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.
READ MORE PAXIL BIRTH DEFECTS LEGAL NEWS
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."