"I started taking Effexor for depression in the summer of 2003 and continued throughout my pregnancy -- on my doctor's advice," says Layton. "And I also took it after my pregnancy while breastfeeding -- again on his advice. There wasn't a hint of a problem when my daughter was born, but when she was about 18 months old, Jada started having developmental problems. For example, her speech and motor skills were seriously delayed -- I had a child before her so I knew what to expect. She stopped eating with utensils, and refused to eat solid foods. We brought our concerns to her pediatrician but they were blown off. But Jada got worse and almost one year later we took her to the local Yates County ARC -- a center for people with developmental disabilities.
She was diagnosed with autism in September, 2006.
Before I found out about Jada's autism, I switched over to Cymbalta because I had been on Effexor for such a long time. But that could be just as dangerous because it is in the same SSRI family.
Through my research, I have found a few medications that have been shown to be safe during pregnancy. They are not SSRIs and ironically, they have been around for a long time. Some of these new SSRI drugs haven't had long clinical trials and they have never been tested on pregnant women -- that would be unethical. But they give the drugs to pregnant women!
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Now I am pregnant with my third child. This time when I found out I was pregnant I got on the computer and checked my prescription drugs. Effexor was listed in an article about SSRIs and birth defects -- this came as a shock to me. Then I found the LawyersandSettlements website. In the past few months we have read reports in the newspapers and on TV stating an alarming increase in autism, mainly with very young children.
I am going discuss with my OB/GYN the possibility of taking another med that is not classified as an SSRI.