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Antidepressants In Early Pregnancy May Cause Heart Defect

Posted by Jane Akre
Friday, September 25, 2009 3:29 PM EST
Category: Protecting Your Family
Tags: Antidepressants, Prozac, SSRI, Zoloft, Celexa, Pregnancy

Prozac and other SSRI antidepressants may harm the fetus heart when taken very early in a pregnancy and even before conception, a new study says.



IMAGE SOURCE: Wikimedia Commons/ Prozac pills/ author: Tom Varco


Taking antidepressants such as Prozac, early in a pregnancy may harm the health of the fetus, according to a new study.

Many woman take antidepressants during pregnancy with no effect, but Prozac (fluoxetine), among others, may double the risk of a heart defect if taken early in the pregnancy, finds this study out of Aarhus University, Denmark, which looked at nearly half a million children born there between 1996 and 2003.

Prozac increased the risk, as did Zoloft and Celexa.  So did using more than one antidepressant at a time reports Reuters.

This study will be published in the online British Medical Journal, September 25.

For the purposes of this study, early pregnancy was defined as 28 days before conception to 112 days after conception. The heart defect was very specific. It is in a piece of tissue that separates areas of the heart.

Zoloft more than tripled the risk, while Celexa more than doubled the risk.

Translating that into births - for every 250 women who do not take antidepressants during pregnancy, expect one infant to be born with the defect. That number increases to two infants for every SSRI taken, and four infants for mothers taking more than one.

SSRIs or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors taken during pregnancy have been tied to birth defects and heart defects in earlier studies.

An accompanying editorial says that about 13 percent of women in the U.S. take an antidepressant during pregnancy. Major depressive disorder is most common in women during their childbearing years. #

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