One study, published by the Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry (published online, 6/12/13), suggested that some drugs in the SSRI class are linked to an increased risk of birth defects. Researchers sought to determine whether there was a risk associated with individual SSRIs and “major, minor, and cardiac malformation among infants born to women taking these medications.”
To carry out the research, they reviewed a variety of studies on SSRIs and cardiac malformations. Researchers found that fluoxetine (Prozac) and paroxetine (Paxil) “were associated with increased risk of major malformations,” with paroxetine associated with an increased risk of cardiac malformations. Sertraline (Zoloft) and citalopram (Celexa) were not found to be significantly associated with congenital malformation. Researchers recommended that women in their first trimester and those who could be at risk of an unplanned pregnancy should avoid using fluoxetine and paroxetine.
READ MORE ZOLOFT BIRTH DEFECTS LEGAL NEWS
Previous studies have suggested a link between SSRI medications and other birth defects, including persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn, cleft palate and cardiac septal defects.
Lawsuits have been filed against the makers of various SSRI antidepressants, alleging children were born with birth defects after being exposed to the drugs. One such lawsuit was reportedly filed against Pfizer, maker of Zoloft. The Madison-St. Clair Record (7/8/13) reports that the plaintiff alleged she was prescribed Zoloft during pregnancy and her daughter was born with defects, including heart problems. The lawsuit alleges Pfizer knew about the risks of Zoloft, but hid those risks from the public.