SNRI Side Effects
Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors, also known as SNRI medications, are used to treat depression and other major mood disorders. Some studies suggest that SNRI side effects could include an increased risk of SNRI birth defects. Although most research on similar antidepressants is done on SSRI medications, because SNRI and SSRI antidepressants are similar, there is a possibility that they have similar side effects.
SNRI Birth Defects
Some studies suggest a link between medications similar to SNRIs and birth defects, including persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). One study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine linked use of SSRI medications, which are similar to SNRI medications, to an increased risk of PPHN (see below for discussion of SNRIs and SSRIs). The study found that women who took an SSRI during their third trimester were six times more likely to have a baby with PPHN than women who did not take an SSRI during the third trimester.
PPHN is a potentially serious condition in which the infant does not adjust to breathing outside the womb. It can be fatal. In cases where the infant lives, surgery and additional medical intervention may be required.
Meanwhile, a 2010 study published in Pediatrics (03/10), suggested a link between the use of certain antidepressants during the second or third trimester of pregnancy and infant development delays. According to researchers, infants exposed to SSRIs or Effexor just prior to birth exhibited delays in sitting up, walking and occupying themselves compared with infants not exposed to antidepressants.
Drugs included in the SNRI class:
- Effexor (Venlafaxine; made by Wyeth)
- Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine; made by Wyeth)
- Cymbalta (Duloxetine; made by Eli Lilly and Company)
SNRIs and Birth Defects
- Neural-tube defects
- Craniosynostosis (abnormally shaped skull)
- Infant omphalocele
- Anal atresia
- Oral Cleft
- Club foot
SNRI Antidepressants and SSRI Antidepressants
SSRI medications are more widely used than SNRI medications, therefore the majority of research has been conducted on SSRIs. Because both affect serotonin levels, however, there is a possibility that SNRIs and SSRIs have similar side effects and similar risks.
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