Expectant mothers who took anti-depressants during late pregnancy were more likely to give birth to infants with a rare but potentially life-threatening breathing problem called persistent pulmonary hypertension (PPH).
An official at the FDA called the research results “very worrisome.” The agency will decide whether to require manufacturers to make labeling changes and conduct postmarketing studies to clarify the risk.
From 10% to 15% of pregnant women experience bouts of depression, and at least 10% of those take antidepressants.
Up to one-third of fetuses exposed to antidepressants experience temporary withdrawal symptoms such as agitation. The FDA has warned that paroxetine (Paxil canadian, GlaxoSmithKline), for instance, may increase the risk of rare heart problems in newborns exposed to the medication in utero.
The antidepressants included generic citalopram (Celexa medication, Forest); sertraline generic (Zoloft medication, Pfizer); paroxetine tablet; and canadian fluoxetine (Drug Prozac, Eli Lilly). The researchers suggested that the drugs may hinder the body’s production of agents that help blood vessels dilate. If the vessels in a newborn’s lungs do not open properly, the infant cannot absorb sufficient oxygen and may may reflexively hold its breath, further starving itself of air. Giving an infant oxygen or nitric oxide, which helps open vessels, often relieves the problem. In 10% to 20% of cases, these infants need an artificial lung.
Pregnant women who are taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) should consult their health care providers to decide how to proceed.