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Should Coffee Replace Prozac As Antidepressant for Pregnant Women?

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Boston, MAGiven that there is some concern about the risk of Prozac side effects, which could allegedly include Prozac birth defects, pregnant women may want to have alternatives to antidepressant medication during their pregnancy. Although the exact link between Prozac and birth defects is not clear, some studies suggest a link between the use of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) and the development of certain birth defects, including autism, septal defect and pulmonary stenosis.

A recent study, however, may provide women with an alternative to Prozac and other SSRI medications. The study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found that increased consumption of caffeinated coffee was linked to a decreased risk of depression in women. According to researchers, study participants who consumed four or more cups of caffeinated coffee daily had a 20 percent decrease in the risk of depression.

The study included more than 50,000 women with an average age of 63 and no history of depression, however, so whether or not those results would translate to pregnant women is not known. Furthermore, caffeine could also have an effect on the fetus, meaning that either with an SSRI or with caffeine, there is a potential of health problems experienced by the baby.

Researchers further noted that the study only showed an association between coffee drinking and depression risk but did not prove that drinking coffee reduces the risk of depression in women.

Meanwhile, a young man charged with the murder of his friend will be sentenced in Canada as a youth and not an adult. The ruling came after the judge found that the man faced "unique circumstances" when he committed the murder at age 16. According to the ruling, as noted by the London Free Press (09/17/11), the teen's parents were concerned about his moods after he began using Prozac. They reported that his mood became darker and more agitated after a doctor increased his dose of Prozac, rather than taking him off it.

The judge noted that since the homicide, the young man was taken off Prozac and has shown none of the characteristics of a violent offender, leading the judge to note that the prospects for rehabilitation are "very good."

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