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Will New Antidepressant Have Same SSRI Side Effects?

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Los Angeles, CAFor women who are dealing with depression while pregnant, SSRI side effects are probably a constant concern. Specifically, women may be concerned about SSRI side effects such as PPHN (Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn). Now, a new antidepressant has been approved for use, but whether or not it has the same risk of SSRI side effects as older SSRIs is not known.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new antidepressant, called Viibryd (known generically as vilazodone). According to the Los Angeles Times (01/24/11), the drug is the first combination of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor and 5HT1A receptor partial agonist. The drug works by not only increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain—the SSRI portion of the drug—it also affects alleles in the 5 HT transporter gene.

The drug is reported to have fewer side effects from other SSRIs because there were no differences in sexual side effects when people who took Viibryd were compared with those who took a placebo. Sexual side effects are reportedly a common issue with current SSRIs.

Whether or not Viibryd, made by Clinical Data, carries the same risk of SSRI birth defects as older SSRIs are reported to have remains to be seen. Paxil, another SSRI, has an FDA pregnancy rating of "Category D," meaning that studies on humans have shown evidence of risk to the fetus, but the benefits of the drug may still outweigh the risks.

Other SSRIs are considered "Category C," meaning that there could be a risk to the fetus but there may not be adequate studies completed and the benefits may still outweigh the risks.

Among reported selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor side effects are an increased risk of miscarriage and an increased risk of persistent primary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). According to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in June 2010, women who took an antidepressant during pregnancy had a 68 percent increased risk of having a miscarriage compared with women who did not take an antidepressant. Researchers found that one in three women who used an antidepressant during pregnancy were at risk of having a miscarriage.

Previously, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that women who took an SSRI during their third trimester of pregnancy were six times more likely to have a baby born with PPHN than women who did not take an antidepressant during pregnancy.


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Posted by

I took this drug for three months.

Never again.

I had heart palpitations, panic attacks, light headedness and my periods stopped.

Now I'm treating my anxiety with natural methods and I've never felt better.

No more SSRIs for me. Ever.


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