"The diagnosis was confirmed by a temporary improvement after administration of a low dose (1 mg) of venlafaxine [Effexor] to the boy," says the study (as translated into English). "Exposure to venlafaxine and other antidepressants which inhibit serotonin reuptake during the third trimester of pregnancy carries the risk of a neonatal withdrawal syndrome." Researchers noted that the withdrawal symptoms stopped around day eight.
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Researchers concluded, "Premature infants could be more susceptible to the effects of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and venlafaxine [a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor]."
Effexor is an SNRI (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor). It is similar but not identical to a class of drugs known as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), which have been linked in some studies to birth defects, including congenital heart defects and persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN).
Women who are pregnant and taking Effexor should consult with their doctors to weigh the risks of taking Effexor verus the risks of discontinuing medication.