A Six Fold Increase In The Rate Of PPHN Of The Newborn. Infants born to mothers using SSRI’s (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) antidepressants during the second half of pregnancy are at a greater risk of developing persistent pulmonary hypertension, a harmful and sometimes fatal breathing ailment. The Cohen study was published around the same time that an additional report appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine cautioning of a disturbing increase in a dangerous breathing problem among babies born to mothers using antidepressants.The study of approximately 1,213 women, led by Christina Chambers, a pediatric researcher at the University of California San Diego, discovered a six fold increase in the rate of persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN), between babies born to mothers who used SSRI’s late in their pregnancy. An estimated 10% to 20% of babies born with the condition do not survive. The condition, generally occurs in about one or two infants per 1,000 births. Infants exposed to antidepressants late in pregnancy, the occurrence rate increased from 6 to 12 births per 1,000, according to the study.
A high-ranking official at the FDA said the agency finds the results very concerning and is conducting its own safety review. Sandra Kweder, the FDA’s deputy director of the office of new drugs, stated that pregnant women currently taking antidepressants should’t stop taking them on their own and need to talk to their doctors. She said many women might be better off continuing to take the drugs, some of which are also used to treat other conditions like anxiety, because the risk of lapsing back into depression could outweigh the small risk of health problems seen in babies. In December 2005, the FDA suggested that doctors not prescribe Paxil to women who were planning to become pregnant or during the first three months of pregnancy after a study showed the drug might increase the risk of birth defects.
The San Diego study established that women, who quit taking the antidepressants at some stage in the first half of pregnancy, or before the 20th week, did not have an increased risk of delivering a baby with the respiratory condition. Older antidepressants that are not considered SSRIs do not cause any pulmonary hypertension risks.
Legal Help For Victims Affected By PPHN
If you or a loved one took SSRIs antidepressants during pregnancy and gave birth to a newborn who developed persistent pulmonary hypertension or any other serious birth defects, contact Parker & Waichman, LLP by filling out the form at the right for a free case evaluation. Or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).