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The Heartbreak of Effexor Birth Defects behind the Headlines

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Washington, DCThere are a number of Effexor side effects that have served to haunt patients prescribed venlafaxine for depression. A Bountiful, Utah man who shot and killed his ex-wife in 2005 and is currently serving a life sentence may have taken Effexor shortly before gunning down Jeneil Bradley. According to the Standard-Examiner of Ogden, Utah (5/1/13), the jury that heard David Edward Drommond Jr.’s case did not hear that the accused succumbed to an episode of manic behavior and how Effexor may have played a role.

But what is more compelling are the risks of Effexor birth defects for mothers prescribed SNRI (serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor) antidepressants. Various studies are suggesting that use of antidepressants such as Effexor during the first trimester especially, can leave an infant with Effexor heart defects.

Various players in an ongoing debate are locked into positions that vary from the need for an expectant mother to get off antidepressants the instant she discovers she is pregnant - or better yet, before the pregnancy even starts - to the risk to a mother’s emotional and physical health if Effexor is stopped. Women’s health advocates warn that a severely depressed woman may be a risk to herself during pregnancy, together with a severely imbalanced emotional state that could have a lasting impact on the baby.

But so too, are defects that may stem from an Effexor pregnancy. And beyond all the headlines that laud studies, and the cautionary tomes that ensue, are the real-world stories appearing in blogs and chat rooms as mothers pour out their hearts without headlines or fancy editing.

Just pure angst and fear over the potential for or the outcome of an Effexor pregnancy.

One woman writes, “I took Effexor xr 150mg while pregnant with my little girl who is now 14 months old. She was born with a whole (sic) in her heart and an irregular heartbeat. She is doing fine now but I have to tell you that it was scary for a little while.”

And then there is “Jennmmb” who wrote, “[Effexor] is not safe. Don’t let them fool you. I took 150mg while pregnant and after. My daughter almost died while I was giving birth. No heart beat for about five minutes. When she was born she was [like] a zombie. She just lay there, not crying. She would not feed. She was severely jittery and a very fussy baby. Under doctor recommendation I breast fed for three weeks, then realized I was drugging my baby. Today at 6 years old she is normal but a very ‘spirited’ child. Lots of mood swings, and a sickly child. Low immune system, dark circles under her eyes. Oh, and she also had night terrors for the first three years of her life…”

Another woman writes to say that she had been taking various dosages of Effexor for 10 years. During those 10 years, she became pregnant three times, and with all three pregnancies she miscarried within the first five weeks.

And now this from a young father: “My wife weaned down to 37 mgs (sic) Effexor and we are currently in the hospital with a baby in respiratory distress, possibly being blamed on Effexor….”

Finally, one expectant mother writes that her obstetrician said it was okay to remain on Effexor while pregnant. “Now three different doctors have told me they are in disbelief my OB left me on it.” She has heard that her baby could be at risk for Effexor heart defects, seizures and lung problems. “It is not good. I am 32 weeks and have been taking [Effexor] 300mg daily without knowing the damage I could be doing to my son. My new doctor is trying to wean me off the Effexor as quickly and as safely as she can…”

The decision to stop or to maintain Effexor during pregnancy can take but a few minutes, whereas the consequences of Effexor birth defects can last a lifetime.


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Posted by

I was on effexor xr the first 3 months of pregnancy and my doctor weaned me off. My son had an umbilical hernia that had to be repaired as well as needing a meateoplasty on his penis because the urethral opening wasn't full formed. He had colic very badly and digestion problems. He was on very expensive formula that was predigested. He got juvenile arthritis at age 6 and was always sickly. He is 9 now and seems to be leveling. He is allergic to everything, though; trees, grass, animals, etc.

Posted by

I have been on Effexor for over 9 years now. I gave birth to a healthy little boy while taking the medication throughout my entire pregnancy. He is healthy. He is growing. No heart problems. Nothing. If it was not for Effexor, I would be a basket case with my anxiety!

Posted by

Has there been any links to birth defects due to taking effexor, and stop taking it right before they became pregnant?


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