Effexor is in a class of drugs called serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), which work by increasing the amount of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. In contrast, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) only affect levels of serotonin.
Some of the side effects of SSRIs and SSNIs are similar, including a reported increased risk of persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN), a potentially fatal condition in which the infant does not have properly oxygenated blood.
READ MORE EFFEXOR BIRTH DEFECTS LEGAL NEWS
Also in July 2010, Bloomberg reported that GlaxoSmithKline agreed to pay more than $1 billion to settle more than 800 cases alleging Paxil caused birth defects. GlaxoSmithKline did not comment on the Bloomberg report.
Effexor is manufactured by Wyeth, now part of Pfizer.
Women who are taking antidepressants and are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant should not discontinue medication without first speaking to their doctor. Although there are reportedly side effects linked to use of Effexor while pregnant, studies also suggest there are risks linked to having untreated depression while pregnant.