More evidence has come about that confirms the previous theory that Class D antidepressant medications taken during the first trimester of pregnancy increases the risk of the baby being born with birth defects.
This newest Finnish study, which was conducted by the Teratology Information Service at the Helsinki University Central Hospital, basically just confirmed what other studies have already determined: that there is an increased risk of birth defects in developing fetuses that were exposed to SSRIs in the first trimester of gestation. This is alarming, since SSRIs are the second most commonly prescribed medications in the U.S. and are also the most popular form of antidepressant on the market. This increased popularity made studies on the safety of SSRIs like Paxil taken during pregnancy necessary, and Paxil has remained one of the primary focuses of these studies.
Earlier studies have caused Paxil to be downgraded to a Category D class pregnancy drug after revealing the dangerous side effects to fetuses. This newest Finnish study also showed that along with Paxil, other antidepressants like Celexa, Zoloft, Lexapro and Prozac were just as dangerous to fetuses. The study was conducted with researchers analyzing data from some of their nationwide birth registries over the past 11 years. This amounted to 635,583 babies. The data showed that 6,976 of those babies had been exposed to SSRIs during the first trimester, and all of those babies had a higher likelihood being born with various birth defects compared to the babies that weren’t exposed to SSRIs.
Some of the defects that were linked to the SSRIs like Paxil include neural tube defects, cleft palate and PPHN. That is not all the study showed. It was also discovered that the babies were 10 times as likely to be born with fetal alcohol syndrome when exposed to SSRIs like Paxil during gestation as well.