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Antidepressants Like Celexa Linked to Birth Defects

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Washington, DCAntidepressants taken by pregnant women can be harmful to their babies, as certain drugs have been linked to a lung disorder, increasing the need to monitor Celexa side effects, according to WebMD.

The news source reported that a new study found that pregnant women who used certain drugs may have a twofold increased risk for delivering babies with a rare but serious lung disorder.

Researchers analyzed national registry data from 1.6 million births in five Nordic countries to try and determine the effect that taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants has on women during pregnancy. The specific condition that was targeted, neonatal pulmonary hypertension, a life-threatening condition in newborns, normally occurs in one to two births in 1,000, according to the news source.

WebMD reported that SSRIs such as Celexa, Lexapro, Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft are the most widely prescribed class of antidepressants, and millions of women in the US have taken these drugs during their pregnancy.

Persistent pulmonary hypertension in newborns (PPHN) is a respiratory disorder in which the arteries that lead to the lungs remain constricted after birth. This limits blood flow and oxygen, and between 5 and 10 percent of babies with the disorder do not survive, according to the news source.

The news provider reported that a 2006 study first linked SSRI use during pregnancy to the disorder, as the findings illustrated a sixfold increase in the incidence of neonatal pulmonary hypertension in babies exposed to the drugs in the last months before birth.

The new study featured women and their children from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, totaling 30,000 individuals who took SSRIs during pregnancy.

"This is by far the largest study to examine SSRI use and PPHN, but the fact that women with untreated depression had a higher risk for the disorder raises new doubts about this link," Gideon Koren, a doctor for Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children, told the news source.

According to the National Library of Medicine, women who become pregnant and who are taking Celexa or similar SSRIs may want to consult their doctors, as it may lead to problems for newborns if taken by individuals during the last months of pregnancy.

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