Two recently published studies suggest a link between the use of Prozac and birth defects. One study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry (online, 07/04/11) found a link between the use of Prozac while pregnant and a risk of having a baby diagnosed with autism.
What scientists found was a modest increase in the risk of autism spectrum disorder in infants whose mothers took a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI, a class of antidepressant that includes Prozac) during the 12 months before delivery.
While the risk of having a child diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder doubled when the mother took an SSRI during the year prior to delivery, the risk was further increased when the SSRI was taken during the first trimester of pregnancy. The study led researchers to conclude that "The potential risk associated with exposure must be balanced with the risk to the mother or fetus of untreated mental health disorders." Researchers further noted that more studies must be done to extend the findings.
READ MORE PPHN AND PROZAC LEGAL NEWS
Additionally, children with autism spectrum disorder may have sensory problems, seizures and mental impairment.
Meanwhile, a study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology (07/11) found an increased risk in the development of isolated ventricular septal defects when an expectant mother took fluoxetine. Although researchers noted the risk was small, they recommended that fluoxetine not be the first option when prescribing an SSRI to a woman planning on becoming pregnant.
A septal defect is a hole in the heart's wall, which causes improper circulation of the blood. Patients with a septal defect may require open-heart surgery.