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Paxil Birth Defects Anything But Natural

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Washington, DCThe problem with any medication is—unless it's completely holistic—it's not natural. While most people wouldn't bat an eye at taking an aspirin for a headache, it remains an invasion of the natural order with which we came into the world by ingesting something, however slight, that's outside the bounds of the five food groups. Alcohol comes into play here, as do medications of various personalities—things we take to cure a minor toothache, or drugs that keep us alive or allow us to function in society. But while we may not have come out of the womb that way, our babies are now beginning to—such is the prevalence of antidepressants and challenges like Paxil side effects.

Paxil (paroxetine) is a new-age antidepressant in the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) class. Like any drug, there are side effects that can be expected. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) bases the approval process for drugs not necessarily on safety, but on the idea that a drug is thought not to be unsafe. That, combined with a benefit profile which outweigh the risks, lay at the basic foundation of the pharmaceutical approval culture.

This all goes out the window with a Paxil pregnancy, due to the sheer number of people who are prescribed antidepressants simply to get through the day. And while the benefits outweigh the risks for any individual suffering from extreme depression, the same can’t be said for a woman who is with child or about to become pregnant. Because now, it's not just your life that is at play. Now, your unborn child comes into play.

Studies linking Paxil and birth defects are not new. Back in 2005 WebMD (12/8/05) articulated on two studies, the early results of which appeared to show a risk involving Paxil and pregnancy. Subsequent studies have shown mixed results—but it didn't stop the FDA from moving Paxil from a category C to D, out of concern for that potential.

Specifically, the potential for Paxil heart defects. But there are other concerns beyond potential heart issues or Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN), which can restrict oxygen to the bloodstream and prove fatal in serious cases. There's a concern over Paxil and Autism, as one recent study suggested. Paxil and Neural Tube Defects, is another.

But even seeing a newborn struggling with post-delivery withdrawal-like symptoms, as articulated in the Press of Atlantic City (4/30/12), is enough to make even the most hardened advocate of pharmaceutical use have second thoughts. While most symptoms disappear within a few days, the fact remains that newborns have been seen to emerge from the womb with tremors, jitteriness, respiratory problems and issues with feeding.

Parents remain vigilant about their teens avoiding the temptation to experiment with drugs. And yet, many newborns today are feeling the effects of pharmaceutical drugs, which cross the mother's placenta long before birth. Hence, withdrawal-like symptoms allegedly from Paxil side effects.

Many a Paxil birth defects lawsuit alleges harm to the fetus caused by Paxil.

There is no question that antidepressants have evolved to become an important resource for patients who need them. There remains, however concern by some health advocates that antidepressants are being over-prescribed—even to children and young adults. This only exacerbates the potential for conflict when a woman of any age, even teens, become pregnant while on Paxil or any other SSRI. There is a risk to stop the medication, but also a risk to keep going.

As San Jose-based therapist Pec Indman opined in comments published in the Press, "There's no path that's really risk-free. Illness has risk, and treatment has risk."

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