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Another SSRI Linked to Birth Defects

For years, certain anti-depressant drugs have been in the news due to their link to birth defects in the infants born to women who took the drugs during their pregnancy.
According to an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine, research shows that "infants born to mothers who took Zoloft (generic sertraline) or other SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) after the 20th week of pregnancy were six times more likely to have persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPHN) than infants born to mothers who did not take antidepressants during pregnancy.
" Infants born with PPHN have difficulty making the transition from breathing inside the womb to normal breathing after delivery.
This difficulty often leads to respiratory failure that requires use of a ventilator.
Research has found that SSRI's accumulate in the adult's lungs and serotonin can cause the proliferation of certain muscle cells.
This may explain the drug's effect on the fetus.
Between 10-20% of babies born with this condition do not survive.
The drug company that manufactures Zoloft, Pfizer Incorporated, promotes the drug for disorders besides depression, so many women may be taking the drug who have never even been diagnosed with depression.
Zoloft is also prescribed to treat social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
The fact that women can become dependent on Zoloft and other SSRI's presents yet another problem.
Medicines associated with withdrawal symptoms can be very problematic for patients, and stopping these drugs is something that needs to be closely monitored by a physician.
However, continuing to take Zoloft presents the additional problem of the infant going through withdrawal after he is born.
Research shows that nearly one-third of all infants born to women taking SSRIs show symptoms of withdrawal including tremors, high-pitched crying, sleep disturbances, and gastrointestinal problems.
A startling 13% of 60 newborns exposed to SSRIs showed severe symptoms of withdrawal.
If you are a pregnant woman taking Zoloft or any other SSRI, you should contact your physician immediately.
If you are a woman who took Zoloft while you were pregnant and your child suffers from PPHN, you may have a legitimate legal claim against the manufacturer of Zoloft.
Many people assume that because a drug is prescribed by a physician, it is safe; unfortunately, that is not always the case.
And, even though the FDA screens drugs before they are released to the general public, dangerous side effects sometimes don't become apparent for years after the drugs have been approved.


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