An [FDA Alert] (December 8, 2005) states that Paxil should not be taken by pregnant women or women planning to become pregnant. Unfortunately, this warning has come too late for many women and their families. Paxil has not only caused the death of infants, it has also destroyed the lives of countless women who were prescribed this medication during or prior to pregnancy.
For Keri Kitchen, Paxil has created deep emotional scars, in more ways than one. At age 36, "I was both thrilled and shocked to discover that I was pregnant," she says. Kitchen had been prescribed a low dose of Paxil for anxiety and had been taking it for three years prior to discovering that she was pregnant. The first thing she asked her doctor was whether or not she should stop taking it. Unfortunately, two doctors (in the same office) told Kitchen that is wasn't necessary to discontinue the drug.
When she was about four months pregnant, Keri had a second ultrasound to find out if she should undergo an amniocentesis (the first ultrasound checked the baby's heartbeat). "The doctor was very quiet when she performed the ultrasound and when it was over, she told me that the baby had a lot of serious problems," says Kitchen. Her doctor said the baby probably wouldn't make it to term, so she and her husband decided to terminate the pregnancy.
"My Mom was hysterical—this was going to be her first grandchild—and I was in a state of shock. I had done everything right and no family history of any illness on either side," Kitchen says."From never being pregnant and then having to go through with an abortion was the worst."
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Keri Kitchen will not try to get pregnant again. She did go to therapy to deal with the depression of losing her baby. Although it helped, it didn't get her off Paxil.
It takes a lot of courage to go public and talk about something so traumatic as this. "I am angry and that is why I am speaking out," says Kitchen. "Why did this happen to me, why didn't anyone tell me? I wouldn't have cared about the side affects to me; I would have stopped taking it for the baby."
Her baby was missing almost its whole brain. "My husband knows more details but I blocked it out; it was too upsetting. I already had baby gifts that I gave back to people." The terrible consequences of Paxil are indeed far reaching.