The study was published in BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal; 6/18/12) and involved analysis of women and their offspring included in the Danish Medical Birth Registry from 1997 through 2009, focusing on heart malformations. Researchers found more than 848,000 pregnancies, of which 4,183 involved exposure to an SSRI during the first trimester and 806 paused SSRI use during the pregnancy. Authors found that the risk of heart malformations were similar between those who used an SSRI throughout the first trimester and those who halted SSRI use.
The study's authors concluded that any link between SSRI use and heart malformation could be confounded by other factors, such as the mother's depression. There was, however, a slightly increased risk when the group that was exposed to any SSRI during pregnancy versus those who were not exposed at all. In the group exposed to an SSRI during the first trimester, 50 births per 1,000 resulted in a congenital malformation, compared with 35 births per 1,000 in the unexposed group.
READ MORE LEXAPRO BIRTH DEFECT LEGAL NEWS
Researchers note that even though some of the risks are considered statistically significant, they result in a risk of approximately five cases for every 1,000 births.
Meanwhile, a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology (5/2/12) suggests that infants exposed to antidepressants prior to birth are more likely to be born prematurely while newborns that were exposed to an SSRI during the third trimester were at an increased risk of having a seizure.