New study links PPHN to SSRI antidepressant use in pregnancy

Canadian scientists recently published an article showing a link between antidepressants and Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN). As early as 2006, the FDA had warned of a potential link between SSRIs and an increased risk of PPHN. In 2011, the FDA indicated that further research was needed and all labels were to be updated. PPHN causes the blood to bypass the lungs in newborns. This essentially gives the baby low oxygen levels. These low levels can lead to brain hemorrhages, seizures, chronic lung disease, organ failure, kidney damage and developmental delays. In severe cases, PPHN can result in death.

Data from the British Medical Journal article were compiled from seven different high quality studies gleaned from voluminous sources: 3077 abstracts and 738 articles. The studies revealed a link between Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants and PPHN, depending on when the drug was taken during the pregnancy. The link was not evident for ingestion of SSRIs during early pregnancy. There was a finding of increased risk later in pregnancy. Although the original studies did not define early/late pregnancy, the current analysts did so: 20 weeks for early, post 20 weeks for late.

The scientists conclude that a pregnant woman should be counseled on the risks of exposing her fetus to SSRI antidepressants.

New study warns fertility patients of SSRI pregnancy risks

A new study published in the January 2013 issue of the Oxford Journals publication Human Reproduction finds that SSRI antidepressant use during pregnancy is associated with increased risks of miscarriage and several life-threatening birth defects with little evidence of any benefit. The study examined use of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants such as Zoloft and […]

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Antidepressants risky, may not be more effective than placebo

New research challenges the common practice of medicating patients diagnosed with clinical depression. A new study funded by the National Institute for Health and published in The British Medical Journal suggests that prescription antidepressants are only slightly more effective than a placebo and that alternative treatments often can be effective. Dr. Robert Lefever, a medical […]

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Danish study links Zoloft, SSRIs in pregnancy to birth defects

A new study investigating the relationship between taking SSRI antidepressants during pregnancy and fetal heart abnormalities has been published by a team of researchers in Denmark. The results of the nationwide study supported findings of two previous Danish studies; that children of mothers who took SSRI antidepressants during the first trimester of pregnancy have a […]

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SSRI antidepressants linked to early birth and seizure risks

A recent study suggests that when women use antidepressants during pregnancy, their children may be more likely to be born early or have seizures shortly after birth. According to the findings, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and reported by Reuters, evidence suggests a link between antidepressants and a variety of pregnancy […]

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New study analyzes antidepressant risks vs. benefits

In a new study published on April 24, 2012, researchers set out to determine whether antidepressant risks outweigh their benefits. The study, titled “Primum non nocere: an evolutionary analysis of whether antidepressants do more harm than good,” was published online in the journal Frontiers in Evolutionary Psychology. Investigators reviewed existing studies of the effects of […]

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SSRI use in pregnancy linked to slow fetal head growth, preterm birth

Use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressants during pregnancy may cause delayed head growth and increase the risk for preterm birth, a new study concludes. Untreated maternal depression was associated with slower rates of fetal body growth. In a population-based study of pregnant women, researchers followed 7,696 participants from fetal life onward. The purpose […]

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SSRI use in pregnancy increases PPHN risk by 200%, says new study

Using an SSRI antidepressant drug during pregnancy increases the risk of Primary Pulmonary Hypertension of the Newborn (PPHN) by more than 200%, according to a new study published on January 12, 2012, in the British Medical Journal. SSRI stands for “Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor.” This class of antidepressant medications includes Zoloft (sertraline), Prozac (fluoxetine), Paxil […]

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