, 2006, the FDA required that SSRI labels contain a  warning stating  that babies born to women exposed to SSRI’s late in the third trimester have reported developing Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN).

If you or someone you love has been injured as a result of the use of SSRI’s, contact the experienced pharmaceutical attorneys at Schlichter, Bogard & Denton for a free consultation.

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